If you’re going to be doing criminal background checks, you need to understand the basics of what you’re viewing when you get your records results returned.
First of all, make sure that the records you’re reading belong to the person you’re looking up. It only happens rarely that there is a mix-up in records, but double checking your results never hurts. You can match up names, dates of birth, social security numbers in some cases or addresses. You should be able to match up enough info to determine you have the correct records.
Felony records are more serious offenses than misdemeanor records. High level drug possession or distribution, murder, rape, robbery or aggravated assault all would usually fall under felonious offenses.
Misdemeanor offenses are far less serious and can range from petty theft, hot checks, too many unpaid parking tickets or mild traffic accident where the person you’re searching for was negligent for property damage under a certain dollar amount (the amount will vary from state to state).
In additional to criminal background checks of the felony and misdemeanor variety, you can also pull up tax liens, arrest records, convictions and even sexual offender information. This last type of search is very valuable if you’re considering hiring someone to work in your home or care for your children. Sex Offenders are grouped into three “tiers”. Tier 1 are considered the most harmless. Tier 2 have recurring problems and may re-offend. Tier 3 sex offenders are likely to re-offend. Make sure you look for the level of sex offender when you do that type of check. It’s not available on each and every sex offender record,but it’s good additional information to have.