Category Archives: Criminal Record Searches

Search for state and federal criminal records including arrests, mugshots, felonies, misdemeanors, indictments, convictions and more.

Reverse Searches: Background Them By Old Contact Info

Ever Google a common name like “Jason Smith” to find there’s thousands of them?  Or suppose you want to learn more about Carol Jones, the hot vendor who moved into the office next door?  Google lists over 100 millions hits for her.

So which one is the pretty blond without a wedding ring?  And is she really single?  Or does the wedding ring vanish, but only when she’s selling to her mostly male customers?

There are many reasons to do a background check.  For example: If Carol is single, just knowing what she does for fun could put you miles ahead of the competition.  Imagine her surprise when she hears you talk about her one true passion.  Which of course is to see the Special Olympics Unicycle Ukulele relay race. (Now I don’t recommend you lie.  But if you truly have similar interests, you’ll feel a lot bolder when you talk to her!)

So how can you find out this info?  And do it quickly without false leads?

By the way, this blog is a short add on to People With Common Names-How To Background Them and to the blog  Age, Relatives & Middle Name: The First Stop In Any Background Check.  In those blogs, I spoke about finding people by their unique identifiers, such as their age and middle name.  But  I assumed you only had their first and last name to work with.

Sometimes you have more.  For example: you could have their old or current email address, an old or current cell # or a prior home address. You might even have an old user name of theirs from when you met them on  Obviously you waste nothing by plugging this into Google.  For more on that see Google Like A Pro (Quick Tips & Tricks).

But even before Google, you’ve got a powerful tool you may not have thought of.  Through reverse lookups, you can cut to the chase and find your exact Carol Jones in an instant.

Reverse Lookups (Searching By Contact Info)
When Googling  for common names, you know from my other blogs that it’s best to have at least a middle initial or maybe even a state where they once lived.  From there you sift through all your hits.  Usually you will find your target.  Usually.

But with reverse lookups or Reverse Searches, you can shortcut this process.   Key is finding the right FREE websites where you can plug in whatever piece of information you got.  The best of these instantly give you more information than what you started with.  They don’t take forever to load; and they don’t string you along.  Key is that they hone in on your subject, not someone else with the same name.

Well, guess what?  I just gave you these links both above and below!  And they’re organized based on the type of contact info you’re most likely to have!  Emails, phone numbers, addresses and user names.

For example:  this link in searches based on my email address of  Now click on a few of the links and you can find my middle name, my Twitter and Facebook accounts, my age, my profession, etc.  What’s more, the hits you get are linked directly with this email address.  So you know you got the right Graham Firestone.  Not that there was any doubt.  I’m the only Graham Firestone on the block. OR in the world!  But it matters when your name is a common one.

For phone numbers, you could get similar hits to the above.  Or you may just find the invaluable middle name.   But Google whatever you get for even more results.

Note that you can always plug an email, phone number or user name directly into Facebook or other social media.  Sometimes it even works!

So stop lollygagging and start searching!  And don’t forget to comment if you have thoughts, feelings or suggestions.  Doing so makes me feel warm and fuzzy. And I like warm and fuzzy.

Good luck!

Reverse Searches

Emails Phone #s
Photos/Images Street Addresses
User Names/Dating Profiles Websites/Intellectual Property



Sex Offender Lookup

Every state defines sex crimes differently.  But even so, you can find all the registered sex offenders at a single website!

The National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) lists pedophiles, rapists, sexual predators, flashers, stalkers and molesters.  To search the sex offender database by state or nationwide, see the Sleuth For the Truth video Find Sex Offenders.  The blog below verbally tracks this video.

The three most reliable ways to search for sex offenders are by:

  1. Jurisdiction (which is usually a state or territory)
  2. Name (a National Search) or by
  3. Zip Code (Not covered in this blog)

A Name Search By Location
At the top left, enter a first and last name in the box called National Offender Quick Search. Then click on Search by Location.  Later if you need to search nationally, you’ll go back to this box and click on the big red search button instead.

Either way, you must agree to their terms and conditions page.  Just check the box where it says .

Next, you must fill in the correct Captcha code to convince it you’re not a robot.  These are often difficult.  If you can’t read the code, use the two buttons to the right to get something more understandable.

Once on the search page scroll down to the bottom left
and enter in a first and last name but nothing else.  Less is more here.  Don’t add in the county or town.  If someone wrongly listed where the sex offender lives, you won’t find them there.

Now select state/territory and use the drop box to make your choice.  Notice you can search for sex offenders in all 50 states, the various US territories such as Guam, Puerto Rico and even the Indian tribes.

Now let’s test out the database with a common name and select the state of Georgia.  Here you can see 12 records.  If you scroll down you’ll be able to view the photos of all John Smiths along with their age and address.  If the photo isn’t there, click on the link anyway, and often a photo will appear.

But on the first link, why did it also pull up Francis Nelson?  Click on his name, and you get the answer.  In the past, he was using “John Smith” as an alias!  Pretty sneaky.  But not too surprising. 

Can’t find the guy you’re looking for?  Don’t relax just yet.  To be safe, you’ll also want to search for his mugshot nationwide.

With a national search for John Smith, you have to scroll through about 300 photos.  But most in most cases you’ll be dealing with a name far less common than John Smith, i.e. fewer photos.

Why Do A National Search If I Can’t Find My Creepy Neighbor in GA?
I’m always surprised how trusting people are.  No one trusts the big bad wolf to count the chickens.  And if he claims to have moved out of town,  we’d still look for signs of him nearby.

Not so with sex offenders.  For some reason, we trust they will honesty report to the government exactly where they’re living, all the time!   After all, why would a sex creep lie?

But in all fairness, most people don’t realize how the government keeps track of sex offenders.  There is no micro chip transponder that hones in on their every location.  Rather it’s up to the individual to self report on their own whereabouts.  So please be safe.  If you can’t find them in your state, do the national search as well.

Related Links
Is The Crime Still Online? 
Arrests & Mugshots
Federal Prison Records


Is The Crime Still Online?

Is your crime still online?  Or are you looking for criminal records on someone else?  Either way, here’s how to find them, fast, easy and all for free!

Types of Criminal Records
There are two types of criminal records.  First there are the official government records from the jails and courts.

These may show whether someone was convicted, pardoned or if their conviction was expunged.  Government records often reveal  dates of incarceration and the crimes the person was charged with.

But sometimes the government makes mistakes.  If you find the government made a mistake about your criminal record, you can provide proof of their error and they will have to fix it.

2.0 Good Mugshot

But there are also other records that exist independent of the government.  These include the footprints of government records captured in blogs, newspapers, arrest mugshot sites, and sites that charge for online background checks.

That’s right!  Your arrest records could appear in a newspaper even after the charges were dropped.  Or you could be pardoned to find that years later, your photo still appears in a commercial mugshot database!

This is a wonderful thing if you’re looking for the crimes of someone else.   After all, a person can be morally guilty even when the charges were dropped.  It happens all the time.  Sometimes there’s political pressure to dismiss the case.  At other times, charges are dropped due to legal technicalities.

Would you, for example, hire a shoplifter who had been charged twice but never convicted?  Or what about the person who beat a murder rap because of an invalid search warrant?  Are these the people you want to bring home to mother?  Are these the people you want playing with your kids?

Of course, you may see it differently if you’re the one with the criminal record!  In that case you can ask for a retraction.

retraction paint 2

If you find your record was listed inaccurately, you can reach out to the source and ask for it to be removed.  But there’s no guarantee they’ll do so.

Your rights may depend on what was posted, when it was posted and if the source was a blog or newspaper.  With newspapers there could be First Amendment concerns over free speech that trump your right to a good name.  But that’s a blog for another time and place.  Now, let’s get to finding these records!


Fat Sumo Wrestler and kid 6.00

Searching Criminal Records Can Be Daunting.
The Internet can be daunting when you have no idea where to begin.  Pushing through mountains of links, blogs and bad websites can leave you exhausted, lost and discouraged.  But there is a method to the madness.  And I’m going to show some quick and easy ways to cut through the fat.

So Where Do You Begin?

Step 1: Do A Name Search In The Free National Databases That List Criminal Records
Up until last year, I had no idea that the free ones existed.  But they do and I’ve listed them here and below.  So keep reading!  At the bottom, I’ve included specific websites and how to search within them.  Or you can watch the Sleuth For The Truth Video Is Your Crime Still Online?

How Can These Records Help Me?
Often a criminal record search requires you to know the state and county where the crime occurred.  This usually coincides with where the person has lived.  Sometimes you’ll know this information.  But more often than not you won’t.   And even then, you can never predict these things.

On the road crimes such as speeding or DUI often happen when passing through other towns.  So these national databases are a great help for where to start looking.

To search for someone, simply enter in their name and see if anything comes up.  If their name isn’t there, it usually means they have no criminal record-at least not on the state and county level.

But if you find them, it tells you at least someone with their name was in trouble!  You’ll know you have the right person based on other identifiers.  Usually next to their name is their age along  with the state where the crime occurred.  (Don’t know their age?
See Age-The First Stop In Any Background Check.)

These records are far from perfect.  And the free databases won’t tell you what the crime was.  It could be anything from a violent felony to a misdemeanor speeding ticket.  But right now, you just want to know if there was a crime at all.  And if there was, where did it take place?  (Step 2 will help you find out the details)

Make sure to write down the state where the crime occurred.  You’ll need it if you immediately choose to look for their Mugshot & Arrest Records.  For Federal crimes, see also  Federal Prison Records and The Sleuth for Truth Video Let’s Talk Federal Prison.

Step 2: The Free State & County Links
Our next stop is to  search for records in the state and county databases. This includes jails, prisons and other county
court records.  Below I’ll show you where you can get many of these in one spot.

Step 3: The Google Search
Finally, be sure to Google yourself and others for criminal records mentioned in news articles, blogs, complaints and other sources.  See the blog Google Like A Pro.  See also People With Common Names-How To Search For Them.

Specific Websites And How To Search Them

Below is a printed version of the YouTube video Is Your Crime Still Online?

National Criminal Database #1
Our first stop for free criminal records is at  At the link above, a first and last name will turn up the criminal records associated with it.  If you see duplicate names, match the name, age, and location to make sure you have the right person.

So let’s search for criminal records on “Adam Rosen”.  To see what states come up, here we’ll enter in only his first and last name, no state and no middle initial.  We’ll leave out the middle initial for two reasons.  First we may not know it.  And second, we don’t want to miss those records which forgot to include it.

A national search brings up 131 hits and will tell you all the states where there are records.  States are listed from A to Z.  Often you’ll see their age, and middle name or initial included as well.

We could scroll down to see all the states where Adam Rosens have criminal records, but in this case our Adam Rosen only lived in California.

A search in CA shows only 16 records.  So by selecting a state, we’ve narrowed it down by 115 records!  With proof now that he has a criminal record, we can leave this website and target the state and county records within California.  This is what I’ll show you next.

State & County Database #1
Let’s go to, a free directory that allows you to search for state and county records in any of the 50 states and DC.  Our next Stop: California.

Don’t get lost by all the choices you see.  The four main places to search are Arrest Warrants, Court Records, Criminal Records and Sex Offenders.  If you’re not sure of the county, you can also click on “City/County Converter” which is above the link for court records.

Here is a sample of what you’ll see when you click on Arrest Warrants. (see video or look at link for results)

When you click on Court Records, you must choose your county.  (Video shows samples of what you can find in Marin County.)   Sometimes you can even find traffic citations.

On the Criminal Records page, you have a choice of all records or to click on specific types of records.  I recommend all types minus the crime maps.  If you uncheck to see all counties, you can look for records in specific counties and not get flooded with too much information.

Googling For Criminal Records
Our last stop is the Google search.  People tend to Google first.  They then get frustrated because they have no way to distinguish their subject from the numerous others with the same name.  So for common names, it’s best to Google only once you know their age, middle name, the places they’ve lived and where the crimes were committed.

Below,  I’ve included high power search terms most likely to retrieve criminal records.  For other terms, look up lookup synonyms for arrests, crimes and convictions.  Be sure to Google these as well.

Searching For John Smith:

1. John Smith convicted
2. John Smith arrested
3. John Smith guilty
4. John Smith NOLO
5. “John Smith” conviction (Name in quotes)

6. “John R Smith” charges (Middle initial included)
7. “John Richard Smith” sentenced (Full name in quotes)
8. John Smith sentenced Georgia
9. “John R Smith” sentenced Georgia
10. Name above with felony or misdemeanor

Remember to search with the name in quotes and also without quotes.  If your name is a common one, be sure to include a state as well.  For more Google search terms, check out the Sleuth for the Truth Blogs & Videos at

Related Links
Sex Offender Lookup
Arrests & Mugshots
Federal Prison Records
Google Like A Pro (Quick Tips & Tricks)


Google Like A Pro (Quick Tips and Tricks)

Whether you’re shopping online or doing your own background checks, you can get swamped with too many names, too many pages and too many false leads.  To avoid this, here are 8 search tricks that will forever change how you Google!

This Blog Will Show You How To:
1. Google search 100 hits per page instead of 10 per page
2. Search for an exact phrase using quotes
3. See old versions of a website (Google Cache)
4. Search for key words once on a web page (Control F, Command F
for Macs)
5. Exclude Google returns that contain unwanted words
6. Search for recent results in the past week, month or year
7. Search within a particular website
8. Search For Images (Google Reverse Image Search).




1. Search Faster With 100 Returns Per Page
First let’s permanently set Google to give you 100 returns per page instead of ten.  If you’re not sure this is a worthwhile thing to do, try Googling for John Smith and mugshots.  As you can see, at just ten hits per page, you will be searching for a lifetime!  How much better to search 10 times faster and with 10 times the returns on a page!

For more searches per page, you can customize your search settings.  First, under “Search Settings” and “Google Instant predictions”, click on “Never show Instant results.”  This deactivates any suggestions on how to search for things. (Something only marginally helpful when you already know what you’re looking for).

Next, slide the results per page from 10 to 100.  This makes Google microscopically slower, but with today’s super fast Internet speeds, who cares! (Note: this won’t work unless you first turn off the instant results feature above).

Now, click “Save” at the bottom and start searching!  The same results are now at a 100 per page instead of 10.  Think how much time you’ll save with this trick alone.  Say goodbye to the page by page nonsense!  200 returns takes up 2 pages instead of 20.   And if it’s not there, you simply move on to your next search.




2. Search For An Exact Phrase Using Quotes
Most people never think of using quotation marks around names or phrases.  But if you Google John Smith and mugshots (without quotes) you get over half a million hits.  To narrow your search, let’s put the name in quotes so it looks like this: “John Smith” mugshots.  Now your search results are cut down to less than 46 thousand hits.

The great thing about quotes is that you can target exact phrases, including names.  With the example above, you can see the quotes allow you to pull up hits where the words John and Smith are right next to each other.

But why stop there?  Let’s see what happens when we add the middle initial R.  Amazingly, the search for “John R Smith” mugshots returns a mere 56 hits.

Now let’s refine the search to “John Richard Smith” mugshots.  Here you get only 25 hits!  So with a full name in quotes, even a common name becomes uncommon.  And with the power of quotes, you can find your mark easily.

Finally, lets add a city to narrow the results even further.  With “John Richard Smith” mugshots Atlanta, we’ve reduced half a million hits to five!

Use Triple Quotes For Even More Exact Phrases
This is a secret Google won’t talk about. But if you want to make absolutely sure you get Graham Firestone and not Graham Moclayus Firestone, search like this “””Graham Firestone”””

Pros & Cons of Using Quotes

Quotes are great when you know the exact phrase you’re looking for.
Example: “post office most wanted”
Example: “John Richard Smith”

Dangers Of Using Quotes
Quotes can exclude valid results because the words were not next to each other.  This matters for example, when you have no idea how the name will be listed, i.e. when searching for wedding announcements or obituaries.  For example: Quotes around “John Smith” would exclude an obituary about John R Smith or a wedding announcement for John and Clara Smith.  Likewise, quotes around “Clara and John Smith” could exclude valid returns with “John and Clara Smith”

If you know the exact phrase or phrases you’re looking for, put it in quotes!  You can also narrow your leads by adding a city or other information not in quotes.  Be careful of using quotes when you don’t know the exact word order you want, or you want the key terms to come back with a middle name, the name of a spouse or other information that would otherwise be excluded.



3. See Old Versions Of A Website (Google Cache)
Ever go to website to learn it’s changed or no longer there?  This is especially frustrating when you know the site refers to the person you’re looking for.  The good news is that Google’s cache function can show you an earlier snapshot of the same site.

Suppose you’re looking for Graham Firestone and Google pulls up a site where he’s nowhere to be found.  So what do you do?
First, use your back button to revisit the list of Google hits where you first found the site.  Notice a green link directly under your website.

Click the down arrow at the end of the green link and click Cached.   Now you are on a snapshot of the site before it changed.  For more see Search tricks including finding really old websites on the Wayback Machine.



4. Search For Key Words On A Web Page (Control F, Command F for Macs)
So you’re at the top of a webpage over 100 screens long.  Now here’s how to quickly find the name you’re looking for.  PC users can search for a key word within the site by holding down the Ctrl button on their keyboard and also pressing the letter F.  Mac users can do the same thing with Command F.  When the small search box appears, simply enter John or Smith or whatever single key term you’re looking for.

Each time you hit enter it will take you to where that term appears on the page.  Some browsers will even highlight your search terms so all you have to do is scroll down for the yellow or green highlights.

Note: the find function is a far cry from Google.  So do not enter more than one term at a time.  Also, the single will find the plural as long as there’s no spelling change. (Attorney will find attorneys, but not vice versa.  A search for fly will not find flies).

A good practice is to search for the least common part of the name.  For example: Say your searching for John Zanzibar and you find yourself at the top of a super huge webpage.  While on the page, first do a search for Zanzibar.  There’s probably only one.  But a search for John will probably take you to a lot of the Johns you weren’t looking for.



5.. Exclude Google Returns That Contain Unwanted Words
Now let’s talk about excluding the words we don’t need in a search.
Notice a search for John Firestone gives you over 12 million hits.

But Google has a way to exclude unwanted words by using the minus sign.  Here’s how it’s done.  In the Google search box, first enter the terms you want as usual.  Then, after your desired search terms, you’ll want to enter the terms you don’t want in your returns.  Simply press the space bar and add the minus sign along with all the words you don’t want.

For example: John Firestone -tires has 8 times fewer hits because now it’s not puling up Firestone tires.

John Firestone -tires -dr has even fewer hits. (691,000 instead of 12 million).  But before you exclude, take a look at your returns for words you know are irrelevant.  Open a few to see the pattern. Otherwise you may over exclude and miss something important.

Using Quotes Combined With The Minus Sign
Now watch what happens when you add quotes such as below.
“john firestone” -tires -dr

As you probably knew, you get a lot fewer returns.  This is because the word doctor is not relevant unless for some reason you believe your subject was a doctor or connected to doctors.

Previously I tried this search and to my surprise I got more hits instead of less.  So always pay attention to what happens when you add search terms or use the minus sign.  You should get fewer returns not more!



6.  Search For Recent Results In The Past Week, Month Or Year
Ever want recent news, a recent weather report or the most recent scoop on a person’s whereabouts?  With Google, you can pull up returns from the past year to even the past hour.  Just type in your search and press enter.  Then click on Search Tools up top and click on Anytime.

At this point, choose the past hour, the past day, the past week, past month or past year.  You can even use the Google calendar to customize your search to the last 2 years.

Now you can search the most recent how to links, the most recent phone numbers, the most recent developments in the law, the newest products on the market… (you get the gist.)


7. Search Within A Particular Website
Sometimes a website won’t let you search it, or it requires you sign up for it.  At other times  it’s so badly organized, you simply can’t find anything.  This is particularly true with government websites.  Even if they have a search engine, they’re often useless!

The good news is that you can still search many of these sites with Google’s search within site feature.

First, I enter the searches in quotes or no quotes, then a space, the word “site colon and the name of the website, no space after the colon. To see how it works, just click on the link below.  Note this only searches within the website.

“David Firestone”

The applications here are endless.  Now you can search almost any  site with the power of Google and all it’s search capabilities!  Use this to shop for products, gather evidence of product infringement, search for company announcements or look for people!





8. Search For Images (Google Reverse Image Search)
Google can also find when someone’s image appears in different places online.  This can be helpful in tracking where they’ve been or what they’ve done.  For more on this see Free Links That Detect Online Copying (  See also Reverse Image Search.

Related Links
Age-The First Stop In Any Background Check
People With Common Names-How To Background Them
Is The Crime Still Online?
Are They Married? Find Out Without Even Their Last Name!

Federal Prison Records

The great thing about federal prison records is that they’re all in one spot!  The Federal Bureau of Prison has an inmate database that goes all the way back to 1982.  And it’s all free.  For other federal criminal records, see how to set up a free PACER account at

How To Use The Federal Prison Database
Most people have seen the movie Wall Street.  So let’s click on the tab “Find  By Name” and enter in “Ivan Boesky” (this is the real Gordon Gecko the movie was made about)

As you can see, there are other fields for middle name, race, age and sex.  Often people are tempted to add in everything they know.  DON’T.   Ignore all fields except for the first and last name.  Then click Search.

As with any record search, less is more.  Data entry errors happen all the time.  For example: If you listed his sex as “male”, but the record maker accidentally checked “female”,  you’ll never see that record.  You put in too much information.

Leveraging The Results To Find Out Even More About Your Subject
The best databases give you a lot of extra information when you put in almost nothing.  Here you can see that with just a first and last name,  you now know his middle initial, his prison registration number, his current age, his race and a release date.

Any site that gives you both their middle name and age is valuable.  Often it’s the person’s middle name that helps you know you’ve Googled the right John Smith.  And his age is very useful when at the age lookup sites, where you want to further confirm that this is the right subject who lived at these addresses and has these relatives.

Sometimes Google will tell you why he was thrown in jail, not just when.  Don’t just Google their name.  Google their prison registration number.  This usually works best for the more famous crimes.   For example: See  how this is done with the infamous insider trader Eugene Plotkin.

See also links to their Age, DOB, Relatives & Where Else They’ve Lived and the  Other Records You Can Find With A Full Name.

Googling Federal Prison Records

1. John Smith indicted
2. John Smith federal convicted
3. John Smith “federal prison”  (One Term in quotes)
4. “John Smith” “federal prison” (Both terms in quotes)

5. “United States” v “Ivan Boesky” (Both terms in quotes)
6. John Smith charges federal
7. John Smith sentenced federal
8. John Smith sentenced federal Georgia
9. “John R Smith” sentenced federal Georgia
10. “John Richard Smith” sentenced federal Georgia

Hope you enjoyed this tour through federal prison.  May your stay be a short one!

Related Links
Arrests & Mugshots
Is The Crime Still Online?
Sex Offender Lookup
Age-The First Stop In Any Background Check
Google Like A Pro
(Quick Tips & Tricks)

Employers and Background Checks

2.0 Good Mugshot

No employer wants trouble.  But that doesn’t mean you can screen out any applicant with an arrest or conviction.  This blog will show you the federal laws to watch out for and which ones won’t apply if you do the background check yourself.  I will also point to links where you can read up on your state law requirements.

Keep in mind that you need to follow both federal and state law.  And there’s no uniformity between the states.  What’s fine in Arkansas could be illegal in Arizona.  So read your state’s law.

Federal Laws On Employment Background Checks
When it comes to the workplace, there are two federal laws to be mindful of when doing background checks.  The first is the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  The Fair Credit Reporting Act is generally understood to refer to credit reports.  But it also applies to Background Reports and Consumer Reports.  The latter is most often used by prospective landlords and contains information about a person’s credit characteristics, character,  general reputation, and eviction records.  It’s a catch all phrase that includes credit reports.

Under the FCRA, you must get a person’s consent before ordering either of these.  If you refuse to rent, hire or retain them, they must be given a copy of this report and the reasons for your decision.

The second set of laws are those from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  These are the laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to prevent discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, disability  and national origin.

When it comes to criminal records, the EEOC’s main concern is that there’s no discrimination based on color, race or national origin.  Previously they’ve noted “an employer who adopts a blanket policy of excluding all applicants with a criminal record could screen out disproportionate numbers of African Americans and Latinos, which could in turn constitute illegal discrimination.”

The good news is that Title VII does not apply to employers with less than 15 employees.  So small employers can ignore The EEOC Guidelines on Arrests and Convictions.

Counting how many employees you have is another matter.  Sometimes part-time employees don’t count.  Sometimes they do.   It all depends on how long they’ve worked for you.  For more, you’ll want to read up on How To Count The Number of Employees An Employer Has.

What If I Do My Own Background Checks?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act covers only certain types of background checks i.e. those you pay for or get through data brokers or through credit/criminal/consumer reports.

It does not cover you doing your own research using free public records.  However, the EEOC rules against employment discrimination (especially against race or color) restrict how you can use the info regardless of how you got it.  Key is if you have over 14 employees.  (Independent contractors don’t count as they’re not employees.)

State Laws On Background Checks
So you have only 5 employees and you’ll do your own background checks, all for free.  Great.  The Federal laws above can’t touch you.  You’re exempt from the FCRA because you’re not ordering a background or consumer report.  Likewise, the EEOC can’t touch you because Title VII applies only to larger employers.

So are you scott-free?  Not quite.  Your state may impose additional legal restrictions on employee background checks.  State laws vary dramatically and can offer additional safeguards to prevent discrimination.

Nor does it always depend on the size of your company or how you got the information.  Some states limit what you can ask, when you can ask it or what you can do with the information regardless of how it was obtained.

For example, under New York law,  it’s illegal for a company with 10 or more employees to exclude all applicants with a criminal conviction.  Rather the employer must show that hiring the applicant would pose an unreasonable risk to property or to public or individual safety, or the conviction bears a direct relationship to the job.

In Georgia,  the law is totally different.  There is no restriction on the size of the company.  And in some cases, first offense or parole records cannot be used negatively in the hiring process.

For more, see Background Check Laws & Regulations For Private Employers

Related Links
State Laws on Use of Arrests and Convictions in Employment
Free Criminal Records Including Arrest Records & Convictions
An Employment Law Tightrope: Criminal Background Checks




Arrests and Mugshots

Free Arrest Records & Mugshots
Anyone can have a nice talk.  But to know a person’s true character, you’ve got to see their walk. That’s why arrest records are important.  As everyone knows, an arrest is not a conviction.  Often charges are dropped or the person is acquitted in a court of law.  Sometimes it’s just about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But despite these flaws, arrest records serve a valuable purpose. They can be a powerful glimpse into someone’s crooked past. They can show a pattern of misconduct or a lifetime of bad judgment. They can also reveal if the person is still dangerous, and not one to date, hire or allow into your home.

For example: Imagine a person arrested five times for driving a get-away vehicle.  Or a lawyer arrested on a suspended driver’s license, when earlier he practiced law on a suspended bar license!  Obviously you can see the pattern here.  Excuses aside, the smell test shows something is fishy.  And the more recent the arrests, the more likely the person hasn’t changed.

So where do you find these arrest records?  And how do you get them for free?  The first place to look are the mugshot databases. These are the free websites that pull up a person’s arrest photos along with their name.

Specific Arrest & Mugshot Websites

How To Find Arrest Records at is a great website for looking up mugshots and arrest records.  The only drawback is you must select a state.  This means you won’t be allowed to do a nationwide search.  So it pays to search all the states where you believe your subject has lived.

For a video on how to search this site see Free Arrest Records & Mugshots.

Make sure you’re always using the search box that says Otherwise you could get lured onto a site that will try to charge you for what you can get here for free.  Then enter in a first and last name only.   Do not enter in a full name or middle initial.  That will just exclude mugshots where this information was never entered but should have been.

Note: If you search for someone who has no arrests, it won’t tell you so.  It simply shows you the latest arrests on file.  I tried this with “Graham Firestone”but it just pulled up men and women with different names.

About Arrest Findings
The best arrest sites will tell you what the person was charged for and when, and give you a mugshot accompanied by their full name or middle initial, and a year or date of birth.  That’s a lot of information to get when all you knew was their first and last name!  So be sure to copy and paste this into Word or Notepad.  You’ll need it later when it’s time to Google them.

Keep in mind that no arrest site is complete.  So if you don’t find the the name you’re looking for, check at least 2 other arrest/mugshot websites.

How To Find Arrest Records at is another great website that allows searches for mugshots and arrest records. The difference is that when you search here you don’t have to first select a state.

A national search is a powerful tool.  It means you don’t have to know anything about your subject except their first and last name.  With rare names, I recommend you do a nationwide arrest search.  A search throughout the US could pull up an arrest in a state you never knew  they lived in.  But with more common names, you will want to select a state so you don’t get thousands of false leads.

To demonstrate go to the top right and enter in the first and last name “jason moore” which yields 1297 results.

If an ad appears, make sure you click on “continue to” Otherwise you’ll find yourself on another site that won’t be as helpful.

To narrow your search, click on US Counties and then click on your state.  Let’s choose GA. for example, has 5 hits for “jason moore” in Gwinnett county, Georgia while had none.

This is why you need to search several of these databases.  Some will have records the others are missing.

How To Google For Arrest Records
You have two options here.  You can Google the individual’s name with synonyms for “arrest,” “indicted”, “charged,” or “charges.”  For example: “Graham B Firestone” arrested.  Or you can search for words that will pull up  other arrest-mugshot websites.  I recommend doing both.

How To Google For Other Mugshot Websites
Sometimes a mugshot database will go out of business or start charging for their services.  Just in case this happens, here’s how to find similar websites,

  1. First, Google a common name with the word mugshotExample: Harvey Moore Mugshot
  2. Look for the websites with names that suggest they are national databases. Ignore news stories or anything from a blog, TV station or local county jail.
  3. Save the good links in your favorites for future Reference. Often, the national databases will start with “arrest” or “mugshot” or “jail” in their domain name.

Ignore Sites Like These:…/chi-suburban-chicago-mug…

Look For Sites Like These: (Copy up to the .com or .org)

For Videos On How To Do Free Background Checks, See Sleuth For The Truth (YouTube)

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