Understanding common criminal industry terms and what they actually mean…

Police Records vs. Criminal Records vs. Background Checks vs. Criminal History
vs. Conviction Records vs. Court Records vs. Arrest Records

What does it all mean?  Are the terms above used interchangeably? Or, are they different?  Is a police record the same as a criminal record?  Are arrest records listed in an online criminal report?  When you are looking up someone’s criminal history, are you really looking for a background check?  And, if so, what information do you think you’ll get back from that criminal background investigation?  CriminalBackgroundRecords.com thinks it is important to break down these common terms, and better explain what to expect in the background search process, as well as what to expect when viewing a criminal background record.

When looking for a criminal background history, the most commonly used search terms are as follows…

Police Records | Criminal Records | Criminal Conviction Records | Background Check
Arrest Records | Criminal History | Criminal Background Search | Court Records
Felony Records | and Corrections Records

First, we will break down some common phrases used in the background retrieval industry and explain both their “real meaning” and their “commonly understood meaning”.  We will parse out the real and the actual from the rumors and the hearsay.

We want to help breakdown these terms to their core meaning in order to better educate the large market of people looking to perform some kind of background check.  CriminalBackgroundRecords.com wants to deepen its customers and potential customers understanding of criminal records, how they are obtained, how they are stored, how they are searched, and what to expect in your criminal report search results…

Since we currently only cater to the US market, we will begin with US law.  In US law, “a conviction is the verdict that results when a court of law finds a defendant guilty of a crime.”  This means that if someone was arrested by the police for a supposed crime, then went to court, and then was found, “Not Guilty” than this record simply stays an “arrest record” NOT a criminal record.  Using an arrest record as part of a decision to hire, fire or otherwise harm or harass an individual is wrong, and also opens you up to huge legal risks.

Criminal histories/backgrounds are maintained and updated by many varying sources.  Typically, criminal history information is first generated by law enforcement agencies such as your local police departments.  Local police departments, sheriff’s offices, and other police agencies usually maintain their own internal databases. On the state government level, state police, state troopers, highway patrol, correctional agencies, and other law enforcement agencies also maintain separate databases. Law enforcement agencies often share this information with other similar enforcement agencies and this information is usually made available to the public in various ways.  Again, as discussed in the paragraph above, a police record may just be an arrest record, and until an actual criminal conviction for say a felony offense is made, there is no criminal record.  Making decisions solely on arrest records is not a good idea.

Sex Offender Records are considered Criminal Records
Registered sex offenders have information about their crimes readily available in state sex offender registries.  With each instant statewide or national criminal record search, CriminalBackgroundRecords.com includes a free national 50-State sex offender check.  That means that whether you run a criminal search in Texas, Florida or the entire US, you will get a national sex offender check in addition to a criminal check in Texas, Florida or the entire country.  All of CriminalBackgroundRecords.com instant criminal searches come with a free national sex offender check.

The Department of Correctional Services in many states make criminal records available to the public, and are certainly included as part of a state or national criminal search with CriminalBackgroundRecords.com.  In most cases, juvenile records/files are protected, and their criminal information is typically sealed and not made available to the public.  Correctional information will tell you if someone has served time in prison, currently are incarcerated as inmates, physical characteristics and of course their current status.  CriminalBackgroundRecords.com will give you correctional information, in all our search types, wherever it is available.

State Government
Some states have official “statewide repositories” that contain criminal history information contributed by county, municipal, and other courts within the state.  Court records are the best source for criminal case information concerning an individual.  These state repositories are usually accurate if the state requires supervision of the uploading of criminal data from the local courts (we hope this will be the norm soon). Some states make reporting to a central repository a voluntary activity.   With each state having differing criminal record uploading procedures or no criminal record uploading at all, the information obtained from these repositories can be incomplete.  However, with that said, there have been huge positive steps made in this area of criminal history searching, and for the near future, this means of acquiring and searching criminal records at the state level is getting better and better.

Federal Government
The federal government maintains extensive criminal histories and acts as a central repository for all agencies to report their own data.  The NCIC (National Crime Information Center) is one such database. Generally, and with few exceptions, the records compiled by the federal government in the NCIC are not made available to the public. Some websites and criminal data re-sellers claim to offer an NCIC record search.  These claims are most always fraudulent.  Before ordering a criminal report online, be sure to read the description of the search you are ordering prior to placing your order.  If a company or website does not reveal the description of the search you are interested in ordering, it is probably best to stay clear from ordering from that provider.  The rule of thumb on this is simple; if clear, up to date, descriptions of a criminal search are not available, then that provider is most likely using an old, incomplete database that may or may not have the criminal data you are looking for.

What are the “Terrorist Database Background Check” and “Most Wanted Search??”

All of CriminalBackgroundRecords.com instant criminal checks include a free terrorist database search and “most wanted” list search.  Below is the breakdown of what these two free criminal searches are and what to expect in your search results.

Terrorist Database Background Check:
We check the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list maintained by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) of the U.S. Department of Treasury with every criminal search. OFAC administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on United States foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, and those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. As part of its enforcement efforts, OFAC publishes a list of individuals and companies owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, targeted countries. It also lists individuals, groups, and entities, such as terrorists and narcotics traffickers designated under programs that are not country-specific. Collectively, such individuals and companies are called “Specially Designated Nationals” or “SDNs.” Their assets are blocked by law and American individuals and companies are generally prohibited from dealing with SDNs. Results have full name, date of birth if known, address, country, title, program, remarks like AKA’s. These records are screened individually and carefully, and reported to the proper law enforcement entities when a match is made.

Most Wanted Criminal Search:
Comprised of several state agencies most wanted such as: Top Ten FBI Most Wanted, FBI Most Wanted Fugitives, US Marshals Most Wanted, US Marshals Major Cases, Alabama Department of Public Safety, Mississippi Department of Public Safety, Kansas Most Wanted, AFT Most Wanted, US DEA Wanted Fugitives, DTIC Fugitive Top List, US Secret Service Most Wanted, Americas Most Wanted, Connecticut Department of Public Safety and Texas Most Wanted.

CriminalBackgroundRecords.com hopes this article helps its browsers and users become more educated in the criminal data industry, and more informed as to what exactly to expect in a criminal report, and why a criminal report from one company/website can differ from another company/website.

7 thoughts on “Understanding common criminal industry terms and what they actually mean…

  1. Jared Post author

    Thank you for the clarification on arrest records. This is the USA after all and you are innocent util proven guilty. So why should a criminal background check show arrest records that never became convictions? Makes sense, and as someone who was arrested and then found not guilty I do not want someone to pull a criminal background record on me and see my arrest record. I know that legally they can’t use an arrest record to fire me or prevent me from getting a job, but realistically if they see a record returned (even though it is just an arrest record) they may not hire me anyway. I am writing this comment because I am glad that your site understands these concerns and does not return arrest records in the criminal search. Thank you and I appreciate your ethics even though they may translate into lower profits!

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  2. Bob Darling Post author

    I hear most people use the terms “background check” or “criminal background check” but on the news sometimes it is called a “criminal history check” which I think is the best term for it. But it is funny how there is so many different explanatories all meaning the same thing. But eventually one of the phrases will become the household term.

    Reply
  3. Gary Richardson Post author

    Please tell me how I can check to see if I have a felony on my criminal record. A judge sentenced me then suspended the charge and put me on probation. I would really like to know. I just sent you’all nearly $40:00 and got 3 reports that all said basically the same thing. Discharge from Probation! I’d really like my money back(if you’ll be kind enough to tell me how) because on all 3 reports under SS# ,you’all had put-“not entered”, under “Member” you put “Not a Member”(and I am) also,under the heading “Court Record” where it says Statute-you put some numbers that I have no clue what they mean. I’m not a happy camper right now,mainly because I happen to be smart enough to know when I got off probation and for nearly $40:00 I expected a little more information. Right. Once again,I would like to know if there is a felony conviction on my record. I don’t think so,but I would like to be sure.

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