You can get a background check, or criminal record or criminal reference check, at your local police department. These reports often contain a wealth of information, such as misdemeanor and felony convictions, open arrest warrants, sex offender status, and existence of any concealed weapon licenses. You can also contact your state’s Justice Department or county’s Clerk of Courts office for a certified copy of the background check.

Uses for Background Checks

Employers verify the legitimacy of a potential job candidate using background checks. Police officers can also access background checks during routine traffic stops to check for existing warrants and other violations.

Fees and Requirements

Call your local police department or courthouse to find out the specific fees and requirements for obtaining a background check. In most cases, you will need two forms of picture ID, an authorization form from your employee and a fingerprint card. You will likely be required to pay for the background check and a fingerprinting fee. Fingerprinting is required to prevent identify theft.


By regularly obtaining background checks on yourself for personal use, you can monitor your history, prevent identify theft and protect yourself against accidental misfiling by your state and local police department. Benefits for employers who request background checks include better job applicants, a safer work environment and reduced in-store theft and negative publicity.