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Do Warrants Show on Background Checks? 


Running background checks helps employers find if a soon-to-be employee has a criminal history and past convictions. The employer wants to be convinced whether the applicant has a record of being guilty of a crime at some point in their life. They want to know what the crime was if there was ever a crime. Criminal history goes beyond convictions, though.

A criminal record of someone comprises of other details such as their arrest history and arrest warrants. This post will address criminal background screenings based on a response to the frequently asked question: do warrants show on background checks?

Do they appear on background checks?

Yes, warrants can be shown on background checks. However, it’s not every background check that can show a warrant. When it comes to criminal records, there’re particular areas where warrants are issued, and they may not necessarily reflect in the court record of every county or database of every criminal history.

Different Types of Warrant

Apart from the differences in warrant types that exist based on location, there are variations in the type of warrant that may show up on a background check. Here are a few types of warrants that may be reflected on a person’s criminal background check report:

Arrest warrants

Arrest warrants refer to criminal warrants that judges sign authorizing law enforcement officials to arrest and detain the individual the warrant names as a possible criminal. A judge only issues an arrest warrant when there’s a reason indicating that the said individual is perhaps involved in criminal activity. One of the most relevant warrants that interest employers when conducting a background check is an arrest warrant.

Bench warrant

This is another type of arrest warrant. Court issues bench warrants which grant authorization to law enforcement officials to arrest the said individual named in the warrant. Here is what differentiates a bench warrant from an arrest warrant. An arrest warrant is signed based on the knowledge or suspicion that the person’s name is involved in criminal activity while a bench warrant is signed when a person breaches the behavior required of them by the court. Most cases that lead to bench warrants being issued involve individuals who fail to make an appearance in a civil or criminal court as mandated.

Witness Warrant

It’s a sub-category under the bench warrant. As the name suggests, it gets issued to an individual that ends up not appearing as a witness during a court session though there’s a subpoena requiring him or her to do so.

Civil warrant

A civil warrant is issued when an individual fails to respect civil court orders. This type of warrant goes further than being required to make a court appearance. It includes cases involving individuals who don’t follow court orders. Most of the common examples here involve family law and cases involving failure to pay child support.

Search warrant

The police have the right to enter an individual’s property and conduct a search if there’s probable cause to do so to find evidence. That’s what a search warrant authorizes. It can be in a home, business, vehicle or any place that belongs to an individual or business. Typically, a search warrant is part of an investigation and therefore would generally not feature in a background check.

So, do warrants show on background checks?

According to how each of these categories works, the ideal response to this frequently asked question varies. Background checks typically don’t show all search warrants. But when it comes to arrest warrants, bench warrants and civil warrants which calls for the arrests of a person, they may be considered part of public record and hence incorporated into someone’s background check data. Generally, all warrants can be traced in one way or another.

So, assuming that everyone’s criminal record can be found in the right way to approach the question. This means you have to be up-front with whoever is running your background check. Besides, in some states, arrest records remain only in the hands of law enforcement officials.

Above all, organizations feel obliged to protect their businesses when hiring employees by making sure the process is carried out properly because employment is an investment. That’s probably the reason 95 percent of employers admit their use of at least one type of background check when screening applicants.

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