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New York Background Checks

New York background check, including criminal records, incarceration records, and inmate records

State Office

Background checks in New York are conducted by the Unified Court System, Office of Court Administration (OCA). The OCA is the central repository for all criminal records in New York state, including arrest records, convictions and dispositions. New York background checks may be obtained by anyone, as New York is an open records state. However, only public records will be returned to individuals seeking criminal history information on others. Only authorized criminal justice agencies may receive a complete criminal history.

A New York background check is performed as a name-based search only. Open or public records included in criminal history reports are any open or pending criminal records plus any convictions of felonies or misdemeanors. Non-criminal infractions and violations are no longer included in the results. A New York criminal background check searches records from all city, town and village courts, plus county and supreme courts in 62 counties. However, certain town and village criminal records are included after 2007, but were not reported between the years 1991 and 2002. Any criminal records from town or village courts between those years are only available through the individual court.

Steps for Retriving a New York Background Check

Step 1

Download the Criminal History Record Search Application Form.

Step 2

Fill out the form, making sure the name is spelled correctly and the date of birth is correct.

Step 3

Mail the form, along with the fee, to the address listed and include a self-addressed stamped envelope for results.

Step 4

Or, bring the completed form and fee to the OCA in person. You can pick up the results usually by the next business day.

Step 5

You may also include an email address when you either drop off or mail the form, and results of the New York background check can be emailed to you.

New York Background Check Special Notes

Background checks in New York are designed to return only exact matches to the full name and date of birth entered on the Criminal History Record Search Application Form. This means that name variations will be discounted, and criminal records filed under an alias won’t be returned. Multiple searches can be performed, especially if any alias or former name is known, to make sure nothing is missed. However, name-based searches are still less reliable than a fingerprint search. Businesses who routinely conduct New York background checks may use Direct Access, OCA’s online criminal history database. This is still a name-based search, and businesses must apply to gain access and use it frequently enough to maintain an active account.

Record request form

Individuals who wish to obtain a New York criminal background check must fill out the following application form: New York Unified Court System Criminal History Record Search Application Form.