Eric J Dirga, PA - Orlando Criminal Traffic Defense Attorney

Criminal Record Background Checks

Official vs. Private Database Companies

Last Updated: March 31, 2014

F.D.L.E. Official Background Check

The F.D.L.E. provides the only, reasonably accessible, official criminal background check. A criminal background check through FDLE can be obtained on their website. The F.B.I. can also provide a national criminal background check but it is tedious.

The Unofficial Background Checks

When people want to dig up information on someone else they typically Google a term like background check. That will bring up over a 100,000 results. What pops up are private data-collection companies. They buy public records of people's information from such agencies as FDLE, the County Clerks Office, and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The information is then databased by name, date-of-birth, social security number. All the records they obtain are classified by the local legislature as public records.

This "public record" collection is what people now consider a background check. This is reflected in the fact that most employers, rental agencies, loan offices, and so on, rely on private companies that database vast amounts of public records to inform them on the backgrounds of people, specifically in regards to Florida criminal records.

Official Versus Unofficial Background Checks

It is true that the government, typically law enforcement, maintains records on a lot of different activities we are involved in including crimes. Official background checks would emanate from the FDLE and only contain criminal information. The private companies that sell information labeled as a background check include much more information including such things as address, car registrations, names of people living with you (including children), etc.

Unfortunately, private "public records" data collectors hardly understand what they collect. Much of it is filled with government acronyms that these companies "guess" at. They take what they receive from government offices, such as the Clerks of Court Offices, and then "translate" it to something that the average Joe can understand. Very often, the translated wording is inaccurate.

There are thousands of these companies out there that claim to provide "background checks." Most have a very poor record for accuracy. They defend what they do by saying that the records they provide are all "public records" to which everyone has access. This is true but public records in the hands of the government is usually more difficult to view.

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