Do Warrants Show Up on Background Checks?

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Posted by: David Garcia January 20, 2024

While education, qualification, and licenses are important factors to consider when evaluating a job candidate’s suitability for a role, they should not be the sole criteria for making a hiring decision.

As a business, you’re probably looking for individuals who can be trusted to represent your company professionally. 

That’s why you might be wondering whether warrants show up on background checks. That way, you can view a person’s pending or past warrants and criminal history. 

In this guide, you’ll learn what types of warrants appear and don’t appear on background checks. 

What Is a Warrant?

A warrant is a court-issued legal document that allows law enforcement to take a specific action.

There is a wide range of warrants, each with its own purpose. 

For example, civil warrants usually come into play when someone refuses to pay fines, doesn’t follow court rules, or skips court appearances.

On the other hand, criminal warrants have two main types. One is an arrest warrant, issued when there’s a good reason to think someone has committed a crime. 

A search warrant is given when there’s a likelihood that evidence related to a crime can be found in a specific place, like a car or house. 

Do Warrants Appear on Background Checks?

The type of warrant issued will determine whether that information is released for criminal background checks

Not all warrants are equal from a legal standpoint. We’ll cover the most common warrants and whether they appear in background checks. 

Bench Warrant 

A bench warrant is a special order issued by the judge to arrest someone. It occurs when a person fails to appear to a course when they should or breaks the rules that the course sets for them, such as bail or probation. 

Generally, bench warrants will appear in background checks, even if it’s a pending case. 

Criminal Warrant 

A criminal warrant is an official document issued by a judge that authorizes law enforcement to arrest a person or search their belongings. 

Generally, search and arrest warrants fall into this category, and whether they appear in background checks will vary from state to state. 

For example, here are the states that ban using arrest records completely for hiring purposes. 

  • Arizona 
  • California 
  • Hawaii
  • Maine 
  • Massachusetts 
  • Michigan 
  • Montana 
  • New York 
  • Pennsylvania 
  • Wisconsin 

That means employers in these states aren’t allowed to look at arrest records. 

Search Warrant 

A search warrant is a legal document issued by a judge, giving law enforcement the power to search a residence or vehicle. 

This happens when the police have a good reason to think they’ll find evidence of a crime there. 

These warrants are part of police investigations and are usually private, so they don’t show up on regular background checks for everyone to see.

Civil Warrant 

A civil warrant is a court issue related to civil matters, not criminal activities. Unlike criminal warrants, issued in response to suspected criminal behavior, civil warrants usually involve disputes or non-compliance with court orders. 

This may include failing to appear in civil proceedings, disrespecting the court, or failing to comply with orders such as paying child support or meeting certain contractual obligations. 

Civil warrants often appear in county court records, meaning they will show up in background checks. 

Traffic Warrant 

Traffic warrants are issued when someone fails to appear in court for traffic-related offenses. 

For example, they may fail to pay the fine or not attend court as instructed. 

If that’s the case, a warrant gives law enforcement the power to arrest the person. Typically, standard background checks don’t include traffic warrants, but more thorough searches might reveal them.

Standard checks might only focus on criminal history and not traffic-related cases. 

Fugitive Warrant 

A state issues a fugitive warrant when it suspects someone fleeing from justice may be in a different state. Typically reserved for felony cases, these warrants indicate the state’s willingness to bring the suspect back for trial.

For instance, a fugitive warrant may be issued if a person is suspected of a serious crime in one state but runs to another. Even though a standard background check might not reveal a fugitive warrant from another state, jobs in law enforcement or positions requiring thorough background checks, like the prison system, may bring this information to light.

On top of that, when an applicant undergoes national background checks, a fugitive warrant could surface. In such cases, the background check company uses this information to perform additional searches in the state where the warrant was issued, revealing potential legal concerns.

What Else Shows up on a Criminal Background Check?

Now that you know what types of warrants appear, you might wonder what else criminal background check services consist of. 

Here’s a short list of common information you’ll learn about the candidate: 

  • Criminal history looks at a person’s past to see if they’ve been involved in criminal transgressions. That helps you assess potential risks and make informed hiring decisions. 
  • Employment history details the candidate’s work experience and job roles, including the dates they worked at each place. It helps to understand the person’s work experience and qualifications. 
  • Education history helps verify whether a person completed the requisite education needed for the role. 
  • Professional license verification confirms the validity of the professional licenses held by the candidate. As a result, it ensures that you’re hiring someone qualified for the role. 
  • pre-employment drug screen detects the presence of illegal drug substances within the candidate. The drug screen helps to promote workplace safety and ultimately ensures a drug-free work environment. 

Final Thoughts

Most public warrants are publicly accessible. A good background check provider should be able to find those warrants, provided they scrub the data against courthouse records or other public databases. 

Finding out about warrants could be the difference between making a great hire and a poor one costing you thousands of dollars.

Trust ScoutLogic to perform high-quality and accurate criminal background checks for you. We provide a complete report based on a wide range of databases on the national, county, federal, statewide, and international levels. 

Contact us today and have comfort knowing you’ve taken the steps to make an informed hiring decision. made the right hire.

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