Whether it’s for business or personal reasons, obtaining a Maryland background check is a relatively straightforward process, thanks to the state’s organization of criminal records. Using the MD state database’s search tools delivers full results, allowing comprehensive background checks to be performed quickly.
How to Search Maryland State Database for Background Check Reports
Performing a Maryland background check is a slightly different process compared to many other states. In Maryland, all criminal background check requests are made through the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
Obtaining a full criminal background check in Maryland, generally requires the fingerprints of the individual.
For example if an individual is required by their employer to pass a background check as a condition of their employment, the employer will provide a “fingerprint card”, which will be given to the state of Maryland.
The Criminal Justice Information System will then perform the fingerprint-based background check using the person’s criminal identification records and criminal history records that are maintained through the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
Performing Criminal Record Checks in Maryland
For businesses that wish to run criminal background checks on their employees, the state of Maryland requires they fill out a Private Party Petition Packet, in order to perform criminal background checks on their employees.
Obtaining Public Records
Although obtaining an official criminal background check in the state of Maryland is a somewhat lengthy and tedious process, there are several ways individuals may obtain public records that show up on a background check. In Maryland, some records are not available to the public without special circumstances that usually involve a court order to make the records public. Those records include:
- Guardianship terminating parental rights
- Juvenile Delinquency
- Child in need of assistance cases
- Certain marriage license information
- Emergency mental health evaluations
- Income tax returns
- Certain Financial Statements
- Certain Physician Reports
- Reports filed by a guardian concerning property of an alleged disabled adult
All other court records should be accessible at the courthouse where the case was heard or through the Maryland Judiciary Case Search online database. Either option will provide the background check information needed.
Obtaining Court Records in Person
Individuals seeking specific court documents should be able to obtain the documents from the courthouse where the case was held. The steps to obtain these documents are outlined below.
Step 1. Obtain information on the courthouse where the case was heard and the case number.
Court records that are held in person are only held at the courthouse where the case was heard, so finding out where the case was held is paramount. In order to obtain specific documents, the case number will also be necessary, so that the court clerk can locate the specific case.
If the case number is not known, the clerk’s office may be able to locate the case if provided with details about the case, mainly the names of those involved.
The case number can also be searched using the Maryland Judiciary Case Search, which is outlined below.
Step 2. Request specific documents from the court.
When the case number and courthouse location has been identified, calling the courthouse to ensure they have the document should be the next step. Although not totally necessary, this will ensure the courthouse has the documents being requested and has access to them.
A courthouse directory with contact information for courts in the state of Maryland can be found here.
Step 3. Wait for results and pay a fee for any copies requested
When obtaining court documents in person, the requested documents will be available immediately. Should copies be requested, a small fee must be paid to obtain the copies.
Using the Maryland Judiciary Case Search
The Maryland judiciary case search can be used to find most court documents from the state of Maryland.
Step 2. Read and agree to the terms of the Maryland Judiciary Case Search Disclaimer
When accessing the website for the first time, visitors must click the ‘I agree’ box at the bottom of the page, in order to acknowledge the liability agreement and to perform their search.
Step 3. Fill out the provided form
Once the terms have been agreed to, a form will be provided where visitors can enter in information on the case that is being searched. There are options to search by name, case number, or to search a range of dates and types of cases to narrow a search, if the visitor is unsure of certain information regarding the case.
The more information entered will deliver greater results.
Step 4. Click submit and obtain instant results
Once the proper information has been entered, the results should be available immediately. As is the case with in-person requests, copies of the documents require a small fee which is payable through the website.
The records that populate on the results page include:
- Case Number
- Name, and other information entered y the search tool
- Party Type (whether the person was a defendant or plaintiff)
- Court where the case was heard
- Case type
- Case status
- Filing Date
- Case Caption, which is a snippet of the case filed
In the example search, John Jay Smith was a defendant in a “CN” case “SANDALWOOD CO-OP, INC vs SMITH, JOHN JAY.” The case has been closed.
Case type codes for Maryland can be found here, and in the example case, the code CN indicated “criminal non-traffic”.
Common case type codes include:
- CN: Criminal Non traffic
- CD: DUI Citation
- CF: Criminal felony
PC: Probable Cause
- SC: Small Claims
District Court Case Records
In addition to the abbreviations listed above, background check reports in Maryland often also include district court records, which contain “event codes”. These codes are used by court clerks to classify various infractions and the resolution involved.
Maryland Criminal Event Codes
Maryland Event Codes Traffic
Maryland Civil Event History Codes
When searching court records in Maryland, these codes can vary by jurisdiction, but in general, follow the outlines provided.
Other Public Records Search Options
Many background checks examine other areas of life, in addition to criminal records. Maryland provides options for searching these records online. Similar databases exist that can help individuals search for other public documents.
For searches pertaining to Estate records, the Maryland Estate Search database can be used in a similar fashion to the Judiciary Case Search. It is maintained by the Maryland Register of Wills.
Simply agree to the disclaimer and fill out the form to perform a search of the database.
The search tool provides online access to records dating from 1998, but other counties in the state have included records that go even further back. The state provides additional information about the Estate types listed and other frequently asked questions on their website.
Find Land Records in Maryland
For land records in the state of Maryland, the land records search can be used to find information on property in the state of Maryland. The process is similar to the aforementioned databases, although the creation of an account is required to use this particular database.
Land record searches are particularly helpful when searching for someone’s middle name, if the person has paid property taxes in the state.
County Clerk Public Records Search Options
If all else fails, contacting the local clerk’s office for the circuit court is a great starting point to help find specific public records, even if the county clerk does not have access to those records they are generally capable of discerning where those records are held and can direct individuals to the proper channels.
Information on specific Maryland county clerk contact information can be found below.
What Do Maryland Criminal Records Checks Include?
Maryland criminal background checks that are performed through the state are fairly inclusive. A state-level fingerprint-based check will include the following information.
- Criminal Registry check
- Sex Offender Registry check
- Child abuse and neglect registry
- FBI fingerprint check (National criminal check)
- Criminal registry check for any state that the subject has resided in during the last 5 years.
- Sex Offender registry check in previous residence states.
- Child abuse and neglect registry in previous residence states
Other Criminal Record Check Options
Aside from going through the official state background check procedure, there are several other options to check specific criminal history information for a background check, Maryland.
The Maryland sex offender registry can be checked independently from a full criminal background check. Information and a link to a searchable registry can be found here. Steps to search the registry are outlined below.
Step 1. Read the disclaimer, agree to the terms and click ‘search the registry’
A typical disclaimer of liability must be read and agreed to before performing a search of the sex offender registry. The disclaimer mentions that there is a possibility of the information being provided to be inaccurate in some cases.
However, these inaccuracies would be caused by a sex offender not notifying the state of Maryland of moving residences. Due to potential inaccuracies the department suggests taking precautions, even if a search does not turn up any results.
Step 2. Search for Offenders
At the top of the page is a link to search for offenders. Offenders can be searched by name, should the name of a specific offender or suspicious person be known.
There are also options to search a radius around a specific address for any offenders in the area. Finally, there is an option to search for offenders within a specific city in the state of Maryland.
Simply enter the requested information for each option to obtain the search results
Step 3. Set up email alerts (if needed)
The Maryland sex offender search registry website also has the option for visitors to enter in their email address so that they can be notified if a sex offender moves into a specific area.
Simply provide an address and the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services will send an email if a sex offender moves near the address provided. Keep in mind that this information can only be provided if the sex offender notifies the state of Maryland of their movement.
Maryland Background Check Laws and Regulations
Maryland has several unique laws regarding background checks and criminal history checks. Many of these laws and restrictions impact the way employers can access background check information on their employees and what they are allowed to do with this information.
Credit Reporting Agencies in the state of Maryland must register with the state at the start of each year in order to perform a Maryland background check. There are also laws that govern what information that credit reporting agencies are allowed to disclose.
For a Maryland background check, seven years is the furthest that a background check can go. The law dictates that any criminal history such as convictions, civil lawsuits, or arrests of any kind can not be reported by CRA’s if they occurred more than seven years ago.
The state of Maryland does have exceptions to this seven year limit, in particular if the position that is being applied for has an annual salary above $200,000 then any criminal activity, even if it occurred more than 7 years ago, can be reported on a Maryland background check.
Finally, bankruptcies can be reported by a CRA, if it occurred in the last 10 years.
There are also standard laws in effect in Maryland that require written consent from an employee for a background check to be run on them.
Credit Report Checks
In Maryland, although employers are free to request a credit report on an employee, they can not do so until the applicant is officially an employee.
Furthermore, the credit report can not be used to make decisions involving the compensation of the employee or to terminate an employee’s employment.
There are also some exceptions to the laws involving an applicant’s credit history. For example, certain jobs that involve access to sensitive financial documents and information can be subject to termination etc. based on the results of the credit report.
How Long Does a Maryland Background Check Take?
As in most cases, the length of a Maryland background check will depend largely on the nature of the background check. While education and employment verification can be completed in a matter of days or sometimes hours, some checks can take longer.
Certain aspects of a background check, such as checking a sex offender registry can also be very quick, sometimes being completed in as little as a few hours.
Fingerprint-based checks done through the state of Maryland and the FBI tend to take the longest. Since the fingerprints are generally mailed to the appropriate agencies, shipping time becomes a factor in addition to the check itself.
The state of Maryland warns users to expect at least 14 days for a fingerprint analysis and criminal background check to be completed. More information on background checks completed by the DPSCS can be found on their website.
How Much Does a Background Check In Maryland Cost?
Many people wonder if they can get a free Maryland background check performed. An employment and criminal background check that is requested through the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services costs $18 per person. This is a state level background check that will check any criminal information from the state of Maryland, but not on the national level.
For a fingerprint-based check that is a national check performed by the FBI, an additional $20 per person is required to perform the test. Generally, employers that are doing a full criminal background check will require both of these tests to be performed, bringing the total cost to about $38. Others can apply for free background check options from reputable sites, which will usually offer the criminal history check for a trial period before requiring a subscription.
Using the Maryland state database search is the quickest way to obtain background information on an individual and find public records. Obtaining a Maryland background check through the DPSCS is designed to both protect employers and individuals, and is an excellent tool to use in order to run a background check on yourself.