Nationwide Public Records Questions and Answers (FAQ)

Nationwide Public Records Questions and Answers (FAQ)
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  • Is a full nationwide background check, always better than looking for each record one by one for free?
    Not necessarily, you can look up the licensing of a contractor, see a problem and decide not to hire that individual or company. At this point, you no longer need to look further or pay a full background check. The licensing check should be free to look up. Also, many recommend to search court cases, criminal and civil to really see what they need. If the courthouse in which you are searching has decent resources, you can do most of it yourself. You can look up criminal and civil cases on your own and request copies, at relatively much lower cost. Plus, you can do the "search" and see for yourself what is available and which to get copies of. Obtaining copies of criminal cases are a lot better than criminal records. Criminal records are generally not as specific as having the entire case to look into. Additionally, you may not need to pay for copies if you are just looking for information only and can take notes, not to mention photos of the document using your phone or camera. Then you can email them and have copies saved for later. Another issue to look at is how many different places you will have to look. If you source of your criminal investigation covers statewide searches, you may have to look into other states. This is the reason why you should start with a people search, sometimes called people finders which will tell how many states and residence time periods. (Staff)
  • Where can I find nationwide, how much it costs, to check a person's background and records?
    It depends on the type of background or records you are looking for. There are different purposes for background checks, it can mean criminal records, addresses, past employment, schooling, professional licensing, court cases and more. If you're an employer versus looking up records for your own information, your needs will be different. Some only need to know an address, others may want to look at credit history. There are services available, with some restrictions, which will sell the information to customers. However, if you have an idea of what you are looking for, say a criminal history or rap sheet, you can choose to get that on your own, and only that type of report. You can choose the background information similar to an a la carte menu when doing it on your own also. In regard to a contractor being considered for a sizeable project, you may want to check the company's or individual's lawsuit history. A driver would need a driver's history report and so on. Once you know which information you're going after, the rest is just looking it up. Sure, some prefer to use a background check company which can save time and maybe even money if you're not good at doing it yourself. The department or agency you are requesting the record from can have easy ways for the public to access or a difficult one. That includes the state also as some are more transparent with better resources for the public's access than others. The state of Wisconsin will give you just about any and all of their court cases for free online, which means you can look up court cases anytime for freely at home. Oklahoma courts webpages do something similar. Court cases get requested often everyday, so, there may be better luck in obtaining them through the internet. (Staff)
  • Where can I find nationwide, free access to public or criminal records?
    Public or criminal records are initially obtained from government agencies or departments. Whether federal level state, county or city. Basically, they come from the government. How readily available the records are to the public is left up to the agency so long as it conforms to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and/or the state's own transparency laws. Some agencies do not have the funds or other means necessary to make the records available online free and convenient to requestors. Some agencies may not prioritize making records available to ease retrieval. Therefore, some records are easier to obtain than others. Some are completely free online instantly, such as verification of professional licenses, business data from the secretary of state etc. The fees imposed on the requestor is based on the agency's budget, cost of maintenance, staff and so forth. The public record websites are not the same as background check websites although they cover many of the same records. Public record websites and background checks companies are different ways of searching for records with their own positives and negatives. Background check companies gather information they believe best completes their obligation to provide the customer with records under their coverage. These private entities pay for some records, some are gathered from an agency where there's an agreement therewith and any other means feasible. Public record websites list the sites where you can request the record yourself. This includes listing as many sites with free instant online searches as they can. With background check companies you get a package of searches with one fee and order. Public record sites allow the user to gather their own data, specific to their needs and costs. When you do your own search, depending on the state, you can obtain information from accessing the agency's databases directly. However, when you're looking to add a criminal history searches, you may end up having to pay the agency to provide you the records. For example, an employer is more likely to select a background check company as they look for a uniformed standard check for all their prospective employees and to save time from having to conduct their own search. Background check companies can also conform a type of search that would best suit a regular client. Private individuals looking for someone, just to verify a contractor's license, just a deed that may be online and more can benefit from public record sites. Since the websites that provide the public information are government agencies, ranking high on general search engine results and be easily visible to users is not a priority. Many valuable databases that provide information sought by the public need to be looked for beyond a search engine's general query. This is where the public record site can be helpful. You can peruse a list of what you can get online for free or the next best available resource found. So the answer to 'are there any true free online records' is yes and no, depends what you're looking for and where it is. (Staff)
  • Where can I find nationwide, what is a firearm background check?
    1968 President Lydon Johnson enacted the gun control act due to the assassinations of Robert F Kenedy, Martin Luther King and Malcom X. In 1993, President Clinton signed the Brady act into law after President Reagan's near fatal assassination attempt. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was implemented by the FBI on November, 30th 1998. The NICS is a national center that performs background checks for Federal Firearms Licensees or also referred to as FFLs. All FFLs must conduct a NICS search. This process begins with an applicant purchasing a firearm to complete and submit the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearm (ATF) form 4473. This form can be submitted by calling 1-877-FBI-NICS or by logging into the NICS E-Check website. The applicant's identifying information will be processed and compared to millions of records stored in 3 nationally held databases. The Interstate Identification Index which holds criminal history records, National Crime Information Center NCIC hold warrants and protection orders, the NCIS records of individuals prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms. (Staff)
  • Where can I find nationwide, a clarification and examples of "Metropolitan Statistical Areas"?
    Metropolitan Statistical Areas are regions that have large dense populations having an impact, generally economical, to the state or region but are not cities or counties. New York city, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas are the amongst the highest in population and a typical example of metropolitan areas. MSAs are used by the government to reveal public data that includes unemployment figures, housing, income and more. There are three hundred and sixty six MSAs as defined by the United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The areas have a urban core area with a minimum population of fifty thousand persons or more. There are other factors in designating an MSA such as the adjacent counties, various social and economic impact. Of the 366 Metropolitan Statistical Areas of the United States, the smallest is Carson City Nevada with a population of just over fifty five thousand residents. At the bottom or worse unemployment rates amongst these areas are El Centro in Imperial county, CA with 26.8%, Yuma in Yuma County, AZ 26%, Yuba in Sutter County AZ 18.8%, Merced, Merced county with CA 18.8% and Modesto in Stanislaus County, CA with 16.4% unemployment. Data is not always obtained by looking at the population or demographics of the area, they can reflect employment rates of an industry, occupation, education, training as well as other categories. Occupational data shows the fastest growing industries and occupations. The 2010 employment projections show Personal Care Aides at the top of list with a 70 percent growth in the next ten years. Averages are other statistics provided that would reveal information such as the average employment and wage for an occupation. For example, the mean hourly wage (total of all wages divided by the employees of a particular occupation) across the U.S. for all occupations is $24.96 (Staff)
  • Where can we find nationwide, how the states are doing comparatively in their unemployment ranks and numbers?
    Latest numbers from the bureau of labor statistics reported in its latest finding released on July 20th shows 27 states with rising unemployment, 12 states that had no change and 11 states along with the District of Columbia doing better for June 2012. Comparing to last year, 47 states and the District of Columbia are experiencing better employment numbers with 3 states experiencing a rise in their unemployment rate. The largest one month rise in employment was in California adding thirty eight thousand jobs with Ohio adding 18,400 jobs and North Carolina with 16,900 jobs. For the same period, the worst was Wisconsin losing 13,200 jobs, thereafter Tennessee losing 12,100 jobs and Maryland losing 11,000 jobs. But When looking at the percentage of rising employment, the picture is quite different. Alaska added one percent to its workforce making the number one state in rising employment. South Dakota and North Dakota are number two and three for the month of June in the best percentage employment gain. The largest decrease in percentage still has Wisconsin at the top 3 after new Mexico and Vermont. Even percentage statistics can be misleading as the West has still the worst unemployment with a 9.4 percent unemployment in June. The ranking or order of best and worse keeps changing as some of the terms are different. Although the west has the worse unemployment, Nevada's unemployment is at 11.6 in June, with Rhode Island second at 10.9 and California third with 10.7 (Staff)
  • Where can I find nationwide, access to the safest places to live in the United States?
    What is the safest city in the U.S.? Depends on which list you are viewing. Forbes released an article stating Plano, Texas as one of the safest cities, Henderson, NV second and Honolulu, HI third. The articles notes the data that were looked at and factors that were in common amongst the safest cities. This information is of violent crimes which include murders and manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. The Business Insider lists Irvine, CA as one of the safest cities with zero murders per one hundred thousand, thirty robberies and 55 violent crimes. Crime rates according to the FBI have been dropping in the United States. Violent crime dropped 4% in 2011 and 5.5% in 2010. Nationally, murder dropped almost two percent. A look at the most dangerous cities shows the opposite. Violent crimes have increased by more than half of the cities that were the worst ranked in the U.S. The state of Michigan has the top 2 spots of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. according to the Wall Street Journal. Number one on the list is Flint Michigan with 23.4 violent crimes per one thousand and fifty two murders in 2011, Detroit is second with similar numbers. The worse cities have several things in common such as a low tax base, high unemployment, low median income and police cut backs. Flint, MI laid off over 10 percent of its police departments by letting go 20 of their 140 officers. Safest and the most dangerous data can be based on different factors and have different outcomes. For example, city streets that are generally congested with traffic are safer than rural areas where traffic deaths are higher due to higher driving speeds. Worse cities for women are different in which Forbes has Saginaw MI, Anchorage AK and Fairbanks AK. There are different statistics for different purposes. The FBI releases national crime data encompassing its finding to the public on a yearly basis. (Staff)
  • Where can I find nationwide, access to requirements for employment background checks at casinos?
    Although different companies use various background check companies, they're basically looking for the same information. Most background checks look up criminal records. Credit, driving records and so forth are additional searches by the employer. Even when an applicant knows what their history is, many still want to see what the employer can obtain. Therefore, before applying, prospective employees will conduct a search on themselves. It also helps with deciding what to disclose. Criminal records in other states may not appear if it's a state search only. Nationwide searches can be conducted also, one example is when an individual is purchasing a firearm. Since casinos are regulated, these background checks tend to be mandatory. The state imposes this step prior to employers acquiring new personnel. So, the state itself may disclose which background or type of search to conduct coinciding with their regulations. The majority of states offer a criminal history check through their law enforcement agency, such as the state police. The prospective applicant has the advantage of already knowing where (city, county, state or federal) the criminal records may appear and thereafter look into that area only. The state of New Mexico offers several searches that also includes a letter of good standing. (Staff)
  • Where can I find nationwide, if marijuana testing been added to background checks?
    Drug testing has been a part of background checks for a long time. Marijuana contains THC, which is what the test will generally show when looking for marijuana use. Typically, drivers, individuals needing a security clearance, industrial machine workers and few other fields or entire industries were known for drug testing, and expected. With the recent surge of Marijuana availability in certain parts of the U.S., drug testing for THC seems inevitably more widespread. There are a few commonly asked questions regarding employers which conduct background checks. Which companies are testing for Marijuana? How do I know if something will show up in my test results? What if I'm on medication which I don't want to disclose? Many of these questions are asking what the law is and how it affects each individual situation. In my opinion, open forums are not a go to place for legal advice, but a discussion about experiences and possible helpful tips regarding a specific subject. An issue to remember is that while possessing Marijuana may be legal in two states, Washington and Colorado, and other states which have legalized its medical use, federal laws have not changed and can still penalize you. Although no one is worried about being arrested for THC found in their employment drug test, it raises a question of whether the individual's job prospects are jeopardized. How do you know whether you will not be hired by an employer due to your drug test results? As a first step, a prospective employee can get educated about the subject. Many applicants simply don't do their due diligence and research the topic enough before jumping into the job market, maybe from being eager and applying for open positions that have come up. Services conducting lab tests for drugs hired by employers often advertise their services online and everyone to see. Which drugs to they look for, how accurate are they and more. This way you know what you're dealing with and how far have these these come along with technological advancements. Research the company, not just on their website, but in the news also, everything and anything about their work force. Some companies only drug test certain positions, others are testing everyone. There's also the issue of the company's culture or environment, some are less tolerant than others. Drug testing has become cheaper for employers due to its development and popularity, many can be found advertising their services by simply browsing the net. You will be able to see how to request a urinalysis and maybe even run one on yourself. In regard to background checks, a good tip is to run one on yourself to see what others can see as well. However, it does not eliminate the fact that you may not be the right fit for that job due to your medication or drug use. Ask about the side effects when it comes to operating machinery and other specific tasks you will be responsible for from the prescribing doctor. There is a lot of research to be done before answering these questions on your own. You can take people's advice, but how reliable will that be is subjective. Research what it takes for medications to appear versus Marijuana? How much does it take? How long do the effects last if you're a one time user? How does Marijuana impair your thinking in an office environment as well as your motor skills. Spend the necessary time and effort looking up credible sources and see what you will be exposed to in your individual case. Even go as far as putting yourself in the employers shoes. (Staff)