Criminal Records

What’s the difference between STATE/LOCAL crimes and FEDERAL crimes?

As you know, there isn’t a single button you can push that will give you EVERY bit of criminal record information about an applicant/employee with 100% accuracy. Even if you send fingerprints to the FBI, they can only report criminal activity that has been submitted to them from the states and their counties, cities, towns, and municipalities.

Real life isn’t like it’s portrayed on TV police and crime shows. After all, the news is filled everyday with stories about violent criminals who were let go, for instance, at a traffic stop because the police officer did not have any information show up about the person’s active warrants.

It’s like anything else in this hi-tech world. A computer can only provide details that it can access or has stored. That’s why we offer several criminal record options you can order.

STATE and LOCAL crimes are those that are typically initiated and prosecuted on a state or local level. These could include everything from shoplifting and possession of small quantities of illegal drugs to domestic violence and murder. The offenders have broken established laws in the state, county, or city where they committed the offense. And often they have not crossed a state line to commit these offenses. If found guilty, they will be sentenced according to state and local guidelines and have a state, county, or local criminal record.

FEDERAL crimes are those that violate federal (U.S.) codes. Someone could have a federal criminal record without a state or local criminal record. Federal crimes include bank and postal fraud, civil rights and immigration violations, sexual harassment, money laundering, computer crimes, thefts of intellectual property, drug trafficking, terrorism, and others.

These offenders would most likely often be arrested by a federal agency such as the FBI, DEA, or other U.S. government entity. They would be prosecuted in the federal court system, and there is a good chance they would not have a state or local criminal record if you checked for it. Instead, their offenses would appear when a check of Federal courts is done. This is a separate type of criminal record check beyond those we complete in states, counties, and municipalities.

Of all the crimes that occur in the U.S. on the day you are reading this article, the vast majority are state and local crimes. But federal crimes are committed every day around the country, and by checking for these you add another valuable level of due diligence to your background checking protocols.