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How do I decide whether to run a county or statewide criminal search?

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Both of these searches involve criminal records containing similar misdemeanor and felony conviction information. While both products generally yield the same case information on a subject, your chances of finding criminal record information will be greater if you follow these simple guidelines:

1) If you are relatively certain your subject was tried for a criminal offense in a particular county, choose that jurisdiction for a criminal records search. This is where the actual court records are filed and are hand-checked by our qualified court records researchers.

2) If you are relatively confident your subject was tried for a criminal offense in a particular state, but are unsure of the precise county, or if the subject has moved within the state several times, try a statewide criminal search. This has a much wider geographical focus and will cover every county courthouse in the state. A statewide criminal search is more cost-effective than ordering several county criminal searches.

3) If you are fairly certain that your subject was convicted of a violation quite recently, then you should order a county criminal search. The biggest difference between statewide and county criminal records has to do with how quickly criminal records are made available. When a person is convicted of a criminal offense, the trial takes place at the county level. When a person has been convicted, this court record information is generally filed and made available at the county courthouse shortly thereafter. However, the county courthouse may not report this criminal record information to the statewide criminal repository for several days or weeks. Each state has different requirements regarding how quickly counties need to report court record information.

Please note: Not all states require their county courts to report to their statewide criminal repository. Therefore, statewide criminal record information may not be available in states such as California, Nevada, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

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