criminal background

Avoid costly hiring mistakes when you use Essential Screens criminal background screening services!

All criminal screens are quality controlled by a senior member of our compliance team before they are returned to you to ensure maximum accuracy. PBSA certified staff are just a phone call away to help answer all your questions on several different levels of criminal background screening.

County, State and Federal Criminal and Civil Searches

Most criminal records occur at the county level, so it is incredibly important to have a thorough search done here. To narrow it down, the National Criminal Database search pulls potential red flags from states and counties. Unlike the federal cases held in federal court, these cases are tried in local jurisdictions, which means the records stay at that level, in county courts.

County criminal checks continue to be imperative in the background screening process as they provide all felony and misdemeanor criminal records, regardless of disposition, when tried in local jurisdictions. 

Based on the address history of the Social Security Trace the County Criminal Search is considered the most accurate and comprehensive criminal background search. Locating in-depth information and reporting felony and/or misdemeanor court records in the county you are requesting. This is accomplished using court researchers, Administrative Office of Courts, etc. Multiple counties may be selected per applicant/alias and the counties may be found by county name, city, or zip code. It is recommended to search the county of residence and/or prior counties of residence, employment, or education. This is a 7-year search history product. 

Locating criminal records in a specific state can turn up additional criminal records outside of a candidate’s resident history. While a state criminal check seems self-explanatory, due to differing state laws, not all county records are filtered into the state check. Because of this, rather than only running a state check, it is recommended that a county check is always run in tandem. 

We offer complete statewide repositories where available based on the state’s availability. 

Statewide Criminal Searches

Federal Criminal Searches

Federal crimes can be as minor as littering in a National Park or as severe as drug cases, robberies, and other violent crimes. A federal criminal check can be especially useful considering the types of crimes committed at a federal level will not appear on other record searches. So, depending on what industry you work in or your company policies, many of these crimes are automatic disqualifiers. 

Our National Federal Criminal Search includes case information from federal district courts. The offenses can be as serious as homicide, interstate trafficking, bank robbery, fraud, embezzlement, immigration, firearm or explosive charges and certain sex offenses. Federal criminal charges are NOT found in the county or state records. This report is especially relevant for screening management and executive candidates for white-collar crimes. Not all records will contain enough matching information to report the records and name only matches will not be reported as there must be at least one other personal identifier(s) present.

The National Federal Civil Search will search all federal court dockets from all US Federal District Courts. Federal Civil cases involve parties of different states or countries where potential damages will not exceed $75,000. They will also hear cases where violations of the Constitution or Federal laws apply. This search will include personal and corporate bankruptcies.

National Federal Civil Search

National Criminal Database Searches

The word “National” may lead you to believe that this check covers the entire United States, and while it does search 2,800+ databases which cover an estimated 900 million records, it does not supersede a county check. However, because of the extreme range of this check, it is a good indicator of where to look next. In other words, “hits” from National searches are useful to identify which county needs to be further researched for criminal records like felonies, misdemeanors, and traffic violations. 

This nationwide search combines multiple powerful tools into one unique search. (MCND) With alias uncovers names, addresses and dates of birth as well as known aliases including maiden names as revealed by our Social Security Trace & Address Verification. All name variations that are identified are then automatically run through our MCND – database court records, incarceration records, Department of Corrections (DOC), prison/inmate records, probation/release information, wants and warrants and other proprietary sources, Offender Watch – 50 state sex offender screening, and our US Patriot Search – FBI terrorist watch lists, OFAC and a multitude of databases covering U.S. and foreign sanctions and watch lists. This is considered an indicator tool, which will help identify where possible records may be found; it is not recommended as a standalone search. All preemptive records found will be verified at the appropriate level to verify information is accurate and up to date; fees may apply.

A search of the National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR) includes information about convicted sex offenders such as their first and last name, address, and states in which the person is registered as a sex offender. These records are maintained by law enforcement to identify and monitor sex offenders. NSOR searches help protect your employees and customers from potential liability. 

Our Offender Watch provides sex offender case information in an easy-to-read report. Our extensive search capabilities check registered sex offender data sources nationwide, such as: Bureaus of Investigation, Departments of Law Enforcement, Departments of Corrections (DOC), Departments of Justice, Departments of Public Safety, Sheriff’s Departments, State Attorney Generals Offices, State Police, and proprietary information. Many sex offender screens only retrieve level 3 sex offenders; Offender Watch obtains level 1, level 2, and level 3-current sex offender information that is available from all 50 states.

Sex Offender Registry Searches

Abuse and Neglect Registry Searches

While the type of information in these state registries varies, abuse registries help many industries in knowing that they have done their due diligence to ensure the safety of those interacting with their potential employee. 

When hiring an employee or screening a volunteer, the first step is to obtain a Social Security Trace & Address Verification. This screen is rapidly becoming the standard to verify an individual’s past addresses, resident jurisdictions, movement patterns, maiden names, alternate names used by the individual, age and date of birth spanning up to 30 years. This is the most complete resource of current and historical data available by searching billions of records including multiple bureau database sources. When this search is processed it also verifies the social security number against the Death Master File (DMF) as well as it confirms the state and year of issuance. This is an investigative starting point that provides a more complete background search when combined with additional screening services.

Social Security Number Verification/Trace or Name – Address Verification

What people are saying


Have a