Criminal Background Checks in North Carolina

Are you interested in checking the criminal background of someone you’re about to hire? Or do you have concerns about someone who works at your home?  Or someone who babysits your children?

In North Carolina, criminal convictions are public records.  While there may be laws that prevent you from using that information for certain purposes – for instance, you can’t harass someone because you’ve found out they have a criminal record – citizens have a right to ask for criminal background checks.

One easy online database is the North Carolina Department of Corrections’ (DOC) Offender Search.  This is an online database of both active (currently serving sentences) and inactive (people who have served and been released) individuals who have been convicted of crimes and processed by the DOC.  The search is free and takes a few minutes of your time.

One other way of checking criminal records is a bit more complicated, but still cheap and easy. You can visit your local courthouse (in Wake County the courthouse is at 316 S. Fayetteville Street in Raleigh) where you can go to the clerk’s office and request a background check.  It’ll cost you $15.

If you don’t have time to go to the courthouse, you can print out this form (Adobe PDF) and mail it in with a $15 certified or cashier’s check (no personal checks) and the background check will be mailed to you.

There are a lot of services on the web that claim to allow you to do a background check, and maybe they work, but there’s no need to pay $50 or $100 to do a check when you can do it the easy and simple way through your courthouse clerk’s office.

Finally, you can do a search of all registered sex offenders in the state by visiting the NC Sex Offender Search website.

Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.