Quick Facts About Public Access to Criminal Records
Under the Public Eye
Today, your criminal record is more accessible than ever. Gone are the days when someone had to go search for court records at the courthouse in person. Now, commercial background checks (available to the public) are easy to obtain online. Employers, landlords and even lenders are increasingly resorting to background checks to screen applicants. And for anyone with an arrest, charge or conviction on their record, that can make for some disappointing denials. To give you a better idea of how the public can access records of your criminal past, here are some quick facts.
What Is Public Record?
Court proceedings are—to a large extent—a matter of public record. In the past, members of the public who wanted to search for criminal records would have to go to the courthouse to access them in person. But we’re now in a data-driven era where our personal information is gathered, exchanged and even sold every day. Information about your criminal record is no exception. Now, there are for-profit background check companies capitalizing on the availability of large amounts of publically accessible data. By entering a few pieces of information and paying a fee, anyone can run a background check on any person.
What Are Commercial Background Checks?
Commercial background checks only contain publically accessible court records. These “commercial” background checks don’t stop at court records. They also can include credit scores, employment histories and even personal references. Again, these companies make a profit by selling your personal information to interested parties. But what they’re doing is not illegal. By gathering information from several public record databases, they are essentially consolidating all that information in a neat package to make it more user-friendly. The person conducting the search pays for convenience but could, theoretically, do the same search independently. In fact, background check companies cater mainly to employers and landlords that need to quickly and thoroughly screen applicants.
What’s Not Included in Commercial Background Checks?
Federal records and records that have been sealed are excluded. Likewise, obtaining a nondisclosure for an offense would limit what information a commercial background check company can pull from the public record.
Don’t Want Your Private Matters to Become Public? Call an Attorney
As long as you have Internet access and a method of paying online, you can access nearly anyone’s criminal record. That’s a disturbing thought, isn’t it? Even more so if you are facing criminal charges. Never underestimate the devastating impact a criminal conviction can have on your life. Always discuss your case in detail with a criminal defense attorney if you’re facing criminal charges. A seasoned Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney can explain the penalties you could face and help you develop a plan of action to minimize the negative consequences of your charges.
If your criminal record is holding you back in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action to clear your name. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.