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How to Check Someone's Criminal Background for Free

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People run criminal background checks for any number of reasons – vetting a potential employee, investigating a neighbor or co-worker, or just double-checking whether a significant other is telling the truth about the past. Completing a criminal background search on someone can be done for free online within a few minutes.

Using Criminal Searches

Visit the Criminal Searches website (see link in References).

Enter the person's first and last name in the appropriate boxes. Do not include a middle initial in the "First Name" box. Include the state where you want to search, or you can leave the state blank if you're unsure. Click "Search."

If any matches are found, there will be a code indicating the type of offense the person committed: "Bv" for behavioral, "Bu" for business, "D" for drug- or alcohol-related, "S" for sex-related, "T" for theft or robbery, "V" for violent, and "O" for traffic or other violations. Under "Criminal Offense," you will see the specific kind of crime.

Click on "View Details" to learn more about the offenses. Available information includes case number, offense type, offense code, description, date reported and the disposition of the case.

If the initial search returned no results, narrow down your search. Click on "Advanced Search." This will allow you to add a middle initial, city and ZIP code. You can also search by county, the year of birth or an age range.

Using Local Law Enforcement Websites

Visit the public records Online Directory (see link in References) to search public records by state.

Select a state where the person you are looking for has lived.

Select the county from the menu on the top left portion of the page.

Select the website that you would like to visit. Once on that site, look for a link that says "Public Records." Go there, and enter the information of the person you're searching for. If there is no such information available for a county, contact law enforcement there to see whether you can access public records online.


Since 2007, Emilia Lamberto has been a professional writer specializing in home and garden, beauty, interior decorating and personal relationships. Her work has appeared in various online publications. Lamberto owns two blogs, one which provides readers with freelance job opportunities and one which covers beauty advice and product reviews.

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