The Freedom of Information Law gives interested Americans the right to publicly available information on matters that concern them. And when 1 in 3 Americans has a criminal record, performing a criminal background check for persons who come into your life is an unspoken rule of thumb
There are several ways and free resources to obtain a criminal record. Most state criminal justice agencies maintain online databases that residents can use to find persons with criminal records. You may also perform a nationwide criminal record check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data.
For the most part, the only tool you need to get a criminal record is your computer with internet access. Of course, you will need to know the name of the person of interest to perform a criminal record check on him/her. Some thirty years ago, you would need to visit the physical office of the law enforcement agency in the custody of the criminal record to get a copy. Today, this information is accessible round the clock, on any day, and from the repose of your home.
On A Side Note
You may not use the information you obtain from criminal record searches to threaten, blackmail, or impugn the individual’s character without justification. Most states have also adopted Ban the Box, a policy prohibiting discrimination against persons with criminal records. Consequently, the unlawful use of criminal record information renders such a person liable to criminal or civil sanctions as applicable.That said, checking for criminal records of prospective business partners and employees is your due diligence. As a parent, you must also check that a prospective babysitter, nanny, teacher, or any person who would interact with your child is not a registered sex offender in the state you live in or another state (see list of registries).