Is it a tool, or will you be fooled? That all depends on how familiar you are with searching criminal records. Read my review of this criminal records search guide if you’d like to learn more about how criminal records are maintained. The free people finder sites offer more details for a fee, but this is much more pricey than professional databases, usually returning less current records and ones that are more geographically restricted.
The free criminal records lookup site, CriminalSearches.com, is operated by the California company, Confi-chek, a commercial provider of consumer public records. You’ve probably made use of the free portion of their PeopleFinders.com site to verify alternative names, identify associates or obtain an approximate age.
The criminal records at CriminalSearches are likely a portion of the state, and California county records that Peoplefinders.com has on its site’s fee-based criminal records search. These records come from each states’ Department of Corrections, Administrative Office of the Courts and Department of Public Safety (Minnesota, Oklahoma and Texas). The most number of records come from the states’ Department of Corrections because this is a statewide agency in every state. These are felony convictions only of offenders who have been in the custody of the DOC. Some state records include county court criminal filings, helpful for finding criminal records that didn’t result in a conviction, a prison sentence or were in a state that doesn’t have a statewide criminal index. California, for one.
The site is still in test mode so the same search could produce different results, but then you knew this wasn’t a comprehensive criminal records database, right?
Use the “Advanced Search” to add city, data of birth and nature of offense parameters. I did a name search, selected “sexual offenses”, assuming results would come only from the sex offender database, but found this record of a dismissed sexual offense – which would not be reportable to a registered sexual offender database. If you want to find records with the first name “Jeff” or “Jeffrey” put an asterisk after “Jeff” (Jeff*) and the search will return both. This doesn’t work with the last name field.
Also, receive a monthly email of criminal records changes on as many as 5 names.
Do you have any cautionary tales for using this site, or do you recommend it?