Can Police Run a Background Check on Anyone?


Follow Us:

Dealing with the police is often nerve-wracking, even if you are only pulled over for a simple traffic stop. It’s important to understand your personal rights when dealing with the police and what law enforcement might be able to find out about you, including when background checks are legally allowed to be performed.

Our article helps you understand more about police and when background checks are allowed, so you can start becoming informed of your rights when dealing with law enforcement.

Why Are Background Checks Important for Police?

Background checks are important for police in cases where they need more history about the person’s education, employment, or history. They may need to find records regarding criminal offenses, someone’s address history, or other personal facts that help in their investigative research as they pursue suspects of crimes. Police must know all of this information about individuals that are in custody or those that have warrants issued in their name so they know how to better handle situations to maximize the safety of everyone involved while still arresting criminal suspects.

And while many individuals may suspect that a police officer pulling you over results in a background check, this is not the truth. Police officers that conduct traffic stops are typically running your plate numbers to gain identity information and check if you have outstanding warrants. A background check is a separate search into someone’s personal and criminal history and typically requires authorization, though not always.

What Do Police Look for in Background Checks?

Police look for many different items on background checks, including criminal convictions and sentencing information, previous felonies, misdemeanors, outstanding warrants, arrest records, and vital personal information such as an address or a place of employment. Of course, all of this information is highly personal, so there are certain restrictions surrounding when police are legally allowed to run a background check on someone and how they use the information they discover.

States handle the disclosure of background information and authorization of these reports differently, so it’s important to check with the laws in your jurisdiction to see when police might be able to run a background check on you without your knowledge.

Police can’t run a background check on just anyone, and in most cases, police officers will need to have “just cause” before they perform a background check on someone without their knowledge. Of course, this depends on the specific state and federal laws and investigative procedures. However, in most states, “just cause” means that the person having their background check pulled must be under investigation or that the police officers can prove they need access to the background information. Performing a background check without just cause can result in serious legal repercussions for the police officers conducting the check.

Here are a few scenarios when police can run a background check:

  1. Investigations into a suspect believed to be connected to a crime or series of crimes
  2. Arrest warrants, prior convictions, and records need to be checked by law enforcement before other warrants are issued
  3. Information about an individual must be obtained before police can safely conduct a search or arrest warrant

So if a police officer chooses to neglect just cause and decides to check on a neighbor or someone else outside the scope of an investigation, or they use their background check privileges to stalk or harass others, they may land themselves in serious legal trouble.

Make sure that you double-check with specific state disclosure and privacy laws for more context and information about when police officers can legally run a background check.

What Should I Do if Police Ran an Unauthorized Background Check?

If you suspect that unauthorized background checks have been performed on you, you should contact a legal professional. Attorneys specializing in criminal justice and privacy laws for your state are the best option for helping you file complaints with a police station and pursuing the protection of your rights in this specific situation.

Staying Informed of Your Background

When it comes to your criminal records report, it’s important to stay informed of your rights and know when police might be able to access this information without your knowledge. As we discussed in our article, police and law enforcement officials can’t run a background check on just anyone – if you suspect this has happened to you without cause, contact a legal professional for guidance and information on what to do next.

ALSO READ: 10 Exciting Career Options after 12th Science PCM for Aspiring Youths

Picture of BusinessApac


BusinessApac shares the latest news and events in the business world and produces well-researched articles to help the readers stay informed of the latest trends. The magazine also promotes enterprises that serve their clients with futuristic offerings and acute integrity.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

More To Explore

About Us

West has been driving the business world owing to its developed economies. The leading part of the world is straining to sustain its dominance. However, the other parts of the world, especially Asia Pacific region have been displaying escalating growth in terms of business and technological advancements.

Copyright © 2022 - Business APAC. All Right Reserved.

Scroll to Top

Hire Us To Spread Your Content

Fill this form and we will call you.