This article will help you:
- Understand what happens in a US State Criminal Search
- Decide when to include US State Criminal Searches in your background check package
- Pair State Criminal Searches with County Criminal Searches for maximum thoroughness
A State Criminal Search is used to discover criminal records in a specific state. Adding a State Criminal Search to a background screening package can provide you with additional coverage to find potential criminal records outside of a candidate’s home county.
Information returned in a State Criminal Search may include the following:
- Defendant’s Name
- Case Number
- Charge Classification (Felony/Misdemeanor)
- Charge Type
- Disposition (Guilty, Dismissed, etc.)
- Disposition Date
- Sentencing Information
What is state record quality?
When looking at a report, you may see a State Criminal Search with results reading: More research was conducted due to state record quality. See county searches.
Why would you see this message? In some states, Checkr may need to kick off a county search based on incomplete information in the state search.
The extent and quality of the State Criminal Search varies by state:
- True Parity: Some states search every single county within the state.
- Partial Parity: Some states search most counties, but not all.
- Non-Parity: Some states search only a few counties within the state.
Due to varying state laws and practices, not every single county within a “Partial Parity” or “Non-Parity” state reports to a statewide repository. Each state database also functions differently. For example, New York's state database includes reports from all counties, but California's does not.
The county courthouse is the source of truth for most criminal records -- not the state database -- and each of the 3,200 counties in the US decides how to make its records public. In most states, many counties do not make their data available for an aggregate true statewide search.
For maximum thoroughness, we recommend running this search in addition to, rather than instead of, a county search. The best practice is to search county-by-county, and add statewide searches where there is either true, or partial, parity.