Many states have a database of statewide criminal background check records that are limited to conviction searches, oftentimes these databases only contain certain types of background check records like convictions, some are only felonies while others may contain both felonies and misdemeanors. These databases may also be limited to certain time periods. There are a number of states that do not maintain a state level system, but a county level system instead. Checking these systems can be more time consuming and more costly, but they generally provide better and more reliable information. This is especially important for employers who are running pre-employment screenings and background checks.
Knowing the difference between criminal background check records that are limited to criminal convictions, and often time just to felony criminal convictions from a limited number of counties, when compared to a complete search of all criminal background check records available is the difference between hiring or engaging with dangerous or actually having the peace of mind that cleared them appropriately.
Important: Please understand that there are many websites offering "Instant Nationwide Background Check Records" access. The truth is, they are selling you only the limited free criminal records that are available for their software to scrape the data from. They have a disclaimer on their site and in their acceptance policy that basically hides that fact that they are giving you far less than a "Nationwide" search. In case you were wondering, yes that is legal to do. Also, these instant software based searches regularly deliver inaccurate information, particularly when you are searching for records on someone with a common name. The bottom line is that you cannot rely on what they deliver. If they give you an all clear report, you cannot safely rely on it.