Background Check

NEW YORK STATE COURT ADMINISTRATION CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD SEARCH

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The New York State Office of Court Administration (OCA) provides a New York Statewide criminal history record search for a fee of $95.00. You can submit a criminal history record search request via our on-line Direct Access program or by mailing in a CHRS application form. The search criteria are strictly based on an exact match of Name and DOB (variations of Name or DOB are not reported). Background checks for companies are also part of the criminal history record search program. The search results are public records relating to open/pending and convictions in criminal cases originating from County/Supreme, City, Town, and Village courts of all 62 counties. Sealed records are not disclosed. 

The New York Statewide CHRS report has the following limitations and restrictions:

  • The report does not include Family, Civil, or Federal court case information.  The NY Statewide criminal history record search Report is based on an ‘exact match’ of Name and DOB. Any ‘variation’ of the individual’s Name and DOB is not considered a match.  The report is subject to non-disclosure of certain case dispositions due to NYS Office of Court Administration’s policies (e.g., Misdemeanor Redemption, non-criminal offense cases) or sealed records under NYS law. Town Court and Village Court disposition data is not available for the period May 1991 through 2002. As of May 2007, all Town and Village Courts report to OCA. Town and Village disposition data from 2002 through 2007 is limited. In accordance with the Youthful Offender Legislation CPL720.15(1), the NY Statewide criminal history record search report will not report pending criminal cases categorized as Youthful Offender Eligible.  Criminal cases ‘Transferred’ or ‘Removed’ (CPL 725) to Family Court are not reported.  Please be advised: The NY Statewide criminal history record search Report reflects ‘electronic data’ furnished to the NYS Office of Court Administration (OCA). Occasionally, critical information is not reflected in the transmission to OCA, which will result in an error in the criminal history record search Report.  The NY Statewide criminal history record search report is not a nationwide background check.  The NY Statewide criminal history record search report is not an FBI background search check.  The report does not include case dispositions for ‘non-criminal offenses’ (e.g., Violations, Infractions).  The report does not include case dispositions for individuals whose only conviction was a single misdemeanor more than ten years prior to the date of request (Misdemeanor Redemption Policy).  We do not disclose records sealed under CPL 160.59. Click the ‘Criminal Records and Sealing’ link on our home page for more information about records with no more than two misdemeanor convictions OR one. misdemeanor and one felony conviction for possible eligibility.  The results of the NYS / criminal history record search is not certified.  Cases appearing solely with charges that do not result in fingerprinting (e.g., Violations, Infractions, Unclassified Misdemeanors -UM) are not reflected on an individual’s NYS Criminal History Report (i.e., Rap Sheet), and are similarly not generated as part of the NYS Office of Court Administration’s criminal history record search Report.  In accordance with the NYS Law regarding missing dispositions, the NY Statewide criminal history record search report will not report cases where there is no final disposition in the case and there has been no activity on the case for the prior 5 years from the date the report is run unless there is an open warrant for that person’s arrest.  In accordance with the NYS Law regarding marijuana regulation, as of 8/28/2019, the NY Statewide criminal history record search report will no longer report a criminal history for any individual with a conviction of PL §§ 221.10, unless there were additional fingerprinted charges on the same docket that are either pending or resulted in a conviction. We are in the process of conforming our system to reflect the changes mandated by CPL 160.50 (5)(k) and are developing rules to ensure that no criminal history report will contain information regarding a conviction of PL §§ 221.10 or PL §§ 221.05.

Procedure and related information are as follows:

  1. Submit your request electronically by using our online Direct Access application. Requests submitted via the Direct Access application reporting ‘No Results Found’ are returned in Real-Time. Check the Direct Access page for more information.  OR
  2. Complete the criminal history record search  Application Form. Indicate name, address. phone number, and other related information of the person or company submitting the form.
  3. Include the individual’s full name and date of birth you want searched. Applications with unclear or omitted information will be rejected. Each alias and each date of birth is counted as an additional search.
  4. The results of this process are NOT certified and should not be confused with a “Certificate of Disposition” which can only be issued by the court of original jurisdiction.
  5. criminal history record search results are verified, reviewed, amended, if necessary, and emailed to our customers the following business day – 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Monday through Friday. Please note that the entire search request is withheld for review if one or more names result in a record.

PROGRAM FEE

The fee is $95.00 for a Statewide search. Please make checks or money orders payable to the N.Y.S. Office of Court Administration. Cash will not be accepted. A $20.00 returned check charge will be imposed on items returned by the bank.

FILING INSTRUCTIONS

Applications may be mailed to, or filed in person weekdays 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at:

criminal history record search

NYS Office of Court Administration

Office of Administrative Services

criminal history record search

25 Beaver Street (Room 840 – Front Desk)

New York, NY 10004

CHRS@nycourts.gov

Applications hand-delivered are, in most cases, completed within the next business day.

Applications filed by mail must include a self-addressed postage-paid envelope to receive the criminal history search results. Upon receipt, these requests are also processed within the next business day.

PICK-UP INSTRUCTIONS 

Hand-delivered applications for subsequent pick up must include a self-addressed envelope indicating “Hold For Pick-Up.” Blank application forms can be picked up at the same address listed above between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

 RESULTS

The results of the search can be picked up, mailed (include a self-addressed stamped envelope) or emailed (include an email address on the application form.)

SEARCH INQUIRIES 

Inquiries regarding criminal disposition data should be directed to OCA’s Criminal History Record Search Unit at (212) 428-2943 between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD SEARCH FAQs

What information is required when conducting a criminal history record search (CHRS)?

The NYS Office of Court Administration (OCA) requires the individual’s full First Name (minimum of one character), full Last Name, and Date of Birth.

How does OCA’s criminal history record search program work?

need to have the individual’s full name and DOB. You can submit your search via OCA’s online application called Direct Access or you can complete the criminal history record search application form which can be downloaded from the NYS Courts website (www.nycourts.gov/apps/chrs.) Submit the application with a check or money order made out to the NYS Office of Court Administration. The search mechanism is based on finding an EXACT match of the actual name and date of birth of the individual searched. The individual’s middle initial is not used as part of the search mechanism. Any variation of either the Name or DOB in the database is not considered a match and is not reported. Searches can also be requested for business entities.

What is Direct Access?

Direct Access is the NYS Office of Court Administration’s (OCA) online criminal history record search program. NY Statewide criminal background checks can be requested online 24 hours a day, seven days a week with payment either by e-check or credit/debit card. For more information, visit our website at: www.nycourts.gov/apps/chrs.

Typically, the criminal history record search – Direct Access results are returned in a timely fashion. If I don’t get results in a few hours, should I just resubmit?

not resubmit previously sent requests without checking the ‘RECEIPTS’ link in Direct Access. This link displays the status of previous search requests during the last six months including your current request. If the status of your current request reflects it’s in the ‘PROCESSING’ stage, this means the outcome of the search needs to be reviewed and upon completion will be e-mailed to you. If, however, you don’t see any activity, contact the criminal history record search Unit.

If while submitting a criminal background check via Direct Access and I experience a system or technical error, should I resubmit the request?

you experience a problem while submitting a search request due to a system error, do not resubmit your request. Contact the criminal history record search Unit so we can research the problem and inform you of the status of your request.

How many counties are included in the New York Statewide search?

All of the State’s 62 counties. Individual electronic county searches are not provided.

What kind of information is included in the statewide search?

Conviction and pending records as it relates to felony and misdemeanor cases originating in Town and Village Courts, City, and County/Supreme Courts. Sealed records are not reported. As of July 20, 2007, data relating to noncriminal offenses (e.g., violations, infractions) will no longer appear as part of the criminal history record search Report. Cases processed in Town/Village Courts from 1991 to 2002 are not part of the NYS Office of Court Administration’s criminal disposition database. criminal history record search report may not report cases where there is no final disposition in the case and there has been no activity on the case for the prior 5 years from the date the report is run, unless there is an open warrant for that person’s arrest.  This is part of a phased-in reporting change as the Unified Court System conforms its records to meet NYS law. The changes will be fully effective as of April 1, 2020.

Why does OCA not provide information on violations and infractions?

As a result of a recent case filed in a New York court, the Unified Court System has reviewed its policy regarding the contents of criminal history summaries that it provides to individuals and businesses upon their request and for a fee. The review has resulted in a change of policy to the extent that the summaries provided will report only convictions on charges that New York State law regards as crimes. Crimes are defined by New York State law as including misdemeanors and felonies only. Convictions on offenses classified as violations and infractions which are not crimes as defined by New York State law will no longer be reported unless the criminal history summary includes a misdemeanor or felony conviction for the same event.

Can courts request additional fees from customers who are pursuing incomplete case information reported via the criminal history record search program?

The New York (OCA) Statewide criminal history record search program provides an ‘electronic’ search of the NYS Court’s criminal disposition database reporting the latest information supplied by the courts. If the criminal history record search report is incomplete and the customer decides to contact the court for additional information, the court, observing their individual operating guidelines, may legitimately request additional fees and instruct you to submit your inquiry by mail.

What does it mean when a charge appears on the criminal history record search report with the notation ”NO DESCRIPTION AVAILABLE?”

This means the charge displayed is not part of OCA”s charge dictionary. You can contact the court for the charge description or you can access the New State Assembly’s website at: www.assembly.state.ny.us/leg (click “New York State Laws.) This site also includes NYC Administrative Codes.

How far back are cases searched in each respective county?

Refer to OCA’s C.R.I.M.S (County) Data Chart

How often are cases updated?

Within New York City, cases are updated approximately every 24 hours and outside NYC an average of once a week.

Is there a website with court addresses and phone numbers?

Yes. The New York State Court’s website: www.nycourts.gov/courts has information that provides court addresses and phone numbers.

What is the criminal history record search turnaround time for results?

CHRS requests submitted by mail, in person, or via Direct Access is typically completed by the next business day.

How are dual or hyphenated surnames processed through the CHRS program?

Names searched with a dual (e.g., Garcia Rivera, James) or hyphenated (e.g., Garcia-Rivera, James) surname will generate the following variations: with a hyphen (e.g., Garcia-Rivera), with a space (e.g., Garcia Rivera), and dual names together (e.g., Garcia Rivera) Dual surnames are not automatically reconfigured and searched in its single format (e.g., Garcia-Rivera, James searched as Garcia, James, and Rivera, James.)

How are dual first names processed through the criminal history record search program?

Dual ‘first’ names are processed the same as ‘dual’ surnames.

How are surnames appearing with an apostrophe processed through the criminal history record search program?

Names searched with surnames appearing with an apostrophe (e.g., O’Donahue) will generate the following variations: with an apostrophe (e.g., O’Donahue), with a space (e.g., O Donahue), and surname intact (e.g., Donahue.)

How are names appearing with a suffix (e.g., Jr., III) processed through the criminal history record search program?

Names searched with a suffix will prompt the following variations: with a suffix as entered (e.g., John Smith Jr.) and without (e.g., John Smith.) However, names searched without a suffix will not generate names appearing with a suffix in the database.

Our Town and Village courts criminal disposition data included in the NYS Statewide search?

NYS Town and Village court dispositions are not available for the period May 1991 through 2002. As of April 2007, all Town and Village courts report to OCA. All-City and County/Supreme courts, within the 62 counties, are required to report criminal disposition data to the NYS Office of Court Administration.

Are the criminal history record search results provided by the Office of Court Administration certified?

No. However, you can contact the court of origination and request a Certificate of Disposition for a nominal fee. A Certificate of Disposition is an official court document affixed with the Court Seal reflecting the disposition of the case. Court Locations and phone numbers are available on the New York State Court’s website: www.nycourts.gov/courts.

For more information on criminal records search, contact Undisputed Legal our skip trace service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

What You Should Know About Background Checks

When making personnel decisions — including hiring, retention, promotion, and reassignment — employers sometimes want to consider applicants’ and employees’ backgrounds. For example, some employers might try to find out about the person’s work history, education, criminal record, financial history, medical history, or social media use. Except for certain restrictions related to medical and genetic information (see below), it’s not illegal for an employer to ask questions about an applicant’s or employee’s background or require a background check.

However, any time you use an applicant’s or employee’s background information to make an employment decision, you must comply with federal laws that protect applicants and employees from discrimination regardless of how you got the information. That includes discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), and age (40 or older). These laws are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

In addition, when you run background checks through a company in the business of compiling background information, you must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces the FCRA. This publication explains how to comply with both the federal nondiscrimination laws and the FCRA. It’s also a good idea to review your state and municipality’s laws regarding background reports or information because some states and municipalities regulate the use of that information for employment purposes.

Before You Order Background Information 

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

In all cases, make sure that you’re treating everyone equally. It’s illegal to check applicants’ and employees’ backgrounds when that decision is based on a person’s race, national origin, color, sex, religion, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), or age (40 or older). For example, asking only people of a certain race about their financial histories or criminal records is evidence of discrimination.

Except in rare circumstances, don’t try to get an applicant’s or employee’s genetic information, including family medical history. Even if you have that information, don’t use it to make an employment decision. (For more information about this law, see the EEOC’s publications explaining the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act or GINA.) Don’t ask any medical questions before a conditional job offer has been made. If the person has already started the job, don’t ask medical questions unless you have objective evidence that they cannot do the job or pose a safety risk because of a medical condition.

Federal Trade Commission

If you get background information (for example, a credit or criminal background report) from a company in the business of compiling background information, there are additional procedures the FCRA requires beforehand:

● Tell the applicant or employee you might use the information for decisions about his or her employment.

This notice must be in writing and a stand-alone format. The notice can’t be in an employment application. You can include some minor additional information in the notice (like a brief description of the nature of consumer reports), but only if it doesn’t confuse or detract from the notice.

  • If you are asking a company to provide an “investigative report” – a report based on personal interviews concerning a person’s character, general reputation, personal characteristics, and lifestyle – you must also tell the applicant or employee of his or her right to a description of the nature and scope of the investigation.
  • Get the applicant’s or employee’s written permission to do the background check. This can be part of the document you use to notify the person you will get the report. If you want the authorization to allow you to get background reports throughout the person’s employment, make sure you say so clearly and conspicuously.
  • Certify to the company from which you are getting the report that you:
  • notified the applicant and got their permission to get a background report;
  • complied with all of the FCRA requirements; and

● won’t discriminate against the applicant or employee or otherwise misuse the information to violate federal or state equal opportunity laws or regulations.

Use of Background Information 

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Any background information you receive from any source must not be used to discriminate in violation of federal law. This means that you should:

● Apply the same standards to everyone, regardless of their race, national origin, color, sex, religion, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), or age (40 or older). For example, if you don’t reject one ethnicity with certain financial histories or criminal records, you can’t reject applicants of other ethnicities because they have the same or similar financial histories or criminal records.

  • Take special care when basing employment decisions on background problems that may be more common among people of a certain race, color, national origin, sex, or religion; among people who have a disability; or among people age 40 or older. For example, employers should not use a policy or practice that excludes people with certain criminal records if the policy or practice significantly disadvantages individuals of a particular race, national origin, or another protected characteristic, and does not accurately predict who will be a responsible, reliable, or safe employee. In legal terms, the policy or practice has a “disparate impact” and is not “job-related and consistent with business necessity.”

● Be prepared to make exceptions for problems revealed during a background check that was caused by a disability. For example, if you are inclined not to hire a person because of a problem caused by a disability, you should allow the person to demonstrate their ability to do the job – despite the negative background information – unless doing so would cause significant financial or operational difficulty.

Federal Trade Commission

When taking an adverse action (for example, not hiring

an applicant or firing an employee) based on background information obtained through a company in the business of compiling background information, the FCRA has additional requirements:

  • Before you take an adverse employment action, you must give the applicant or employee:
  • a notice that includes a copy of the consumer report you relied on to make your decision; and

● a copy of “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act,” which you should have received from the company that sold you the report.

By giving the person the notice in advance, the person can review the report and explain any negative information.

  • After you take an adverse employment action, you must tell the applicant or employee (orally, in writing, or electronically):
  • that he or she was rejected because of information in the report;
  • the name, address, and phone number of the company that sold the report;
  • that the company selling the report didn’t make the hiring decision and can’t give specific reasons for it; and

● He or she has a right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of the report and get an additional free report from the reporting company within 60 days.

Disposing of Background Information

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Any personnel or employment records you make or keep (including all application forms, regardless of whether the applicant was hired and other records related to hiring) must be preserved for one year after the records were made or after a personnel action was taken, whichever comes later. (The EEOC extends this requirement to two years for educational institutions and state and local governments. The Department of

Labor also extends this requirement to two years for federal contractors with at least 150 employees and a government contract of at least $150,000.) If the applicant or employee files a charge of discrimination, you must maintain the records until the case is concluded.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Once you’ve satisfied all applicable recordkeeping requirements, you may dispose of any background reports

you received. However, the law requires that you dispose

of the reports – and any information gathered from them

– securely. That can include burning, pulverizing, or shredding paper documents and disposing of electronic information so that it can’t be read or reconstructed.

For information on background checks, contact a skip trace service call (800) 774-6922; representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!