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What Exactly Are Criminal Records - And How Are They Used?

  • August 21, 2006
  • by PInow Staff

A recent arrest in Colorado shows how fallible criminal records searches can be - and why hiring a professional investigator to run a criminal records search is the best option.

When running a criminal background check, if you are searching records only in your state, you may not be getting the whole story.

In July 2006, convicted sex offender Jermaine Vaden was arrested in Aurora, Colorado for assaulting a minor. Vaden was working as a city worker at the time of the incident and had a previous conviction for sex offenses against minors in Oklahoma. The state laws did not require a criminal check to be run on Vaden because his job did not put him into direct contact with money or children, but he met his victim while working for the city, prompting many to request changes in the way background checks are run.

Following Vaden's arrest, tough new laws require all city workers in Aurora to undergo nationwide background checks. That's because a routine background and criminal check then required of some potential city employees would not have revealed Vaden's criminal background outside of Colorado.

Checks of criminal records are meant to help uncover a criminal past that may affect someones ability to do their current job. Criminal records give a record of someone's arrest and conviction. In some cases, they provide the initial charge and what the final charge and findings of the court were. Criminal records can include misdemeanor charges, felonies, and other charges. Some criminal record searches go back ten years while others go back just a few years.

As the case of Vaden reveals, though, criminal records do not always give a full view of someones past. Consider:

  • Someone may have sealed, juvenile, or international records that do not come up on a typical criminal search.

  • Someone may have been able to have charges dropped, even on repeat offenses. Someone may have committed a crime but may have had good lawyers who were able to defend them. Since not guilty verdicts and dropped charges do not appear on all records, you may not get the full story on a troubled criminal past without a private investigator to help you get at the truth.

  • An individual may use aliases, making criminal records harder to find. Some offenders also move around and legally change their names in order to start over. A private investigator can tell you whether someone has changed their name to hide a shady past.

  • Many errors show up in criminal databases and records, which can affect criminal record investigations. Inaccuracies, data entry mistakes, and confusion over similar names and name spellings are problems that are more common than you may think.

What can I do?

Searching criminal records is a lot more complicated than many online services would have you believe. Professional researchers sometimes spend months or years learning how to run criminal record checks that get real results. Professional investigators subscribe to data and resources that the general public cannot legally access.

If you want to know the truth, you simply have to hire a professional investigator to help you. Luckily, this is simpler than you may think, thanks to the worldwide directory, which lets you search for local, experienced investigators that have the exact qualifications you need. Visit online at (

About ( is a Worldwide Directory of Private Investigators that enables law firms, corporations, and the general public to find investigators anywhere. strives to be the most trusted resource on the web to locate qualified investigators. All investigators listed on are pre-screened and must meet specific listing requirements. was developed by the team that brought you the Process Servers Directory (

Visit to find investigators who can help with all your investigation needs.

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