There are issues with searching for criminal records on publicly available court websites. The indented language below was taken verbatim from one state’s public access to court information website. Although it is the language from one particular website, it is reflective of most publicly available court websites.

Please be aware of the following limitations of the case records displayed:

  • The information may not be a current, accurate, or complete record of the case
  • The information is subject to change at any time
  • The information is not the official record of the court
  • Not all cases from a participating court may be included
  • The information should not be used as a substitute for a thorough background search of official public records.

When searching for county criminal records, it is best not to rely on open websites that anyone can access. These records are NOT the official court record. Many background screening companies employ “screen scraping” technology to obtain such “county criminal records” that are available to anyone on the web, even though, as listed above, these searches cannot act as a substitute for an actual county court house records search.

If you are paying very little and/or are receiving your county criminal searches in seconds or minutes, ask your background screening company if they are actually searching official county records or, are they just forwarding publicly available court records. Unfortunately too many background screening companies, including some supposed consumer reporting agencies employ these substandard methods to provide low-cost and too fast county criminal search results.

Posted by: Rudy Troisi, President and CEO, Reliable Background Screening

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