Are Background Checks Expensive?

If there is one question we are asked more than any other, it is whether background checks are expensive. In this article, we will explain how much you need to pay to get a good background check, and also recommend the top three sites that offer the best value for money.

Are Background Checks Expensive?

Background checks are almost always carried out for important reasons. It could be over concerns over the safety of your children or family, in search for a family member, or checking the suitability of a potential employee or tenant.

No-one wants to cut corners on important issues like these but at the same time, they also don’t want to blow a chunk of money on a check that might not return any useful information. However, everyone has a budget, and it is a fact of life that some are bigger than others. This is why the number one question we get asked about is how much background checking services cost.

In this article, we are going explain how much it will cost to run a good background check and where this money goes; we will explain why free background checks are simply not worth the risk; and we will recommend the background checking sites we feel offer the best value for money.

What is a background check?

So what exactly is a background check? For the purposes of this article, when we talk about a background checking site, we are referring to a site that can pull together a comprehensive picture of an individual from publicly available information gathered from dozens of different sources. They will include things like:

  • Criminal records (state, county, and city)
  • Credit history
  • Employment history
  • Work authorization
  • Education history (high school and college)
  • Social media profiles
  • Driving record
  • Licenses held

Different sites use different source but while no two sites will return exactly the same information, most good ones will dig out much of the same data.

This is important because people decide to run background checks for all sorts of different reasons, such as:

Whatever your reason for running a background check, you will want information that is accurate, comprehensive, and insightful. A reputable background checking site will provide just that.

Unfortunately, sites like these do come at a price, and there are plenty of charlatans on the market too. This means you need to be careful, and only give your money to sites which are reputable. We also recommend that you avoid free background checking sites as well, many fail entirely to serve results to your query and may even harvest your search data for nefarious means.

Why do background checking site charge at all?

A lot of people write in to ask us why background checking sites charge a fee at all. It’s a fair question. After all, they are generally providing information that is already in the public domain and all the site does is collate this into a single report.

The truth is that a good background checking site does a lot more than that. When data is publicly available, it is often stored in huge databases containing millions of different records. The technology needed to sift through these files and return accurate results is advanced and, inevitably, not cheap to create and operate.

But a good background site will also go further. They will research information that is not readily accessible. Education records, for example, often require a site to physically make a request to a college and then input the information. Some criminal records actually need a runner to visit the courthouse in person and sift through hard-copy files.

All of this takes time and resources. Background checking sites are not charities. If they incur costs when operating their service, they have to charge their users to cover these. They are also profit-making companies and need to make money if they want to stay in business.

What is the most cost-effective background checking site?

The key to getting a good background check is not to look for the cheapest but for the one which offers the best value for money. That is what we focused on during our recent tests of all the top background checking sites. After exhaustive research, we’ve determined the most-cost effective sites to be:

1. BeenVerified

 

BeenVerified is not only a terrific all-round background checking site, it also offers some of the most affordable prices of any premium service. Their basic subscription rate is just $26.89 per month or you can pay a mere $17.48 per month for a three-month subscription. For that modest fee, we felt they offered superb value for money.

BeenVerified allows you to run an unlimited number of searches for that fee. They can generate reports on the most minimal amount of information and, crucial, their reports are both detailed and highly accurate. They are presented in an easy-to-read report and you can keep track of progress on either their excellent desktop dashboard or apps for iOS and Android devices.

They are fast and reliable and while the whole process is simple, there is also a responsive customer support team on standby if you do encounter any problems. An impressive and cost-effective background checking service.

2. Instant CheckMate

 

Instant CheckMate is another background checking site that offers great value for money. Their prices begin at $34.78 per month, and with a discount, a three-month subscription is just $27.82 per month. Their big selling point is speed. No site could turn round a check faster in our tests so if you need instant information, it is worth paying a little more.

Speed does not come with compromises elsewhere in the service. Instant CheckMate was both reliable and detailed in its searches and in none of our tests did they miss out any significant information. With good customer support, nicely designed apps, and easy-to-read reports, there is not a lot to fault in their all-round service.

3. TruthFinder

TruthFinder uses a two-tier pricing structure with prices starting at $27.78 for one month or $23.02 for two months. At the lower tier, we felt they offered a little more information which is really useful for those with a tight budget.

All of their reports were impressive being nicely laid-out and packed full of detail. Crucially, TruthFinder was also unerringly accurate in the data it unearthed too. Speeds were a little more varied though, depending on the nature of the search.

They offer a superb and responsive 24/7 customer support on a toll-free number which is really helpful, especially for new users. It adds to the sense that their users really matter to them.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL: Want to run a quick, in-depth background check with TruthFinder? Give it a try with our special discounted subscription offer available to our readers only.

Can I use a free background checking site?

If you search for free background check in Google, you will get dozens of results, most of which will claim to offer a similar service to paid-for sites without the expense.

As we explained above, there are costs involved in running accurate background checks and if these aren’t being passed onto users, there are two possible reasons.

The first is that they are not conducting their checks as thoroughly as the paid-for sites. In our tests, free background checking sites will often only check a handful of easily accessible public data sources. They will certainly not find any of the information that requires manual research.

If a search is challenging because, for example, the subject has a common name, free background checking sites will also often return inaccurate information. Wrong results can cause you all sorts of problems. You might end up accusing an innocent person of being a sex offender or you could travel half-way across the country to meet a long-lost relative who actually has no connection to your family.

The second reason could be that they are covering their costs in another way. Often, this will be through selling the data they compile about your subjects, and yourself as a user, to third-parties. This is not only a significant breach of your privacy but it could also lead to you being contacted by all sorts of strange people trying to sell you stuff you don’t need.

In the case of a lot of free background checking sites, we found that both practices were the norm.

Free sites have poor accuracy reports, miss out on a lot of data, and can often sell your information on. There might be no cost involved but if you need to run a background check, you want the information to be right. And for that to be the case, you have to incur a small cost.

Conclusion

If you want to run a background check that generates accurate and detailed results fast, you do need to pay. But most premium background checking sites charge a modest fee for an unlimited number of checks over an agreed time period. It is quite possible to get a great background check carried out at an inexpensive price.

There are a number of background checking sites that offer terrific value for money and in this article, we have identified the best three sites. Free background checking sites do exist but, as we have explained, they are really not worth the effort.

What is your experience of running background checks? Have you found any other sites which offer good value for money? Do you have any additional tips for our readers? We always welcome feedback and comments from our readers to help inform others, so why not share your own experiences with us using the comment box below?

Read Are Background Checks Expensive? by David Spencer on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

What Is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony?

If you’re worried about your criminal record coming up on a background check, or are unsure whether you have a misdemeanor or a felony offense on your file, you are not alone. In this article, we will clearly explain the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony, how they will appear on a background check and what you can do about them.

There are a lot of people with something in their past they would rather forget. We all make mistakes but if you crossed the line and ended up committing a crime, it can haunt you for a long time, no matter how hard you try to put it behind you.

But that doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to being tagged a criminal for life. In the U.S., crimes are defined as either misdemeanors or felonies and there is a significant difference between the two. Unfortunately, not everyone is sure of the difference between the two, and the truth is that the line can be rather blurry. What’s more, figuring out what is on your record can mean the difference between getting that job or getting approval for that loan.

In this article, we are going to explain as clearly as possible the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony. We are also going to tell you how to find out what’s on your record, and what you can do about it.

What is a misdemeanor? 

In the U.S. a misdemeanor is generally classed as a minor offense. Misdemeanors can result in jail sentences, but the majority lead to either probation or fines.

A non-exhaustive list of misdemeanors under U.S. law includes such things as:

  • Assault
  • Disorderly conduct or public intoxication
  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Driving while intoxicated (DWI)
  • Minor in possession of alcohol
  • Non-violent crimes (such as drug possession)
  • Petty theft
  • Resisting arrest
  • Trespassing
  • Vandalism or criminal mischief
  • Speeding tickets (in some states)

An easy way to tell whether you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony is the length of the jail sentence you were given. Under U.S. federal law, any crime which results in a jail sentence of one year or less is classed as a misdemeanor. If you received a longer jail sentence, you are likely to have committed a felony. However, you should note that this definition can vary from state to state. More on that below.

Classes of misdemeanors (federal & state)

Under Federal law, there are three different classes of misdemeanor:

  • Federal Class A – The most severe federal misdemeanors. These typically receive sentences of between six months to one year in jail.
  • Federal Class B – These mid-level misdemeanors are punishable by one to six months in jail.
  • Federal Class C – The least severe form of misdemeanor which can punishable by five to thirty days in jail. Anything lower than five days is considered a federal infraction.

But state laws can interpret misdemeanors very differently. Some are much more lenient than others. There is no set definition but in general, there are three classes of misdemeanor at state level:

  • High or gross misdemeanors – These are the most severe misdemeanors. They usually lead to either incarceration in a county jail or a fine of more than $1,000.
  • Ordinary misdemeanors – These are regular misdemeanors which can sometimes result in a short jail sentence but more typically lead to a fine of more than $500.
  • Petty misdemeanors – These are the least severe form of misdemeanor and will usually lead to a fine of less than $500 or, occasionally, a short jail sentence.

If you do have a misdemeanor on your record, it is important to find out which state it occurred in and how it is defined under that state’s laws. This is likely to affect how it appears on your record and also the possibility of getting it expunged from your record altogether (more on that below).

What is a felony?

If a crime is more serious than any of the above classifications of misdemeanor, it is classed as a felony. Felonies can be either violent or non-violent offences that will typically, but not always, result is a jail sentence of more than one year.

A few examples of felony offences include:

  • Homicide
  • Attempted murder
  • Rape
  • Arson
  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Child abuse
  • Money laundering
  • Stalking
  • Human trafficking
  • Criminal damage
  • Jail-breaking

As with mesdemeanors, the definition of a felony can vary is state law, so it is again worth checking how an offence is defined in the state it was committed.

Classes of felonies (federal & state)

Under US federal law, felony offences are broken down into five distinct classes from the most to least serious. These classes are:

  • Class A – The most serious crimes such as murder which will typically result in a sentence of life imprisonment or even the death penalty.
  • Class B – These are still very serious offenses likely to lead to a jail sentence of at least 25 years.
  • Class C – This category involves serious offenses such as involuntary manslaughter that would typically lead to a sentence of between 10 and 25 years in jail.
  • Class D – Lesser offenses with sentences of between 5 and 10 years in jail.
  • Class E – The lowest category of a felony with jail sentences of between 1 and 5 years.

At state levels, felony definitions can differ significantly. Some apply federal definitions, some use only the higher classes, while others have their own categorization system completely.

If you know which state your felony offences was committed it is worth doing some research into how that state defines a felony and how they record it.

There are a number of different factors that can affect the class at which a felony offence is prosecuted. These can affect not only the length of jail sentence handed down but also how the crime is recorded on your record. These factors include:

  • The severity of the harm done – Was the victim seriously injured? Were they killed?
  • Mitigating/aggravating factors – Things like who the victim was, and any specific provocation or mental health issues that were a factor.
  • Community factors – How the local community and the court feels about a specific type of crime.
  • Prior convictions – Whether you have already been convicted of other offenses.
  • Probation/parole – Whether you are already on probation or parole.
  • Armaments – Whether a deadly weapon was used to commit the crime.

What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?

If you are still unsure about the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony, don’t fret. The differences in state laws and the blurred lines in the case of some offenses mean there is no one definition that applies to everyone. But there are some general rules we can apply to give a good indication.

If a crime results in a jail sentence of one year or less, it is likely to be defined as a misdemeanor in most parts of the U.S. If a crime warrants a longer jail sentence, it is likely to be considered a felony. 

Sometimes a misdemeanor can be upgraded to a felony offense if there are “aggravating factors”. A good example of this is assault. Assault is usually a misdemeanor offense. However, if the assault was carried out with a potentially deadly weapon, or if it was committed against a woman, a child, or a police officer, it can be elevated to a felony offense.

Other offenses that can be elevated if there are aggravating circumstances include:

  • Drink-driving
  • DUI
  • Domestic violence
  • Custody interference
  • Embezzlement

Another term you might come across is “wobblers”. These are crimes that can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony, and can be defined either way. The term is also used if the person being charged is a minor or a first-time offender as this too can influence how a crime is defined.

How to find out if your misdemeanor or felony shows up on your record

For many ex-offenders, their criminal record can cause problems for the rest of their lives (sometimes even if charges have been dismissed). But whether you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony, this doesn’t have to be the case.

If you want to know what potential employers, family, and friends can see of your criminal history, the best thing to do is run a background check on yourself. This will show you exactly what criminal public records are out there about you.

If you do decide to go down this route, you need to be careful about which background checking service you choose. There are plenty of providers out there but some are far less thorough than others.

To get a conclusive answer about what criminal records there are about you, you need to find a background checking service which runs a comprehensive check of federal, state, and county records as well as looking anywhere else where there could conceivably be a trace.

Best background checking services for seeing misdemeanors and felonies

We have tested all of the biggest background checking sites to see which is the best for finding your criminal background. Our tests identified three sites which did a terrific all-round job:

1. BeenVerified

BeenVerified was the best all-round background checking site we tested. They offered fast and accurate results and performed especially well in digging up criminal records. They have a basic subscription cost of just $26.89 per month or you can pay $17.48 per month for three months. Other sites often suggest BeenVerified are overpriced, but for us, they offer terrific value for money.

If you want to find every last detail about your criminal records, you should probably sign up to their premium package for an extra $9.95 per month. For that, they will provide as comprehensive a search as you will get anywhere. This even includes sending researchers to local courthouses and record offices in person to look through physical files.

BeenVerified’s final reports are comprehensive, accurate, and easy to read. You can follow the whole process through their user-friendly desktop dashboard or their excellent iOS and Android apps. We found the whole process seamless, but if you have any issues, there is a helpful team of customer service assistants there to help you as well.

2. Instant CheckMate

Instant CheckMate offers an impressive all-round service. Their comprehensive reports were among the very quickest we have tested, being well-laid out and really easy to follow. Instant Checkmate’s comprehensive criminal records searches dig out complete misdemeanor records as well as such details as sex offender registers, marriage and divorce records, details of relatives, address history, and social media records.

Their prices start at $34.78 per month, with a discount on three-month subscriptions at just $27.82 per month. This is a little higher than average but given the quality of their output, it still offers good value for money.

3. TruthFinder

TruthFinder is another site which offered extremely detailed research at a competitive price. They have a two-tier pricing structure, with prices starting at $27.78 for one month or just $23.02 for two months. If you opt for their basic package you will get a full criminal record check including such information as sex offender registers, driving records, and data about known relatives.

For their slightly more expensive premium package, you will get every record there is. TruthFinder is really detailed but they still manage to communicate their results in well designed and easy-to-read reports. There is 24/7 customer support available on a toll-free number too, so if you do have any issues, TruthFinder will be able to help day or night.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL: Want to run a quick, in-depth background check with TruthFinder? Give it a try with our special discounted subscription offer available to our readers only.

How long do misdemeanor and felonies stay on your record?

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), all misdemeanor arrests are wiped off your record after a period of seven years. This means that if enough time has passed your record could be clean. If you were arrested and convicted for a misdemeanor, that offense will still be on your record. But it’s not all bad news. Some background checks will only go back so many years. This means if your misdemeanor took place a while ago, it is quite possible that it won’t show on a check.

Some states, including Texas, California, Colorado, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, and Washington even have laws to prevent background checks from looking too far back. But even if your misdemeanor took place in one of those states, mistakes can still happen, which is why if you do have a misdemeanor on your file, you will probably want to get it expunged.

Felonies are more serious crimes and if you are convicted of a felony offense, that will stay on your record for life unless you manage to get it expunged. This is not the case if you have been arrested or charged (but not convicted) of a felony offense. This will stay on your record for seven years but then, under the FCRA, your record is cleared.

How to get a misdemeanor expunged

Getting a misdemeanor expunged from your record is usually fairly straightforward as long as you comply with all the necessary criteria and requirements. These will vary from state to state, but typically include:

  • Have completed your probation with no further incidents, violations, or penalties
  • Have no pending arrests or proceedings for any other criminal convictions
  • Have fulfilled the original sentencing requirements
  • Have limited prior charges (in some states the “three strikes” law is still in effect, and this may restrict your ability to get a third conviction expunged)
  • Have followed the state-required waiting period. This is usually between 1 and 3 years after being released from jail or completing payment of your fines

You do not have to seek formal legal advice before applying for an expungement but it is often advisable to do so to make sure you are not wasting time and money on a process you do not meet the requirements of.

If you do tick all these boxes, you can then submit a written expungement request to the relevant local court. This is a request for the court to review your conviction. They may take some time to provide a response but if they agree to expunge your misdemeanor, the benefits will be well worth the wait.

How to get a felony expunged

Not surprisingly, it is much harder to get a felony expunged from your record than a misdemeanor. This is largely because they are much more serious offenses.

The rules and requirements for felony expungement vary widely from state to state. Some general requires which all states will look for are:

  • Completing a waiting period. The length of this can vary significantly from state to state
  • Completing any jail sentence or probation period you were given and paying any fines that were given to you
  • Evidence that you do not have any subsequent criminal charges or convictions
  • Evidence that you are rehabilitated and are a functioning member of society. This can be shown through work, voluntary endeavors, education, and so on

In some states, it is not possible to get any felonies expunged at all. In other states, it is limited to certain types of offense. For example, if you have been found guilty of murder, a sexual crime, or a violent offense, the chances of being able to wipe this from your record is remote (but in some states not totally impossible).

If you think you are in a position to get a felony record expunged, the process for securing an expungement is similar to that of a misdemeanor. You must file a petition with the court that tried you and submit any information and evidence they require. You will then have to wait for the court to make a decision.

Expungements are less rare for felony offenses. But if you are successful, the offense will be wiped from your record and should no longer appear in any background check.

RELATED READING: How to run a national criminal background check online

Conclusion

The difference between a misdemeanor and a felony offense is a big one. It is rooted in the severity of the crime and the sentence handed down. But there are a number of grey areas which we have explained as clearly as we can in this article. Running a background check is the perfect way to see what offenses still show up on your record. We have identified the best three background checking sites to use and also explained how it is possible to expunge misdemeanor offenses and even some felonies too.

We have sought to outline everything you need to know in this article. Is there anything we have missed out? Have you used a background check to see if your past misdemeanor or felony still shows up? What did you do? Do you have any tips for our readers? We always welcome feedback and comments from our readers to help inform others, so why not share your own experiences with us using the comment box below?

Read What Is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony? by David Spencer on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How Long Does a Misdemeanor Stay on Your Record?

If you’re tired of wondering how long that misdemeanor will stay on your record, you’re not alone. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about misdemeanors in the U.S., including classifications and expungement. You’ll also get the lowdown on the best online background checking sites to help you assess which misdemeanors, if any, are currently on your record.

There are a lot of generally law-abiding U.S. citizens out there who might have a misdemeanor or two on their records. For some, this might be due to a criminal past you would rather put behind you. For others, it might be the result of youthful exuberance or a one-off incident at college.

But there are also plenty of examples of people whose misdemeanors come back to haunt them. Perhaps they applied for a job and met all the criteria, but then the misdemeanor came to light. Perhaps a partner or child found about a criminal past they would rather forget.

Information and intelligence are all-powerful in the modern world, and this has led to many people reconsidering their past misdemeanors and trying to expunge them from their records and their personal history.

In this article, we tell you how to find out if your prior misdemeanors are still on record and, if so, what you can do about it. 

How long does a misdemeanor stay on your record?

If you have been arrested or convicted of a misdemeanor, the chances are you don’t want that criminal past to affect your life now. If this sounds like you, then there is good news and bad news.

The good news is that if you were arrested but not convicted for a misdemeanor offense, your record could now be clean. That is because, under the the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), all such arrests are wiped off your record after a period of seven years. So, as long as enough time has passed, there will no way for family, friends, or employees to find a record of your misdemeanor arrest.

But, if you were arrested and convicted for a misdemeanor, it is not such good news. Convictions will stay on your record indefinitely, so the chances are that a background check would turn up a prior misdemeanor. This will depend to an extent on how thorough the background check is. Some will only go back a few years or won’t be exhaustive, so older misdemeanors may not show up.

In some states there are laws that prevent background checking companies from looking back more than so many years. For example, in Texas there is a seven year rule preventing background checking companies from reporting dismissed charges older than that (though there is an exception when applying to positions salaried higher than $75,000 per year). Other states with similar laws include California, Colorado, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, and Washington, so be sure to do a little extra research depending on your location.

But while this offers legal certainty, there is no guarantee that mistakes won’t happen. If you are not in one of these states, your misdemeanor record is still fair game. The best thing to do is to find out for yourself.

How to find out if your misdemeanor comes up on a background check

If you want to know exactly what potential employees, families, and friends can find out about through a background check, the best thing to do is to run one yourself. If you decide to go down this route, you need to be careful about which background checking service you choose. There are a lot out there but some are far less thorough than others.

If you want a conclusive idea about what records there about you, you need to choose a service which offers a comprehensive file check, especially when it comes to criminal records. That means they don’t just cross-check federal records but also go down to state and county level too.

Best background checking services for seeing misdemeanors

We have road-tested all of the major background checking sites to test which is best for digging out misdemeanor records. Here are the top three services to help you see your misdemeanors:

1. BeenVerified


The site we felt offered the best all-round service with fast and accurate results was BeenVerified. They are often marked as an expensive choice by some reviewers but with a basic subscription rate of just $26.89 per month or just $17.48 per month for three months, they offer terrific value for money.

If you want certainty about your misdemeanor records, you will probably want to get their premium package for an extra $9.95 per month. But for that, you can rest assured that they will dig out any record out there. This even extends to sending researchers to local courthouses and record offices in person to look through physical files.

Their final reports are comprehensive, clear, and accurate and you can follow the whole process on their user-friendly desktop dashboard or through dedicated apps for your Android and iOS device. If you encounter any problems, a friendly and helpful team of customer service assistants are there to help you too. 

2. Instant CheckMate

Another fast and reliable background checking service was Instant CheckMate. Their comprehensive reports come up as fast as any service we have tested and are well-laid out and easy to follow.

In our tests, they managed to identify comprehensive criminal records data including misdemeanor records alongside other many other things such as sex offender registers, marriage and divorce records, details of relatives, address history, social media presence, and much more.

Prices start at a modest $34.78 per month, with a discount on three-month subscriptions at just $27.82 per month. Given the quality of their output, this represents excellent value for money.

3. TruthFinder


TruthFinder offers an incredible depth of detailed research at hugely competitive prices. Like many background checking sites, they offer a two-tier pricing structure, with prices starting at $27.78 for one month or just $23.02 for two months. But even with their basic package you will see full criminal record details alongside such information as sex offender registers, driving records, and data about known relatives.

Premium subscribers get the full works and despite the huge amount of detail, this is all present is a simple, easy-to-read report. 24/7 customer support available on a toll-free number should you need it, but TruthFinder’s service is so good we would be surprised if you ever did.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL: Want to run a quick, in-depth background check with TruthFinder? Give it a try with our special discounted subscription offer available to our readers only.

What is a misdemeanor?

There are two types of criminal offense in the U.S. A felony is a serious crime and likely to result in a serious jail sentence. A misdemeanor is a minor offense that could result in a short jail sentence but more likely some form of probation or fine.

Examples of misdemeanors under U.S. law include things like:

  • Assault
  • Disorderly Conduct or Public Intoxication
  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
  • Minor in Possession of Alcohol
  • Non-Violent Crimes (such as drug possession)
  • Petty Theft
  • Resisting Arrest
  • Trespassing
  • Vandalism or Criminal Mischief
  • Speeding tickets (in some states only)

The U.S. federal government draws the line at crimes which result in a jail sentence of one year. If you receive a longer sentence, you are considered a felon because you have committed a felony in the eyes of the state. If you are sentenced to jail for less than a year, you are a misdemeanant because you have committed a misdemeanor.

Classes of misdemeanors (federal & state)

Federal law includes three classes of misdemeanor:

  • Federal Class A – The most severe federal misdemeanors, punishable by six months to a year in jail.
  • Federal Class B – Offenses punishable by one to six months in jail.
  • Federal Class C – The least severe offenses punishable by five to thirty days in jail. Anything lower than five days is considered a federal infraction.

RELATED READING: What shows up on an FBI fingerprint background check?

But many states draw the line differently. Some states are a lot more lenient than others when it comes to misdemeanors. There is no set state definition, but in general terms, most states also have three classes misdemeanors:

  • High or gross misdemeanors – The most severe misdemeanor convictions. These can result in incarceration in a county jail, and fines of more than $1,000.
  • Ordinary misdemeanors – These are regular misdemeanors. They may result in some jail time or fines over $500.
  • Petty misdemeanors – The least severe offenses which result in jail time of less than six months and fines below $500.

If you do have a misdemeanor in your past, it is worth checking the definition in both the state where it occurred and the state where you now live and work to figure out how seriously your misdemeanor is viewed where you are now.

What can I do if a misdemeanor does show on my record?

If your background check does turn up a misdemeanor record, there are two realistic options open to you.

  1. The first is to have a good explanation ready to tell your prospective employees or loved ones. If your misdemeanor was just a case of youthful exuberance, it is possible that you will be given the benefit of the doubt.
  2. But if this doesn’t appeal, your other option is to try and get the misdemeanor expunged from your record. This is usually much easier with misdemeanors than it is for felonies but it is not guaranteed. Not all states will allow every misdemeanor to be expunged and if you have multiple misdemeanors on your record you will need to make a separate application for each one. There is no guarantee that these application will be accepted. It is also possible that getting a misdemeanor expunged will still not wipe your record completely clean. For example, if it was a sexual offense, you may still remain on the sex offenders register.

How to get a misdemeanor expunged

To get your misdemeanor expunged, the first thing to do is check that you’ve complied with all the local laws and the requirements set forth by the local court system. This will vary from state to state.

You will also need to be in compliance with the following criteria:

  • Have completed your probation with no further incidents, violations, or penalties
  • Have no pending arrests or proceedings for any other criminal convictions
  • Have fulfilled the original sentencing requirements
  • Have limited prior charges (in some states the “three strikes” law is still in effect, and this may restrict your ability to get a third conviction expunged)
  • Follow the state-required waiting period. This is usually 1 to 3 years after being released from jail or completing payment of fines.

It is not necessary to seek formal legal advice before applying for an expungement but it is never a bad idea to be sure of your legal grounds before going ahead.

If you fulfill all of these requirements you can then submit a written expungement request to the relevant local court. This is a written request for the court to review your conviction. They may take some time to provide a response to this request. But if they agree to expunge, the impact this could have on your life will be more than worth the wait.

Conclusion

Misdemeanor conviction stay on your record for ever but there are ways to change this. Running a background check is a good way to see if your misdemeanor records come up. You might get lucky and find your misdemeanor was far enough back to not crop up anymore. If it does, there are still options including seeking an expungement.

In this article, we have outlined everything you need to know. Have we missed anything out? Have your used a background check to see if your past misdemeanor still comes up? What did you do about it? Any tips for our readers? We always welcome feedback and comments from our readers to help inform others, so why not share your own experiences with us using the comment box below?

Read How Long Does a Misdemeanor Stay on Your Record? by David Spencer on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Are Background Checks Anonymous?

In the digital age, privacy is a concern, and you may be wondering whether running a background check is an anonymous activity. Today’s article will explain in what circumstances you can run an anonymous background check, how to do it, and recommend the best sites to use for the job.

People want to run background checks for all sorts of different reasons. Some want to know a little more about someone in their local area, some want to trace a lost family member, some want to see if an applicant is suitable for a job.

But there can be times when it would embarrassing for the person to know that you have looked into their records. That’s when you need an anonymous background check. And yes, it is possible to run a background check anonymously, but they are only available in certain circumstances.

In this article, we will explain when it is permissible to run a background check anonymously and when you are not allowed. We will also tell you the best background checking sites to use to carry out an anonymous background check.

What is a background check?

Before we explain more about anonymous background checks, it is important to define exactly what we mean by a background check.

A background check is a method of finding out information about someone. They can be used in all sorts of different circumstances and can turn up all manner of different types of information about a person. The sort of information you are likely to find out includes:

  • Criminal records (state, county, and city)
  • Credit history
  • Employment history
  • Work authorization
  • Education history (high school and college)
  • Social media profiles
  • Driving record
  • Licenses held

The exact information you will get depends on which background checking service you are using, the purpose of running the background check, and what information is available about a person in the public records.

There are several different reasons why you might want to run a background check on someone. These could include:

Background checks will reveal information that is already in the public domain, so it is information that you have every right to access. But there are still some situations where you might feel embarrassed about the being seen to carry out such a check.

In those situations, it might be possible to carry out an anonymous background check. But this is not always the case, so it is important to be sure that running an anonymous check is legal before you do so.

What is the best anonymous background checking site?

The good news is that anonymous background checks are possible; they are just not permitted in some circumstances. Before we explain when you can and cannot carry out an anonymous background check, we are going to highlight the best background checking sites to use.

We know that anonymity is really important to some people. So, our team have spent the past few weeks rigorously testing all the top background checking sites to see which offer the best all-round service while still preserving user anonymity. Here are our top 3 recommended background check sites offering anonymous services:

1. BeenVerified

 

BeenVerified is the best all-round background checking site on the market right now. Not only do they carry out checks totally anonymously but subjects will never have any clue they have been checked up on. You can run a check with the barest of information and BeenVerified will produce a comprehensive report consisting of every public record there is out there.

This information is put together in an easy-to-read report which can be accessed through their excellent desktop dashboard or apps. Despite the amount of data they can gather, BeenVerified is quick. They can compile a basic report in just a few minutes. Even if they have to send out researchers to manually search through local files, the information comes back in just a few days.

Their basic subscription rate is $26.89 per month or you can pay a mere $17.48 per month for a three-month subscription. For that modest fee, we felt they offered superb value for money.

2. Instant CheckMate

Instant CheckMate is another background checking site able to deliver anonymous background checks. Their standout feature is their speed; no site generated reports faster, and in none of our tests did they miss out any significant information.

Instant CheckMate uses a two-tier pricing structure. Prices for Instant CheckMate begin at $34.78 per month, and with a discount, a three-month subscription is just $27.82 per month. At this basic level, they generate an impressive amount of information. But you do also have the option to pay a little more for their premium service.

There is no trace of your search for a subject to find which means anonymity is guaranteed. So, if you need an anonymous check running fast, Instant CheckMate is a great option for you.

3. TruthFinder

TruthFinder was another background checking site we found able to deliver high-quality anonymous background checks. Their basic reports contain an impressive amount of information and are well laid-out and easy to read. Their time varied a little more than our other recommended sites but was still more than fast enough for most users.

Like other background checking sites, they use a two-tier pricing structure with prices starting at $27.78 for one month or $23.02 for two months. These prices are competitive especially at the lower tier where we felt they generally offered a little more information.

They have 24/7 customer support on a toll-free number which is great, especially for new users.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL: Want to run a quick, in-depth background check with TruthFinder? Give it a try with our special discounted subscription offer available to our readers only.

When are anonymous background checks permitted?

Background checks can broadly be divided into two different types: formal and informal.

An informal background check is when an individual wants to find out information about someone in their life. It could be a family member, neighbor, teacher, friend, or the bloke you met in a nightclub last Friday.

This type of background check could be motivated by curiosity, concern, or a whole host of other reasons. But in these types of situation, it is perfectly legal to run an anonymous background check on them.

The best and quickest way to do this is by using one of the three background checking sites we recommended above. Any of these sites will be able to pull up information such as criminal records, personal details, credit rating histories, social media records, and much more.

These checks are carried out by running searches of publicly available information. There is no trace left on any record that the search has been carried out and therefore absolutely no way that the subject can find out that a background check has been run on them, never mind the fact that it was you that ran it.

When are anonymous background checks not permitted?

If you need to carry out a formal background check on someone, the rules are different.

A formal background check including things like vetting applicants for a job, prospective tenants, or loan application. Under these circumstances they type of background check you can carry out is constrained by law and anonymous background checks are not permitted.

The most relevant law in these circumstances is the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This law requires employers to notify candidates in writing that a background check is required. The applicant must provide written consent before the check is carried out.

The relevant documents must be provided to the candidate separately so there is no confusion about what they are agreeing. Given these legal constrictions, such background checks are therefore inevitably not anonymous.

Similar rules are also in place for loan applicants and prospective tenants. In both cases, formal permission is required before carrying out a check which makes anonymity impossible.

If you need to run a background check for one of these reasons, you would be breaking the law if you do so without informing the subject first.

If you are unsure whether your background check would be considered formal or informal under US law, it is best to check with a legal advisor before proceeding.

RELATED READING: 7 Common myths about background checks

Conclusion

Background checks can be anonymous but it is not always legal to run a check without first informing the subject. In this article, we have explained the difference between formal and informal background checks and explained when you are permitted to run a check anonymously.

We have also recommended the top three background checking sites to use if you do want to run an anonymous background check.

Is there anything we have missed anything out? Have you any experience of running anonymous background checks?  Do you have any additional tips for our readers? We always welcome feedback and comments from our readers to help inform others, so why not share your own experiences with us using the comment box below?

Read Are Background Checks Anonymous? by David Spencer on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Famisafe: Get advanced parental controls with active location monitoring and activity alerts

Mobile devices are more than communication devices and as such,  a mobile device is not just something you need for work or academic use. They’re tools that can help users learn a new language, stay safe, find help when they need it, and of course, entertain themselves. A mobile device is something plenty of children use and that’s normally where it gets complicated. In a child’s hand, a mobile device can be exceptionally useful for parents, or it can be dangerous for children. Most mobile devices, whether they run iOS or Android, have some form of restrictions that can be applied to limit how a child uses a device. They do still fall short of allowing parents to monitor a child’s device.

Parental controls for mobile devices

Parental controls for mobile devices allow a device, the parents’, to be connected to another device, the child’s. This connection is normally established through an app that’s installed on both devices with the parent device able to view content, and receive other information e.g., location data, from the child device.

Because these devices are connected and able to send and receive information between them over an exclusive connection, it allows far better control over what the child device is used for. It also means the device can passively serve as a tool to know when your child leaves school, arrives home, is running late, or is somewhere they shouldn’t be. To that end, you need a parental control app that supports location tracking, as well as geo-fencing. There’s no shortage of them but Famisafe stands out.

Famisafe: A reliable parent control app

Famisafe is a parental control app that’s available for both Android and iOS devices. It offers active location monitoring with geo-fenced alerts, control over which apps are installed on a child’s device, which websites can be visited, and block inappropriate apps. In addition to keeping kids safe, the app also allows parents to restrict how often a child uses their device, set a device usage schedule, and also detect if a child is receiving inappropriate or potentially dangerous text messages.

Famisafe lets you add multiple devices to a single parent account allowing you to use a single app and account to monitor multiple devices.

Location tracking

With Famisafe, parents can add several locations that are ‘safe’, and these locations can all be geo-fenced. Geo-fencing creates a smart, location based alert that tells you when a child arrives or leaves a location. You can add as many locations as you want for a device and also view a child’s current location. In addition to reporting location, the app can tell you if the monitored device is charged and how much battery it has.

App restrictions

App restrictions are available for Android devices and they allow you to add any app to the restricted list. These apps can not be installed from the Google Play store. For apps that you do allow on a child’s, you set limits on how long a particular app can be used and get a report of which apps your child uses the most.

Content blocking

Famisafe offers several different ways to block and monitor content on a child’s device. It can block any domain that you enter, and it has special content restrictions that can be applied to YouTube content. It can also keep an eye on the photos that are saved to a device and alert you if they contain nudity.

Additionally, the app can monitor messaging apps such as the SMS/MMS app on your child’s device, and other messengers such as Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. Lastly, it allows you to connect social media accounts for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, among others to keep a check on what kind of content a child is interacting with.

The app has its own checks on what it is and isn’t appropriate content however, you can add certain keywords which, when detected in any content that is being viewed on a child’s device, will block said content immediately.

Device usage restrictions

Device restrictions allow parents to limit when a child can use the device. The restrictions will lock the device when the allotted time has been used up.

There’s also a smart schedule feature that lets you set school, study, and play times. You can then use times to set restrictions on device usage for those particular periods.

Pricing

Famisafe is a service and as such, you need to purchase a subscription for it. All subscriptions allow you to add as many devices to it as you need. The different pricing plans that are available allow you to manage your subscription according to your budget. Annual and quarterly plans offer the service at a much cheaper per-month rate while the monthly plan costs more.

Note: AddictiveTips readers get a 20% discount with Coupon code SENFSOFF from the prices below.

Limitations

Famisafe covers all the bases when it comes to providing a comprehensive tool to parents for keeping a child safe however, it has limitations on iOS device. These limitations are a direct result of how iOS is built. There are certain components of the OS that lock other apps from managing it hence, web restrictions can only be applied to Safari, and apps cannot be blocked. iOS does have its own parental control features and they can fill in some of these gaps.

How it works

Famisafe requires that you install the app on both your own device, and each device that you want to monitor. The devices are then connected via the parent phone. Restrictions on the device are applied from a parent’s device however, some settings do have to be managed on the child’s device. These include giving the app access to location data, as well as Accessibility access in case of Android devices. All this requires is enabling a few switches in the Settings app and Famisafe guides you through the process.

Set-up is simple requiring little more than knowledge on how to download and install apps from the App Store or the Google Play store. To keep a child from making modifications to the restrictions, a PIN can be set up to lock the access to the app.

Famisafe not only gives parents a simple, intuitive way to monitor a child’s device, it also makes it simple to set everything up. You won’t find yourself struggling with complicated settings on the device to get the app and its features to work. Likewise, making modifications is easy as is adding restrictions or flexibility to how your child uses their device.

Read Famisafe: Get advanced parental controls with active location monitoring and activity alerts by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter