Do Employment Background Checks Find Warrants?

by Colleen Collins ; Updated September 26, 2017
Some online background screening companies provide data on outstanding warrants.

Before 2001, employers, through pre-employment background screening firms, could access the National Wants and Warrants portion of the FBI's automated criminal record database, the National Crime Information Center. This National Wants and Warrants data included information on fugitives wanted on federal warrants, as well as extraditable state warrants. Since 2001, employers and background-screeners sometimes still find warrants on applicants through criminal records, driver's histories and private databases.

Criminal Records

Arrest and search warrants and their affidavits are kept separate from criminal court records until after the warrants are executed. After this execution, or implementation, of a warrant, such as the arrest of an individual resulting from an arrest warrant, both the warrant and the affidavit are transferred to that person's criminal file. Therefore, only executed warrants, which are not outstanding warrants, are in criminal files. Employment background checks typically do not report executed warrants.

Driver's History Records

Driver's history records include warrants for failures to appear for driving-related offenses. An employer might view the existence of such an outstanding warrant as indicators that the applicant disdains the law, does not take responsibility for his actions or attempts to evade the law. However, because a reasonable explanation might exist for a warrant, an employer or background-screener might also review other relevant information with the appropriate court, such as the county traffic court.

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National Wants And Warrants Search

Although the NCIC database is no longer available to background screening companies, some private firms gather extensive wants and warrants information directly from various local and state jurisdictions, and make this data available to background-screeners, licensed private investigators and authorized others. For example, Corra, a nationwide background screening service, offers a National Wants & Warrants Search for employment background checks, which includes searches of outstanding extraditable and felony warrants throughout the U.S.

Denial of Employment

Employers cannot automatically deny employment to an applicant who faces a current, outstanding criminal warrant. Alternatively, an employer might request that the applicant clear the warrant, then reapply with documentation showing the warrant is cleared. This same conditions apply to people who have been released on bail pending prosecution. After the person goes to court and clears the matter, she can reapply with documentation showing the case is resolved.

References

About the Author

In 1997 Harlequin published Colleen Collins' first novel, followed by many more by Harlequin and Dorchester. Her articles and writing have appeared in "P.I. Magazine," "Pursuit Magazine" and "Cosmopolitan." She earned a B.A. in theater arts from University of California, Santa Barbara and is an active member of Mystery Writers of America.

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