Public Law No. 92-544 authorizes the FBI to obtain information about an individual's criminal history record with law enforcement agencies where the subject lives. The FBI performs non-criminal background checks for a variety of reasons. Applicants for certain government jobs undergo FBI background checks, as do purchasers of firearms. The FBI uses an Applicant Information Form and the applicant's fingerprints to conduct background checks. In some instances, a background check may include information about the applicant's juvenile records.
Role of Local Law Enforcement
When the FBI needs to run a background check, it sends the completed Applicant Information Form and the applicant's fingerprint card to local law enforcement agencies where the applicant lives. Each local law enforcement agency searches its records for information about the applicant and follows state and local regulations that govern the exchange of information.
Whether a state agency returns juvenile court records to the FBI in response to a background check inquiry depends on what that particular laws say about sharing juvenile records with other agencies. As of July 2011, for example, the Texas Juvenile Justice System discloses that justice officials outside of Texas and "other organizations" may have access to juvenile files and records. The disclosure implies that, if you had a juvenile record in Texas, it would show up on an FBI background check.
In addition to receiving the records that local agencies provide, the FBI also has access to records to databases that include some juvenile records. For instance, the National Crime Information Center, which the FBI can access, contains records about juvenile delinquents who have escaped from official custody. The FBI may run across your juvenile record as a result of searching the NCIC database or another source of information.
In some instances, such as if you apply for a job with the FBI, you can be required to voluntarily disclose your juvenile record to the FBI. Applicants for national security positions must report information about cases on their police record even if the case was expunged, sealed by the court or stricken from the record.
Marilyn Lindblad practices law on the west coast of the United States. She has been a freelance writer since 2007. Her work has appeared on various websites. Lindblad received her Juris Doctor from Lewis and Clark Law School.