Should Employers Run Federal Criminal Background Checks?

A federal criminal background check typically includes an individual’s criminal history records maintained at the federal level by agencies such as the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration). These records may include information about criminal convictions, arrests, indictments, and all criminal charges brought against the individual in federal court.

During a federal criminal background check, a search may be done against several databases such as the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), which is a centralized database of criminal records that is maintained by the FBI. Additionally, a federal criminal background check may involve searching the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database, which is used to determine if a person is eligible to purchase firearms or explosives.

Federal criminal background checks are often conducted for certain employment positions or to obtain security clearances. Federal criminal background checks require permission from the applicant and are usually conducted with fingerprinting. The FBI and Department of Justice provide these records to authorized requestors.

It’s important to note that a federal criminal background check only includes criminal records from the federal system. It does not include state and local records, such as misdemeanor offenses or traffic violations. Therefore, it’s often recommended to conduct a comprehensive background check that incorporates both federal and state criminal records.

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