We have no excuse for ignorance because finding out if someone has a criminal history is very easy today. You can access most criminal convictions through national agencies and courts because they are public records.
On the downside, convictions are specific to the jurisdiction. You’ll only find records through the statewide database where the person committed the crime or the county courthouse. To get a full record, you might need to search in more than one place.
Use People Search Engines
Background check services like Checkpeople are a good start. This people search engine can locate a sufficient volume of data that you can cross-reference.
Of course, you have to know who you’re searching for. Your boyfriend’s name, any previous addresses, and locations where he was most likely to have been arrested are the bare minimum of data required. If your boyfriend has lived near county lines or moved often, the locations could include surrounding counties.
The more information you have available to look up, the better. You should have his date and place of birth, too, because the results you get will be more accurate. This is especially important if his name is common.
Browse Online Court Records
While not all courts offer online access, each county and state maintains a database of crimes committed on its territory. Start by checking if the court system in the county and state where a violation may have been committed maintains a rap sheet online database. Some states let you search the crime database by name.
Go to the Physical Location
You might need to visit the sheriff’s department or court in person if there is no online database. Provide your partner’s name and ask if you can search the files for conviction records. You will possibly get a list of pending charges, warrants, arrests, or convictions unless he committed a crime as a minor.
If the court has sealed his record, you won’t get any of the information in that particular record. This might be the case for minor offenses, for which he completed his sentence and committed no further offenses within a certain time frame.
National Sex Offender Registry
You could limit your search to the Sex Offender Registry if you’re only concerned about major problems. You could also search the criminal records in your state. Most states offer multiple searches, from fugitives to sex offenders and all other criminal records that are public.
On Wikipedia, you’ll find a list of every state with links to the respective websites. A simple Google search will also lead to such a list. With some effort, you can gather lots of information very fast.
Know What You’re Doing
As you check into your boyfriend’s past – as you should if you’re having doubts – you must be fully aware of what you’re doing. Be prepared to find negative information and know that this is going to impact your relationship.
More importantly, you might miss the details while looking for information about someone without their consent. This is either because you’re just not looking for them or they’re not available.
Let’s say you find that your boyfriend is a registered type 3 sex offender. This can mean two very different things. He could have been dating a 16-year-old in high school when he was 18, and a police officer caught him and the girl in the act. Scenario 2: He could be a recidivist sex offender who got a lower charge because he accepted a plea bargain.
Favorite films, education, a poor credit rating, and an address can all create a specific image of a person in your mind, but not necessarily an accurate or even a realistic one. Don’t jump to conclusions. If you come across anything concerning, it may be a good idea to ask him about it.
Do You Need Professional Help?
A private eye will give you the most accurate results, but this is an expensive option. However, it is a sure way to ease your concerns because an experienced investigator will not limit his efforts to looking at conviction records. He will also observe your boyfriend’s behavior for criminal inclinations and check his associates.