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Civil Records 101

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Learn how civil searches are different than criminal and why it may be smart to add one to the background screen. Civil and criminal records are different types of searches with records being held by different courts. Here’s some basic information about civil cases and why you may want to consider a civil records search.

Where are civil records located?
Civil suits can be brought in both state and federal courts. Courts that handle civil matters are different than those that handle criminal cases. A civil search can be performed in counties and federal districts based on where an applicant has resided or worked.

What information is available in civil records?
BIB reports the information found in the case records, which may include: date of filing, description of lawsuit, disposition and disposition date.

What are the benefits to adding a civil search to my package?
Applicants with a history of civil litigation could pose a risk to your company. Restraining orders are also part of civil searches, which may indicate that someone has a propensity to be violent (this is especially good to know if the applicant will be around vulnerable populations). These types of records, although not criminal in nature, may also reveal an applicant’s unfavorable characteristics such as dishonesty. In positions of trust where someone handles or is responsible for finances unsupervised, a best practice would be to include a civil background check in addition to a criminal and credit check.