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Wants and Warrants

National Wants and Warrants Search
A National Wants and Warrants Search is a search for outstanding warrants. The warrants included are generally those issued for extraditable offenses. Law Enforcement agencies are actively seeking these individuals.

A National Wants and Warrants Search is sometimes erroneously confused with a FBI Background Check or a NCIC Database Search. An FBI Background Check is a background check conducted by the FBI and is not public record. The NCIC database is also not a matter of public record and is only available to Law Enforcement agencies. The confusion between a NCIC database search and a National Wants and Warrants Search sometimes leads to the myth that any National Wants and Warrants Search is illegal.
Why Do A National Wants and Warrants Search
Employers have a moral and legal obligation to provide a safe work environment. Knowing whether a potential employee has an outstanding warrant or a serious criminal record allows the employer to determine if an applicant is appropriate for the job and work environment. Checking if an individual is attempting to escape the law or has an outstanding warrant also provides an important element for defense against negligent hiring claims.

What are the Sources for a National Wants and Warrants Search?
Some police agencies (who have legal access to the NCIC database) routinely search the NCIC database when running local criminal record checks. In the reports provided to us by these police departments, any jurisdictions with posted warrants for the individual being backgrounded are legally noted. We run criminal record searches in the jurisdictions with posted warrants to determine if reportable criminal records actually exist. We then provide our clients with any reportable information obtained from these subsequent criminal record searches. See NCIC for more information about the NCIC.

What are the Weaknesses of a National Wants and Warrants Search?
There are more than 7,000 significant courts in the United States that maintain criminal records. Because an outstanding warrant is not a conviction or criminal history, a "hit" on a National Wants and Warrants Search does not necessarily mean that an applicant is a criminal, and a "clear" result does not ensure that an applicant does not have a criminal record. Like most criminal record databases, this database is not always current, accurate, or complete.

Knowing if an individual has an outstanding warrant is an important element of a Comprehensive Background Check, but should never be viewed as a complete criminal background check.

How Long Does a National Wants and Warrants Search Take?
National Wants and Warrants results are normally available for viewing in one to two business days from the order date. When "hits" occur, the local jurisdictions are checked. This extends the turnaround time for final results.

Can I See a Sample National Wants and Warrants Search Report?
Yes, click Sample National Wants and Warrants Search.

What is Our Recommendation for a National Wants and Warrants Search?
Criminal record checks are an essential part of any Comprehensive Background Check. In addition to County Criminal Record Checks, we recommend a National Wants and Warrants Search for all applicants. This search allows employers to better protect themselves from individuals who may be attempting to escape the law or trying to hide criminal records.

Note: We only run a National Wants and Warrants Search as part of a complete background check and not as a stand-alone search.

Note: Federal, state and local laws and regulations are rapidly evolving regarding employer inquiries into and use of applicant/employee criminal records. See Background Check Laws and Regulations and Employment Background Check Blog. It is the employer's responsibility to stay current with changing legal requirements. A Matter of Fact is not a law firm and cannot provide legal advice. It is important that employers work with counsel to develop an employment screening program specific to their needs. Employers should obtain legal advice concerning their legal responsibilities, and to ensure that background check documents, policies and procedures are in compliance with applicable local, state and federal laws and regulations. For more see Legal Disclaimer.

What Other Criminal History Searches Are Available?
Additional criminal record searches available to help meet employer and job requirements include:
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