Resource Center

Federal versus State Criminal Records

Question: Should employers conduct criminal record searches at both the state and federal level?

Response & Analysis:

Yes. It is a best practice for employers to search both state and federal criminal records because some crimes may only be prosecuted on a federal level and thus only appear when federal courts are searched (and vice versa). Thus, to receive a comprehensive report on an applicant’s entire criminal record, both state and federal records should be searched.

Most criminal prosecutions occur on the state level and are for alleged violations of various state laws. Typically, state crimes are investigated by county sheriffs, state agents or local police officers, and are prosecuted by state district attorneys or city attorneys at county courthouses in that state. Records of these criminal offenses will show up when county or statewide searches are conducted. However, in addition to prosecutions under state law, there are also federal criminal laws that are passed by Congress, prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office and investigated by federal officers, such as FBI or DEA agents. These laws typically relate to some federal or national interest, such as interstate trafficking in contraband, federal tax fraud, mail fraud or crimes committed on federal property. Federal prosecutors are increasing the number of actions they bring in federal courts, and are focusing on higher profile and emerging crimes, such as child pornography, hacking and other cybercrimes.

There may be some criminal records that do not appear on a state search and that are also missed by an OIG excluded parties search, such as Medicare fraud. Individuals convicted of these crimes may never be excluded or the OIG may not even know about such records, and thus it is important for healthcare providers to conduct a thorough criminal records search on both the state and federal level. Organizations that are under a corporate integrity agreement may be required to search for and not hire people who are or would be excluded.

If a crime is prosecuted at the state or county level, records of the crime will likely only be found through a county courthouse or statewide repository criminal records search. If an employer chooses to only conduct a federal criminal search, then records of any crimes prosecuted on the state level will be missed. Likewise, there are many serious crimes that are prosecuted on a federal level, and records of such crimes would be missed if an employer’s criminal record search is limited to only the county or state level. Employers may choose to supplement county or state-level searches with a criminal database search, such as through the National Criminal Database (NCD), however, these database searches will only include state records and generally do not cover federal criminal records. Thus, employers should strongly consider searching criminal records on both the state and federal level to ensure that they are reviewing an applicant’s complete criminal history.

All Rights Reserved © 2017 Certiphi Screening, Inc.
This document and/or presentation is provided as a service to our customers. Its contents are designed solely for informational purposes, and should not be inferred or understood as legal advice or binding case law, nor shared with any third parties. Persons in need of legal assistance should seek the advice of competent legal counsel. Although care has been taken in preparation of these materials, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, currency or completeness of the information contained within it. Anyone using this information does so at his or her own risk.

Even our RFP PROCESS is state-of-the-art.

Find out why
RFP Kit

What Our Clients Are Saying

Everyone I have contacted at Certiphi has been a complete pleasure to work with. The Certiphi customer service rivals every other customer service I come in contact with. Everyone is always so professional, yet super nice! Thanks for all you do and keep up the amazing work and impeccable service that you provide!!!

Human Resources Assistant
Large Medical Staffing Firm

Thank you so much! You have such an incredible reputation within our office; I think we would all say your customer service levels are continually at about 125%!

Human Resources Generalist
Medical and Surgical Hospital

The response time has been very quick. The turnaround times are great. I love your systems and that I can go in and look at the process as its going.

Human Resources Manager
Medical Staffing Agency

It’s such a great customer service that you provide and I’m happy to tell that to anyone.

Pastoral Care Associate
Large Children's Hospital

Working with Certiphi has been such a pleasure. Certiphi has taught me so much, not just about backgrounds but also the meaning of great business.

Human Resources Specialist
Large Medical Staffing Firm
Sending...
Thank you for your interest in Certiphi Screening. We have received your message and will contact you within one business day.
Our apologies, there was an error processing your request.  Please resubmit your message or contact us at 888-260-1370.
You have exceeded the number of attempts to submit this form. As a result, your IP address has been temporarily blocked.
Our apologies, there was an error processing your request.  Please resubmit your message or contact us at 888-260-1370.

Get In Touch

Send a Message *fields required

What are your Interests?optional

You are about to leave Certiphi.com

Ok, Continue Cancel

×
×