How to Tell if You Have a Criminal Record

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You may want to determine if you have a criminal record. It's possible to be unsure if a case has been expunged or is still on your record. With the Internet, you can search and find criminal records in most jurisdictions; it is time-consuming, however. There are also services that will search for your criminal record for a fee. The most thorough way is to have the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) do the check.

Complete the FBI applicant-information form if you decide to have the FBI do your criminal background check. The form can be downloaded from the FBI's website. Include your mailing list, telephone number and email address.

Obtain a set of your fingerprints on a standard fingerprinting form. Most local law enforcement agencies will fingerprint you for a small fee.

Read More: How to Find If Someone Has a Criminal Record

Include payment by money order, cashier's check or credit card. As of 2011, charges were $18 for a criminal background check.

Mail the applicant-information form, fingerprints and payment to:

FBI CJIS Division -- Record Request

1000 Custer Hollow Road

Clarksburg, WV 26306

Search public databases. If you would rather conduct the search yourself, look up the public databases in any state or county you've been in during the last ten years. Many counties offer a public-records search for free.

Use an online background-search company. There are numerous websites devoted to criminal background searches; however, you'll have to pay a fee. "GovRecordsRegistry" and "US Search" are examples of such sites.


  • The FBI criminal background search can take up to six weeks for processing.