Background Check Education

The Life of A Criminal Records Search

Aug 20, 2014

FYI Article II

The Life of a Criminal Records Search

Ever wonder why the heck it takes so long for some criminal records searches? 

  • HRA determines the county/counties to be searched.

  • HRA sends a search request to a research vendor.

  • Our vendors have Court Researchers in every jurisdiction.


    • Each one of the 3,500 court clerk’s offices maintain their criminal records in their own way.  

    • Many have similarities and many differ.                                                                                                     

    • One of the main factors dictating how the records and files and accessed is the budget allotted to them by the county.

  • All county clerk’s offices maintain some sort of “Court Record Index."

    • The index is a list by name and date of birth, and a criminal record or case file, number.

  • Because the index rarely has any other indication of the crime, once the researcher identifies a match by name and DOB, a request to view the case file must be submitted to the clerk.

    • Again, it’s a waiting game according to the clerk’s staff time. 

    • And, if it’s an active case, it may be on an attorney’s desk somewhere.

  1. Some of the procedures imposed by court clerks for public record searches include: 

    ·       Access to records only during certain hours.

    ·       Time limit (as little as ten minutes) on access to records for each researcher.  The result: the researcher conducts searches within the time frame, then has to go to the back of the line and wait for another turn.

    ·       NO public access – the researcher is required to provide the list of names to the court clerk’s staff who conduct the searches as their time allows.  The results are then returned to the researcher.

Keep in mind that all of the clerks’ office employees are government workers (think of the last time you went to the DMV !)

Considering all of the obstacles imposed, I think court researchers do a phenomenal job!


Be sure to check out our other article, "Criminal Records Search Facts."


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