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Legal Ease- How Well Do You REALLY Know Someone?

Have you ever met someone and get the creepy feeling that something is not quite right? Does their life story not quite add up? Are there unexplained gaps in their resume? Do they seem to have an intimate knowledge the criminal underworld? If you are concerned for your safety (or your inner judgment has your mind spinning a story that resembles bad Lifetime movie- and you’ve been cast as the star)- one option is to run a background check.

Getting the Information
At the very least you need the person’s full name and date of birth. You also may want to figure out any other names they have had i.e. maiden name. Other statistical information that will narrow your search includes social security number, driver’s license number, known addresses, birthplace, and current employer. In situations where you are hiring a new employee, renting property, approving a loan etc., you will be able to ask for this information without question. However, if you are trying to find out information about a new person in your life, getting this information might prove to be…

difficult.

Going Undercover
If there is no reason for you to have personal information about another person, running a background check may prove to be difficult. Be careful about how you proceed with asking for this information. Make sure you are causal in your questioning. Although it is important to always trust your gut instincts the potential of make false accusations or assumptions could be very damaging.

Where To Run A Check
You will need to do the check in the state or county where you think the person has a criminal record. The best way to do the check is to go through the state’s Department of Justice. They will have the most accurate and current records. You can also go directly your local court and search their records. Searching at the courts will limit your search to that particular court or county. However, you should be able to view the court file in its entirety.

If you want to avoid going through the court system to run a search you can use an online service in the privacy of your own home. Search “criminal record” or “background check” and you will get thousands of results. These online services will provide you with a variety of choices and fee ranges depending on what type of record your are requesting. For these services your will usually only limited information. However, the more information you have (and the more money you are willing to pay) will afford better search results and more detailed information. These records will also include the option to search any other public record information such as marriage licenses, civil cases, and addresses on records, and any property ownership.

They Have A Past, Now What?
If you find out that the person does have a criminal record what are you going to do with that information? People do get falsely arrested and convicted. Also, some criminal convictions are not what they seem. At this point you need to decide whether or not the criminal record is something that is an issue. A DUI is different from a drug conviction, which is much different from a battery case, and so on. Without knowing the details of the case you how only opened a can or worms you can’t clean up.

Alexis graduated from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in 2007. In law school she served as Student Body President, Public Relations Director for OUTLaw, and competing member of the Mock Trial team. Upon graduating she accepted an associate position with Anthony J. Solare and was recently named partner. At Solare & Scott they provide legal services focusing on criminal defense – including juvenile and military cases, family law, and civil litigation. A true believer in justice and equality Alexis hopes to influence positive change in our legal and political system. You can contact Alexis at 619.234.7575 or online at SolareandScott.com.