Arkansas Background Check

What is a Background Check in Arkansas?

A background check or background investigation in Arkansas is the process of researching and compiling past information on an individual. This information is usually gleaned from public records held by government organizations and departments. They include arrest records (warrants, felony, and misdemeanor charges, incarcerations, sex offenses), vital records (marriage and divorce records, birth and death certificates, civil court hearings), property records (owned property, estimated values, purchased goods used as collateral), background check records (bankruptcy records, places of residence, occupancies at that residence, and how long people lived there).

FCRA Compliance in Arkansas Background Checks

An official background check must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA is a federal law enacted to protect consumers against misinformation. It also protects the privacy and accuracy of background checks and ultimately ensures that subjects of information are treated fairly. In other words, the law compels FCRA-compliant data collection agencies to present up-to-date information on subjects of background checks consistently. Apart from this, data mining agencies must inform subjects about the source of information, use the data collected, and meet other FCRA requirements. The agency must also allow subjects of background checks to review the report's accuracy and contest any misinformation. Under the FCRA, a person has a right to correct inaccurate personal information that the data-mining agency provides. Parties can contact the agency responsible for the misinformation to update the details.

Interested persons can still perform background checks without FCRA compliance. Generally, this involves performing public records searches. Performing this type of search is legal per the National Freedom of Information Act and the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. However, there are restrictions on how parties can use this information. It is illegal to use the results obtained from non-FCRA compliant background checks for official purposes, such as employment screening or determining creditworthiness. Hence, parties can use non-FCRA background checks for informational purposes only.

County Infrastructure

In the United States, a county is a political and geographic subdivision of a state, usually assigned some level of governmental authority. Many counties are divided into smaller political or governmental units, which may provide governmental or public services. The importance of the county infrastructure lies in the court legal procedures and incarceration infrastructure. Most court cases in Arkansas courts begin in one of the 75 superior or trial courts located in each of the state’s 75 counties. Each county demonstrates judicial power and legal power by its courts. All small claim cases are assigned to the county courthouses, leaving them with executive power over the sentence of the case.

Incarceration Infrastructure

The Arkansas Department of Corrections is entitled to govern the majority of the imprisonment in the state of Arkansas, excluding juvenile incarceration, federal prisons, and county jails. The state of Arkansas registers 19 state prisons held by the Arkansas Department of Correction, 1 federal prison, which includes Federal Correctional Institutions, and 6 juvenile facilities held by the Arkansas Division of Juvenile Justice.

Criminal Records

A criminal record is defined as an official document that records a person’s criminal history including arrest records, warrant records, felony records, misdemeanor records, and sex offender registration information. The information is assembled and updated from local, county, and state jurisdictions, trial courts, courts of appeals as well as county and state correctional facilities. The standard for criminal record collection and storage varies from county to county, but the majority of Arkansas criminal records are organized in online record depositories that are available to the public in the form of a Criminal Background Report.+

Civil Records

A civil record is defined as the documents which keep, administrate, and maintain all records regarding a person’s most important life events. These records compile such documents as birth certificates, marriage records, divorce records, and death certificates. All the available records are gathered and stored in a permanent central registry state entity that is used to develop statistical analysis of its population presenting it to the public in a report. The records are compiled from the information presented by the bureaus of statistics and vital records, civil court cases, and vital indexes.

Bankruptcy Information

Bankruptcy is a legal status of a person or other entity that cannot repay the debts it owes to creditors. In most jurisdictions, bankruptcy is imposed by court order, often initiated by the debtor. While bankruptcy cases are always filed in United States Bankruptcy Court, an adjunct to the United States District Courts, bankruptcy cases, particularly with respect to the validity of claims and exemptions, are often dependent upon State law. The United States Code signed six types of bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Code. The most common types of personal bankruptcy for individuals are addressed in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 which compromise straight bankruptcy and Wage Earner Bankruptcy.

Why are Background Checks Available to the Public?

In late 1967, the Arkansas State Legislature passed a law named the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. This law is for the last changes in early 2000 and aims to make sure disclosure of court records and other public records to the public. Every person throughout the state can request access to all public records through the assigned specialized offices within its determined terms. The availability of the records extends to vital records, court records, criminal records, and bankruptcy information as these cases are governed by the Arkansas District Courts.

What Does Background Check Access Mean to the Public?

The law is similar to the Arkansas Open Meetings Law which monitors the methods of public meetings. These meetings are held while the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act is to guarantee that the public has access to public records of governmental bodies, and the people’s conduct within.