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Delaware Public Records

A small state located in the northeastern region of the United States, Delaware is the sixth most densely populated of the U.S. and is divided into just three counties.  Also known as the first state in the Union, Delaware didn’t have a public records law on the books until 1977.

Delaware Public Records Laws

The state of Delaware’s public records are ruled by its “Freedom of Information Act” 29 Del. C. § 10001 et seq., which is only similar in name to its Federal counterpart.   The state statute outlines who can obtain public records, what is included and what is not.

The act itself states that only citizens of the state of Delaware can request records, but the courts have broadened this through case law to extend that right to citizens of other states.  The purpose of the request does not need to be stated and the records obtained may be used for any purpose.  Records of any public entity may be requested, including the executive branch, General Assembly, and judicial bodies.

Records that are excluded under the act include those from:

  • Caucuses of the general assembly
  • Delaware University system
  • medical records
  • investigatory records
  • collective bargaining agreements
  • pending litigation records
  • security-related matters

Delaware Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks

 

Background checks in Delaware are administered by the Delaware State Police, State Bureau of Identification (SBI).   The SBI provides certified criminal history reports to requestors through fingerprint cards only, not name searches.  Therefore, no one can request a background check on you without your knowledge or consent in this state.  A Federal background check can be included at an additional cost and reports take 2-4 weeks to be returned.

Delaware Jail and Inmate Records

The Delaware state Department of Corrections website has information and links to help you locate offenders and a great deal of information for victims and advocates.  If you are looking for inmate records, you can use their partner site, Vinelink.com, that will allow you to determine where someone is being housed, their projected release date, and other pertinent information about their charges.  You will need to know the persons Offender ID or their First Name and Last Name to do a search.


Delaware Court Records

The Delaware court system is fairly compact as there are only three counties in the state.  However, the types of records that you wish to gain access to will determine where you’ll need to go.  The administrator of the courts is the place to start.  If the case is a civil case, you can access docket information and some records online through their CourtConnect. Any other sort of case, you can request transcripts from the particular court.


Delaware Vital Records

Vital records in Delaware, such as birth, death, and marriage certificates are held by the state Office of Vital Statistics.  Divorce records are not.  Divorce records are always handled by the county in which the final dissolution of marriage took place.

Birth Certificates:  Once a birth record is 72 years old, it becomes public record in Delaware.  Any birth record from 1942 or before must be researched at the Delaware Public Archives.  Records from 1943 forward can be requested from the Office of Vital Statistics.  If the certificate is not public record due to age, you must be one of the parties listed on the birth certificate, a spouse, a legal guardian, or an authorized representative to make a request.

Death Certificates: Once a death record is 40 years old, it becomes public record in Delaware.  Any death record from 1974 or before must be researched at the Delaware Public Archives.  Records from 1975 forward can be requested from the Office of Vital Statistics.  If the certificate is not public record due to age, you must be a current spouse, child, parent, legal guardian, authorized representative, or genealogy researcher to make the request.

Marriage Records: Marriage certificates should be requested from one of two sources depending on the date of the marriage.  If married in 1974 or before, make your request to the Delaware Public Archives.  If 1975 to present, you can make your request to the Office of Vital Statistics.  To obtain the records, you will need to be a party on the certificate or a child, parent, legal guardian, authorized agent, or genealogy researcher.

Divorce Records:  Divorce Records are only available from the county in which the divorce took place.  Here are the three different counties in Delaware and their information to make a request.

Vermont Public Records

Vermont is a state in the northeastern U.S. that is over 75% forest and known for being home to more than 100 historic covered bridges.  A major producer of maple syrup and popular winter destination, Vermont is also home to over half a million residents who may wish to access public records in some form or another.

Vermont Public Records Laws

Vermont public records were actually governed by Common Law for many years, until 1975 when the state enacted its first public records law, Vermont Access to Public Records Act Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 1, §§ 315-320,  in the wake of the Watergate scandal.  While “any person” may request public records in Vermont and they do not have to specify the reason for the request, the state is known for having a restrictive policy because of the number of exemptions that they list, over 200 in all.  The Act states that requests do apply to records from all public agencies, the executive branch, and legislative bodies.  Some, but not all, of the exclusions include:

  •  The courts (these may be covered by the court’s own rules for disclosure of records)
  • Private entities that receive public funds
  • Investigatory records
  • Tax returns
  • Student records
  • Hazardous waste information
  • Exam materials
  • Trade secrets
  • Health records
  • Library records

Vermont Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks

Background checks in the state of Vermont are administered by the Vermont Crime Information Center (VCIC), a division of the Department of Public Safety.   They offer several different types of record checks, depending on the purpose.

  • Vermont Conviction Report (VCCRIS) – This is a paid (instant) online criminal conviction search that anyone can run on anyone else, provided they have a name and date of birth.
  • Vermont Records Check – This is a certified records check that is used by licensing agencies, employers, landlords, and courts.
  • National Records Check – A national criminal records check, often required by law for certain purposes, which is run by schools or for adoptions.

Vermont Jail and Inmate Records

The Vermont Department of Corrections is the place to get information on current offenders, victim services, and other information for families connected to crimes in the state.  Vermont uses a service called JailTracker to search for offenders and it will provide you will a full list of all of the people currently incarcerate in Vermont.  You will be able to sort and search the list, which provides full name, booking date, Offender #, age, and possible release date.



Vermont Court Records

If you want court records in the state of Vermont, you will need to determine the type of case and its final dissolution.  Information on all of Vermont’s courts can be found through its administrator of the courts.  For up-to-date calendar information on cases in Vermont’s criminal, family, and civil division, you can sign up for Vermont Courts Online.  You can also get case summaries for some cases through this website.  Otherwise, you have the option to order transcribed copies of any case files at a cost per page.

Vermont Vital Records

Unlike many other states, Vermont began recording vital records in the mid-1800s.  Since 1857, towns have been recording births, deaths, and marriages.  Since 1896, the responsibility for keeping the records has fallen to the state Department of Health.  However, this department only keeps current records for five years before moving them to the Vermont State Archives and Records Administration (VSARA).   You can request any of these certificates online and do not have to be an interested party to do so.

Birth Certificates: For births that occurred before 2011, you will need to make your request through VSARA.  For births after 2011, make your request through the Department of Health.

Death Certificates: Death certificates are kept at the Department of Health for five years, after which time records are sent to the State Archives.  Depending on the date of death, you will need to go to one of these two agencies to make your request.

Marriage Certificates:  When a marriage occurs in Vermont, the town clerk sends the marriage certificate to the state Department of Health for filing.  Copies of marriage certificates, and prior civil unions, that occurred after 2011 should be obtained at the Department of Health.  Those with earlier dates will wish to go to the State Archives to request records.

Divorce Certificates: When a divorce or dissolution occurs in Vermont, it is filed with the court, who then sends the final decree to the Department of Health for filing. Again, if the divorce occurred after 2011, the certificate should be requested from the Department of Health.  If it was earlier, you’ll want to visit the State Archives with your request.

Maine Public Records

Maine Public Records

 

The most northern state on America’s east coast, Maine is located in the New England region and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Canada to the north.  Known for its rocky coastline and forested interior, the state is only the 41st most populous in the U.S., with 1.3 million residents.   Maine has a public records law that keep its government records open for inspection.

Maine Public Records Laws

Maine’s public records law is referred to as the “Freedom of Access Act” and was passed in 1959.   Found in 1 M.R.S.A. § 408 – 521 of its state Code, the law allows “every person” to access public records, and they do not have to indicate why they are requesting them or their intended use.  However, if records being requested are exempt, stating a reason (such as research-oriented) could grant greater access to records.

The Act states that more weight is given to what the records cover rather than who produced them when it comes to whether they are open to the public or not.  Regardless, any record received or produced in connection with public business is considered to be open, and this includes the executive and legislative branches.  The courts are not included, however, as they have their own disclosure rules.  Other exemptions include:

  • Medical records
  • Juvenile records
  • Personal information
  • Security-related records
  • Records mandated sealed by statute

Records from many public agencies can be searched and viewed through the state’s online DataShare website.


Maine Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks

 

Background checks in Maine are administered by the Maine State Police, State Bureau of Identification.   Their system, called InforME, produces criminal records reports for Maine only and doesn’t include any other states.  Either a name-based or a fingerprint-based check can be ordered, and a name-based report can be requested by anyone, with or without a consent.  Reports returned list both adult and juvenile criminal histories, although it is highly cautioned that name-based reports can be inaccurate due to cases of mistaken identity.


Maine Jail and Inmate Records

 

To find out information on inmates, Maine correctional facilities, or services for victims and their families, visit the Maine Department of Corrections.  The state has its own page where you can search for inmate records to determine such information as the facility that the offender is housed in, case disposition, and anticipated release date.  To do a search, it is helpful to know as much information as possible about the inmate such as their MDOC Number, First Name, Last Name, Age, Weight, Height, Eye Color, Hair Color, and Race.   The more information that you can put into the system, the narrower will be your search.

Maine Court Records

Any information about Maine’s judicial system can be found through its administrator of the courts website.  The only Maine court records that you can search online are opinions and orders from the state Supreme Court.  In order to search records of any other cases, including District and Superior courts, you will need to fill out the Request for Records Search form.



Maine Vital Records

Vital records in the state of Maine are kept by the Division of Public Health Systems and records date back to 1892.  Records for birth, death, marriage and divorce can be obtained from this office in several ways:

  1. Walk-in request to the Office of Vital Records at 220 Capitol Street, Augusta, Maine
  2. Written request through the mail with payment by check or money order.
  3. Request through a third-party company that the state has partnered with for online requests, VitalCheck, where you can place your order and pay online.

Both certified and non-certified copies of any of these certificates can be ordered from the state of Maine.  Only the person named on the certificate, immediate family members, legal representatives, or registered genealogists can order these items.

Nevada Public Records

Nevada Public Records Laws

Nevada law states that all public books and records of any government entity must be made available to the public, unless they have been specifically and legally declared as confidential. Public records are available to anyone who asks for them, and they do not need to present identification or state their purpose for using the record for the most part. However, there are some limitations on access to certain records that require the individual requesting them to provide proof they are a journalist or that they are carrying out a court order, such as requests for identifying information regarding someone who is using a recreational facility.

The law specifies that records must be available during office hours, and that they may be copied. A fee equal to the actual cost of copying the record may be charged. Government agencies have five business days to respond to a public records request. If they deny the request, they must inform the requester as to the legal basis for refusing the request. The burden of proof of confidentiality is on the government.

Nevada Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks

The General Services Division of the Nevada Department of Public Safety handles official state background checks. Fingerprints are stored at the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History.

Only conviction records are available to the general public without any sort of credentials or waiver. Complete criminal records can only be released to the subject of the record. The only third parties that may request criminal records are law enforcement agencies, authorized state agencies and approved employers who have a signed waiver from the subject.

Nevada Jail and Inmate Records

Information on current inmates that is available to the general public is limited to the inmate’s name, gender, ethnicity, age, birth date, known aliases, height, weight, skin color, hair color, eye color, current place of incarceration, and whether they have previously been convicted of any felonies.

Conviction and sentencing information is restricted to the inmate and certain approved third parties. Information that may be released to family members varies by facility. The family member must contact the facility where the inmate is incarcerated to determine what information can be released to them. The best points of contact to start out with at most facilities are the Caseworker III or the Associate Warden.

In all cases, parties can look up information they are authorized to receive through the Inmate Search at the Nevada Department of Corrections website. The name or identification number of the inmate is needed to run a search. Information is only available for those currently serving a sentence in a facility overseen by NDOC.

Nevada Court Records

The individual counties of Nevada maintain the records for courts within their jurisdiction.

The Clark County (Las Vegas) Clerk of the Court maintains records from the Eight Judicial District Court from 1909 to the present. Records prior to 1909 are obtained from the administrator of the courts of Lincoln County. Most records from 1990 onward can be searched for and viewed online. Requests for records prior to 1990 must be submitted in person or by mail at the Regional Justice Center in downtown Las Vegas.

The Washoe County (Reno and Carson City) Second Judicial District Court maintains a searchable online database of case files. Users can search by case number, case description and case type.

Records for the Fourth Judicial Court can be obtained in person at the Elko County Clerk’s Office in Elko. Records for the Sixth Judicial Court can be obtained at the Humboldt County Clerk’s Office in Winnemucca.

Nevada Vital Records

The Office of Vital Records of the Nevada State Health Division in Carson City handles requests for birth certificates and death certificates issued after July 1911. Marriage licenses, divorce records and any records issued before July 1911 must be obtained from the county where they were originally issued.

The Complete Guide to Tenant Screening

Every Landlord has faced the question before: How do you get a good quality tenant to lease your rental?

You want to make sure that your prospective renter can do three things really well:

  1. Pay the rent on time.
  2. Keep the apartment in good condition
  3. Not disturb other tenants or cause trouble.

Enter the tenant screening process. While well known and well used, it’s actually quite misunderstood.

In this guide, I’m going to cover a few important issues. If you follow them well, you have an incredibly high chance of getting high quality tenants without much fuss.

We’ll cover:

  1.  What is tenant screening and How does it work?
  2. What makes a great tenant?
  3. How do you find a good tenant?
  4. How Do Fair Housing Laws Affect Tenant Screening and Apartment Marketing?
  5. How to Pre-Screen Tenants with your Rental Application
  6. What You Must Put On Your Rental Application
  7. How to Run a Background Check and Credit Report on Your Tenant
  8. Tenant Employment Verification to Verify Income
  9. How to Verify Previous Rentals with a Landlord Verification
  10. Running a Background Check on a Co-signer or Coapplicant
  11. The Adverse Action Letter: Denying a Tenant Application

What is Tenant Screening?

Tenant screening means finding out everything there is to know about your potential tenants, as it affects their ability to pay and meet the requirements of their lease. In other words, it’s a deep dive into who your tenants are and what you can learn from their past actions.

Tenant screening works by taking all of the important qualities you want from a tenant (we’ll get to that in a second), and making sure they exist. It involves checking their criminal and credit history, talking to landlords and employers, and making sure they have the money to pay the rent for the next year.

When you think about it, you’re giving someone access to a product (your rental) over a year or longer, so you need to make absolutely sure that your renter can handle it. Thinking about it like a much smaller version of mortgage lending will help you evaluate risk and make the right decision when it comes to choosing a tenant.

What are good qualities for tenants to have?

The most important thing you look for in a tenant is their ability to pay the rent, on time, every time.

All of the qualities below influence that:

  1. Ability to pay You need to establish the tenant’s ability to pay the rent. A good rule of thumb is that the tenant must make at least 3 times the rent in monthly income. Settling for less may jeopardize your ability to collect rent from a tenant.
  2. Consistently pay on time The tenant needs to show that not only can they pay the rent, they will. This is usually established by looking at credit reports and talking to previous landlords.
  3. Long term Income Will the tenant always have a job over the length of their lease? This is not 100% easy to predict, but a history of stable work history over the last few years with consistent income and paychecks is a good sign.

How to Market and Find a Great Tenant

Apartment marketing is an art unto itself, and is probably deserving of another post altogether. But to put it briefly, there are plenty of great tenants out there. When you first post your ad, make sure your screening requirements are clearly listed in the ad.

Make sure you are honest about what your apartment is, and the type of tenants it can support in terms of income and employment.

Different internet sites drive different types of tenants. Make sure to test ads both on Craigslist AND other sites like Facebook.

 Fair Housing Laws,  Tenant Screening and you

You can screen people based on some information and details but not on others. For example, it’s fine to disallow a prospective tenant because of a poor credit history or a violent criminal past. What’s not ok, and is illegal, is discrimination against someone in what’s called a “protected class”.

The Fair Housing Act make it illegal to discriminate based upon “race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap”. While that seems obvious, it means you can’t write things like “No Kids” or “Great Hispanic Neighborhood” in your ad.

When talking to prospective tenants, you can’t ask them about their family or mention what a wonderful catholic neighborhood your apartment is in.

To reiterate – you can deny someone rent based on their criminal background, a past eviction, or all sorts of monetary criteria. But you can’t violate the basics of the fair housing laws.

How a Rental Application will Get You Great Tenants

The rental application is actually a core process of your tenant screening. Most tenants hate applying, because they’re incredibly long and take a good 15-20 minutes to fill at least. For the Landlord or Property Manager, however, the leasing application is the second line of defense after making your requirements clear in your marketing.

Simply put, the property application and leasing form allows you to gather all the information you need, and to catch tenants in lies. Many prospective tenants who don’t meet your requirements, will balk at paying and filling out the application. Other tenants, who don’t want to put the effort in to filling out the application, may not put the effort into paying the rent on time, either.

In short, the rental application is a great way to weed out those who wouldn’t make it to the final stage anyway, while saving you a ton of time and money.

What Should Go  On Your Rental Application

The Rental Application should have a few important sections:

  1. Identity Verification: Here you ask for the Applicant’s Name, Date of Birth, Social Security Number, Driver’s License, Current Address and phone and email.
  2. Employment and Income: Current and previous employers going back 5 years. Salary information and any other claimed income.
  3. Rental History: Names, Addresses, Phone Numbers of Previous Landlords going back 5 years.
  4. Criminal, Eviction and Bankruptcy questions: Asking the prospective tenant if any of these issues have affected them makes things much simpler off the bat.
  5. Consent form: You must have a consent form, separate from any other form, in order to run credit, background and landlord screening.

How to Run a Background Check and Credit Report on Your Tenant

Once you have your tenant’s application, and a separate signed consent form, it’s time to run the actual background check and check the credit report. We’ll add more info here about logging into your background check system and pulling credit reports.

Make sure your tenants know that the credit report for renting will be a hard pull, so they’re not surprised when it shows up on their systems.

Verifying your Tenant’s Income and their Employment

Assuming the background check came back clear [no felonies, evictions, reasonable credit score and information], it’s time to make sure they’re telling the truth about how much money they make and who they work for.

Verifying income is tougher then most landlords consider. W-2s and Income statements can be easily faked.  Most Landlords will be ok with pay stubs anyway, but there are a number of more secure ways to verify income:

1. File IRS Form 4506-t and get access to the previous years W2, 1099 or 1040 Form

2. Do an online screen share with your tenant to view their income from their bank account.

3. Use a background check service to authenticate employment verification for your tenants.

The next step is via employment. You might do this via a service like The Work Number, or by simply calling the reference. When calling the reference, google the phone number first to make sure it really belongs to the company. Call the company main line and ask to speak to the person listed as a reference. Unscrupulous tenants have been known to provide cell phone numbers of friends and family, instead of a bad reference from a boss.

Verifying Previous Landlords

Call previous landlords to find out how the tenants acted. Did they pay rent on time? Were they evicted? Did they cause trouble?

Before calling the landlord, verify with the county assessor that the name given is the owner of the property. Sometimes it may be a property manager or real estate agent, but you need to check these things. Tenants can sometimes provide the most bizarre and inaccurate information to try and trick you.

Should you run a background check on a co-signer?

This is the simplest answer: anyone who is going to be on the hook for rental payments, needs to have their background screened and verified.

The Denial Letter

If you decide not to accept a tenant, you must send them an Adverse Action letter telling them why, and notifying them of the name of the Consumer Reporting Agency who created the report.

 

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Utah

 

Utah public records law is governed by the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA). The law grants the public access to copies of all government records that are not determined to be invasive of an individual’s privacy, contain trade secrets or contain information that could impair governmental procurement proceedings.

Members of the general public provide a written request to the government agency in control of the document, and the agency in question then has 10 business days to either provide the record or provide written notice of why the request is denied or will take longer to fulfill. Requesters with media credentials are guaranteed the same response within five business days.

The law includes private entities that are created or funded by a public entity, all public associations, and public universities with the exception of unpublished research.

Fees may be charged for the research, collection and copying of records. These fees cannot exceed the hourly pay of the lowest-paid staff member who can complete the request, and there is no charge for requests that take less than 15 minutes to fulfill.

Utah Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks

The Bureau of Criminal Identification of the Utah Department of Public Safety is responsible for official state background checks. Criminal records are obtained from their office in Salt Lake City. Individuals can obtain their own criminal record in person at this office with a government-issued picture ID and by paying a fee of $15. Records can also be obtained through the mail from this office by filling out the Criminal History Record Application. If done this way, applicants must visit their local law enforcement agency and have a set of fingerprints made to enclose with the mailed application along with the application fee of $15.

Criminal records can only be directly issued to the subject of the record. The subject can voluntarily have their criminal record sent to a third party by filling out a release form and submitting it with their application.

Arrest record information available to the general public in Utah is limited to the arrest photo, name, age, physical description, city or town of residence, charges, arraignment dates and bond amounts of the person in question.

Utah Jail and Inmate Records

Some of the counties, such as Salt Lake County and Utah County, have an online search tool maintained by the sherrif’s department that allows members of the general public to look up basic information about current inmates in that county. These search tools require the name of the inmate, and the date of arrest can also be used. Information available to anyone includes a mugshot, the arresting agency and booking date, the inmate’s year of birth and nationality, basic physical description details, and the nature of charges with any applicable bail amount.

The Utah Department of Corrections maintains a similar online search tool for inmates in state prisons. The inmate’s first and last name must be known, or alternately their offender number can be used.

Utah Court Records

Public court records can be obtained centrally from the Utah Courts. Private court records are restricted to the subjects of the record and their attorney.

The Utah State Archives holds court records that are more than 50 years old. These records are considered archived, and transcripts are very rarely kept. Records of proceedings are generally open to the public, but some cases are sealed by the court and require a court order to access.

Utah Vital Records

Birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates are handled by the Utah Office of Vital Records and Statistics. Birth and death certificates are available dating back to 1905 and can be ordered in person, by mail or online through Vitalchek. This office can only provide marriage and divorce certificates from 1978 to 2010. Marriage records from 2011 onward must be obtained from the county where the marriage took place.

Vital records can only be obtained by the subject or their spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent or grandchild.

The above information is for running general, free searches in Utah. If you want to hire someone in Utah and then run a background check on them, different laws will apply. Read below to understand more.

Running Employment Background Checks in Utah

Utah is a state that is known for its efficiency in both business and government. So when it was discovered that a state rule that it had for pre-employment inquiry on the part of employers was now precisely like federal law, the state went in and repealed the specific rule, saving taxpayers some money.

The upshot for Utah employers is that the state guidelines for employment background checks closely mirror those of the Federal government through its various agencies. Here are some relevant details for running employment screening while hiring in Utah.

Utah requirements for different professions:

Like other states, Utah has recognized that certain professions require a great deal more scrutiny during the hiring process than others. Therefore, teachers and employees that work closely with children normally have a criminal history background check done on them by their prospective employer. Utah state law requires that a background check be done on all potential hires for Charter schools and the criminal background check is just a part of this. The details of the process are largely left up to the individual school district, but some of them do provide a process within the hiring process for potential hires to actually explain convictions or arrests that may be mistakenly show up on the candidate’s record.

Another set of job types where employers are clear to run criminal checks on their workers has to do with applicants that will be working in jobs with “financial, national security, or statutory authority” responsibilities.

Beyond those two types of roles, the state of Utah explicitly mentions that employers will not be able to run criminal background checks directly. The applicants themselves must ask for a criminal background check from the appropriate state department and then submit the results to the employer.

For truck drivers and delivery personnel, it is common for employers to run a driving record report that will verify that the applicant has a valid license. If there are infractions that appear on the applicant’s record, those infractions can be an acceptable reason for companies to disqualify that individual from further employment consideration.

General requirements for background checks in Utah:

Utah appears to spend much of its regulatory energy remaining in line with federal statutes and guidelines regarding the hiring process. Because of this, hiring in Utah is not much different than hiring in other states that are very federal government-centric in their policies.

The state does have a very clear set of guidelines that cover how criminal background checks can proceed for many employers that ask their employees to get a copy of their own criminal background. Employers need to ask employees to sign a waiver and then provide them with information that tells them specifically what information will be used and how it will be used in the hiring process. The idea is to make the process transparent so that both parties understand the importance of following the guidelines.

Drug testing in Utah is acceptable as long as the testing relates to the potential work to be performed. In practice, this covers almost every type of job. A failed drug test is viewed as being an adequate reason not to offer employment.

Similarly, driving records checks can be done, although the state requires that you get permission in writing from the applicant to do so.

For employment background checks that are non-criminal, there are currently no laws or statutes that differ from federal guidelines.

What can be shown on a background check in Utah:

For companies that run a criminal background check or have their applicants submit one, they will receive the same personal information about their employee that they used on their application. They will also see a record of convictions and court dispositions.

Driving record reports will show either 3 or 7 years of the applicant’s driving history with a history of infractions and tickets that have not been expunged from the record.

For non-criminal background checks, many companies often rely on third party businesses that specialize in knowing what is legal to state about someone and what isn’t. By using a third party vendor that already has the system worked out, a company can reduce its liability and learn about what types of information are legal to use at the same time.

Credit reports in UT for background checks:

Credit checks can be a useful type of background check if the job that you are hiring for requires workers to manage money, information, or financial data. Their use does not always correlate with worker performance- but as a Utah retailer recently found out, not running one for a current employee cost them millions of dollars as that person was able to create a system where they received additional money from the company’s suppliers- and then turned around and used it to pay off their personal gambling debts.

Utah currently follows the federal guidelines for credit screening as a part of the employment process. Applicants need to be informed and their information should be made available to them upon request.

Oregon

Oregon Public Records Laws

Oregon law states that all records created by a public body that contain information relating to the conduct of public business are considered to be public records. Most public records are available to the general public, with the exception of confidential communications between government officials and records of active criminal investigations.

Government agencies and officials can claim that certain records are exempt from disclosure to the public if they can demonstrate that the need for confidentiality is greater than the public interest. Government agencies who reject a request for a record must explain in writing why the request was denied, and the requester has the right to appeal to the Oregon Attorney General free of charge. If an elected official denies the request, it must be appealed by filing a lawsuit in Circuit Court.

Agencies are allowed to charge fees to cover the costs of fulfilling the request, but requesters can also challenge the fee on the basis of public interest. If the fee exceeds $25, the government agency must first provide an estimate.

Oregon Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks

Official state background checks are handled by the Public Records Unit of the Oregon State Police.

A full criminal history can only be released to the subject of the record upon positive fingerprint identification. Applicants can either be fingerprinted in person at the CJIS Division of the Oregon State Police in Salem, or they can do their own fingerprints using card FD528. The fingerprints must be correctly rolled according to the instructions on the card to be accepted. They can then be mailed (along with a check for $33) to the CJIS Division of the Oregon State Police in Portland (not the Salem office) along with a completed “Copy of Own Record Request Form.”

The only third party that can obtain a complete criminal history is a criminal justice or law enforcement agency. Some limited information is available to the general public for arrests and convictions that are less than one year old on the date of the request. Any third party can learn the date of arrest, nature of the offense, arresting agency, court of origin and sentence imposed. If the information is to be used for employment purposes, however, the potential employer must notify the subject in writing that they are requesting it. Requests can be made in writing to the Oregon State Police in Portland for a $10 fee.

Oregon Jail and Inmate Records

The Oregon Offender Search is available online for use by any member of the general public. These records include a mugshot, the inmate’s name, date of birth, height, weight, eye and hair color, gender and race. Their current incarceration status and location are also listed as well as sentencing information and their projected release date.

Some counties list their full roster of current inmates online along with their mugshots, name, age, scheduled release date, list of charges and sentencing status.

Oregon Court Records

The Oregon Municipal Clerk of Court maintains computerized records of civil, criminal and traffic cases that can be searched online. This database contains the full records of the 36 circuit courts in the state.

The circuit court in each county also maintains a free OJIN public access terminal that allows users to look up case information. Court staff may also be able to help in looking up records.

Oregon Vital Records

The Center for Health Statistics issues certified records of births, deaths, marraige, domestic partnerships and divorces. Birth and death records are available from 1903, marraige records are available from 1906 and divorce certificates are available from 1926. Older records may be available from their county of origin.

Records can be ordered over the Internet at Vitalchek, by telephone, by mail or in person at 800 NE Oregon Street in Portland. The lowest fees are for requests by regular mail.

 

Are You Looking for Employment Background Checks in Oregon?

The above information was a general overview of public records in Oregon. If you’re looking to run background checks for employment purposes in OR, there’s more info that you’ll need to know.

In addition to abiding by federal laws such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Oregon state laws further regulate what information employers can access during the employment screening process and how they can use that information.

Criminal History Checks in Oregon

The process for requesting a criminal background check and what information can be disclosed is governed by ORS 181.560.

In order to access information on an applicant’s criminal history, employers in Oregon must notify the applicant. When requesting that information from the state police, they must provide the time and location that the applicant was notified.

State police notify the subject of any criminal background check prior to providing that information to the requesting party. This notification contains a copy of all information that will provided to the potential employer, information on civil rights law relating to the employer’s use of the information contained in the report, and a procedure for challenging anything in the report that the applicant believes is inaccurate.

Background check results are provided to employers no sooner than 14 days after the subject of the check has been notified. Most criminal background checks are based on a name search. Some types of positions (see below) require fingerprint searches for increased accuracy.

Prior convictions, excluding juvenile convictions that have been expunged, and arrests within the last year for charges with no record of acquittal or dismissal appear on the report, and can include the following details:

• Date of arrest
• Offense
• Arresting agency
• Court of origin
• Sentence, including parole date and revocation of parole, if applicable

Information on arrests that did not result in a conviction does not appear, though pending arrests may.

Oregon law does not distinguish between misdemeanors and felonies for the purposes of criminal history reporting and there is no time restriction on the convictions that can appear on the report.

Using Criminal History as Grounds for Disqualification in OR

Criminal convictions alone are not sufficient grounds for denying an applicant employment in Oregon. Specific circumstances must be taken into account, including:

• Nature of the offense
• How long ago the applicant was convicted
• The nature of the job

More importantly, employers must consider the implications of the conviction on the position for which the applicant is being considered, taking into account such factors as the position’s degree of supervision, the applicant’s exposure to other employees, and where the job will be performed. Generalizations, such as “an applicant convicted of theft is more likely to steal” are not permissible reasons for denying employment based on a past conviction.

Other mitigating factors that must be considered are whether the applicant has performed similar work since the conviction with no further criminal conduct, character references, references concerning their suitability for the position, and efforts toward rehabilitation since the conviction.

Following federal law, Oregon employers are required to notify applicants if they are being disqualified for a position based on the contents of their criminal history report.

Employers are prohibited from using expunged juvenile records in hiring decisions unless that record directly relates to a specific job qualification.

Positions Requiring Mandatory Background Checks

ORS 443.004 requires background checks for anyone in a position that provides in-home care or who works with disabled individuals; ORS 181.547 provides further guidelines on background checks for positions with direct access to any of the following:

• Children
• The elderly
• Persons with disabilities
• Persons with mental illnesses
• The general public

Direct access is defined as interaction with the individual that meets the above criteria or with their personal information.

Common positions that fall under these rules are day care workers, in-home care assistants and law enforcement officers.

Additionally, these rules govern background checks for anyone seeking employment in a profession or trade that requires any of the following:

• Licensure
• Registration
• Certification
• Authorization

Background checks for applicants to positions meeting the above criteria generally require fingerprint identification to reduce incorrect reporting due to identity errors with name searches. Oregon law allows for consideration to be given to the cost of a nation-wide fingerprint search when performing these employment screenings.

Applicants for these kinds of positions may be disqualified based on the results of a criminal history check without the same regard for the relevance of the conviction to the position that is required for positions that don’t meet any of the above criteria.

Oregon maintains a Background Check Registry of individuals with completed background checks who are eligible to for employment as homecare workers without a new background check. Inclusion in the registry is subject to a new background check every two years.

Credit History in background checks under Oregon Law

While the FCRA allows employers to use an applicant’s credit history if it’s relevant to the position, Oregon law is more restrictive. Employers may not obtain or use any information about an applicant’s credit history unless they fall into specific exception categories, such as federally insured banks and positions for which such information is required by law for employment. ORS 659A.320 and the fact sheet summary for employers is available from Oregon’s Technical Assistance for Employers website.

In addition to creditworthiness, employers may not consider bankruptcy history or wage garnishment when making hiring decisions.

Additional Information

OR law also addresses information that may come up during an employment screening that falls outside the purview of criminal and credit history.

Employers may not use an applicant’s involvement in a civil case filed in good faith against an employer, as a plaintiff or witness, when making a hiring decision.

Per ORS 659A.315 employers may not deny employment to an applicant who smokes during non-work hours, and may not require as a condition of employment that an applicant refrain from smoking during non-work hours, unless there is a genuine occupational reason or a collective bargaining agreement is in place that prohibits off-duty smoking.

Oregon law is generally more restrictive than federal law on what information potential employers can access and how they can use it when making hiring decisions.

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