Background Checks

Do Background Checks Show Warrants? What You Need To Know

January 25, 2024

When applying for a job, one of the most important parts of getting hired is passing a background check. Most companies use these background checks to view records about someone to verify their identity, understand more about their past, and check to see if they have a criminal history. What if you’re in a grey area where you have a warrant out, but no arrest has been made?

In these cases, it depends on the background check, warrant type, and possibly other factors like court appearances and records. Read on to learn more about whether or not warrants appear on public records.

What Is A Background Check?

A background check is the process by which an employer or government agency requests public information about an applicant. This can be done through outside agencies, private investigators, or even online with background check search tools. Depending on the type of background check, applicants may be required to test for drugs or even pass a lie detector test when applying for roles like an FBI agent. Therefore, they’re diverse and may vary depending on the organization’s needs.

What Shows Up On A Background Check?

Your average background check will reveal your public records to whoever requests them. Typically, employers are looking for the following information:

  • Identity verification
  • Verification of education
  • Verification of prior employment
  • Criminal records
  • Sex offender status
  • Financial records
  • Driving records
  • Court records
  • Jail sentences
  • Drug testing

Depending on the type of background check, some or all of this information might be requested.

Do Background Checks Show Warrants?

The short answer is that yes, typically background checks will reveal warrants. That said, not all warrants will appear on background checks because not all warrants are tied to criminal records or made public. Some states will also have different rules about when or how warrants can appear on background checks to protect those applying for those roles. Ultimately, it’s important to check with your state’s laws and to understand more about the type of warrant that you have.

Do Background Checks Show Search Warrants?

No, background checks don’t usually show search warrants; this would be unfair to the applicant because there is no evidence or probable cause for arrest yet. Therefore, in most states, you can go through the background check process without having to worry about a search warrant being a shocking surprise.

Do Background Checks Show Arrest Warrants?

An arrest warrant means that the police have been permitted to arrest someone; this is something employers love to know and have a right to know because it can quickly become a criminal record. These warrants are only issued by a judge after probable cause has been discovered, so it’s one of the most popular warrants to appear on a background check.

Do Background Checks Show Bench Warrants?

Like an arrest warrant, a bench warrant is a type of warrant that’s based on arrest. That said, the key difference is that a bench warrant is issued when someone breaches the behavior allowed by the court; this could be not showing up for hearings, skipping bail, and being held in contempt of court. These are filed in a similar way as other arrest warrants so they will show up on most background checks.

Do Background Checks Show Civil Warrants?

Civil court warrants are also something to consider before a background check. These warrants are issued to people who don’t obey court orders in civil court settings. Some common examples include family court cases, divorce court, and people failing to pay child support. Depending on how thorough the background check goes, this type of warrant can appear. That said, most employers are looking for criminal records, so if it’s a more basic search you shouldn’t have to worry.

Do Witness Warrants Appear On Background Checks?

Forget that you had to appear as a witness in court? Unfortunately, there’s likely a bench warrant out for that reason, especially if it was by subpoena. Witness warrants will appear on background checks, but they’re less severe than most other warrants, and you can usually resolve this issue before applying.

Always Be Prepared For Your Next Interview

Background checks can be a nerve-wracking part of the interview process, especially if you haven’t checked your records in quite a while. Even a parking ticket that doesn’t get paid in a different state can lead to an arrest warrant appearing on your record, which is something you don’t want to be explaining away unexpectedly.

Thankfully, online background check tools can help you prepare for your next interview. All you need is your personal information and a few minutes of your time to get started. Plus, you can use these tools to run background checks on others with their consent.

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