MD Criminal Background Check: Maryland Criminal Records Search

Background check repair icon.Written by Background Check Repair

Criminal Records | June 8, 2023

A magnifying glass being held in front of the face of a man, while running a Maryland criminal background check, Maryland state on the left show how to get a criminal background check in Maryland (MD).

Free Maryland Criminal Background Check
Criminal Maryland background check searches all Maryland state criminal databases to find charges, convictions, warrants, arrests, court cases, infractions, and police records in Maryland.

For employers and individuals seeking a criminal background check, Maryland offers digital and online solutions to the criminal records search process.

Whether it is for business or personal reasons, MD criminal records are public, and can be obtained using the state’s database relatively easily. However, if the search is being performed for professional reasons, such as employment for a potential nanny or caregiver, Maryland laws require consent from the person being examined.

How Do I Get A Criminal Background Check in Maryland?

Criminal background checks in Maryland are generally garnered directly through the state’s  Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) portal.

Unlike many states that allow third party services to collect criminal background information, all credit reporting agencies, businesses and individuals seeking criminal background checks on another person must go through the DPSCS in one way or another to get Maryland criminal records.

When obtaining a criminal background check, Maryland also generally requires the fingerprints of the person who is being checked. When the fingerprints have been taken by one of Maryland’s authorized fingerprinting services, the fingerprints are then sent to the DPSCS, and then that agency will run a fingerprint check in their criminal database.

The fingerprints can also be sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) where they will run their own criminal background check on the fingerprints, examining a nationwide criminal database.

While the check run by the state of Maryland will only return results from the state, the FBI check is more thorough and will turn up convictions, arrest records, and any other criminal history information that occurred anywhere in the United States.

The FBI fingerprint check also has the possibility of turning up international convictions, depending on the nature of the crime and the country where the crime was committed.

Options to Obtain MD Criminal Background Check Information

There are a few other ways to obtain criminal background check information on a certain individual in the state of Maryland. Although other options do exist, it’s important to remember that a formal fingerprint-based background check through the DPSCS will be the most thorough and reliable option for finding criminal records in Maryland.

While the following information provides the state-based method, there is also the option to contact a reputable background check agency. These companies specialize in following legal public records searches, and many offer free seven day trail background checks.

Certain public information about an individual’s criminal history can also be obtained through the Clerk of the Courts. Those who wish to search Maryland court records for the background information they seek have two options which are outlined below.

Step 1. Navigate to the Maryland Judiciary Case Search website. 

The judiciary case search database can be accessed through the website of the Maryland courts. Once here, simply agree to the terms and anyone can search for court records, using basic information, including:

  • Name (First, last and middle name)
  • Case Type
  • Court System
  • County
  • Filing Date

Fingerprints are not required to perform a name-based criminal records search within the state.

Step 2. Enter the Search Info

Once the terms have been agreed to, simply fill out the provided form in order to perform the search. Some information on the case will be necessary, such as the name of the individual or courthouse where the case was heard. Users may also enter dates or case numbers to search for a specific record.

Once the search has been submitted, results are generally available immediately. To obtain copies of the search results, the state requires a small fee.

Maryland CJIS judiciary case search tool screenshot.

Anyone can search public court records in Maryland using the state’s case search tools.

Option 2: Request Records Directly

In addition to the case search website, individuals also have the option to contact the local clerk’s office to request certain records. A directory of clerk of the courts offices can be found on the Maryland courts website.

For both written and in-person requests, the individual seeking the records must first identify where the records in questions are kept. All court records are held at the courthouse where the case was heard.

To request specific records, simply contact the applicable records custodian at the clerk’s office with the relevant information for the search to be completed. Copies of the findings will require a small fee.

Maryland state police also have access to certain public records. Public Information requests can be made through the Maryland State Police, although the state police is somewhat limited in the information they are able to access for the public.

Some of the information that can be requested includes:

  • Maryland State Police Reports
  • Maryland State Police Detailed Crash Investigation Report

Any public record information pertaining to the Maryland state police is also kept by the agency and can be requested. In some cases these requests may be denied, depending on laws regarding the release of certain information to the public.

Detailed steps about how to request information from the Maryland State Police is outlined below.

Maryland Criminal History Records Search for Criminal Background Checks

In Maryland, a criminal history records check is the same as what is called a background check in most states. In Maryland, a criminal history records check is primarily used as a means of identity verification, through the use of the fingerprints provided by the individual.

This also means that the fingerprints provided to the Maryland DPSCS will be maintained and used for future identification services by the DPSCS, law enforcement agencies, as well as the FBI.

Pre-Employment Background Checks Maryland

Pre-employment background checks in Maryland can be slightly different than in other states. Since the state of Maryland has laws surrounding who is able to gather criminal history information in Maryland, obtaining a pre-employment background check requires a different process.

If the terms of employment require a background check, the following information will likely be checked as part of the process.

  • Criminal History Check
  • Identity and Education Verification
  • Employment Verification

Maryland Criminal History Check Process

The key difference in Maryland is the criminal history check, which is unique for both employers and applicants. Rather than the criminal history check being strictly name-based, as is common for most entry level job background checks, a fingerprint check is required to run a full criminal history check in Maryland.

For an employer to be authorized to perform criminal history checks on their employees, they must first complete a Private Petition Packet from the DPSCS and await approval before criminal history checks can be conducted on employees.

This rule (requiring the petition packet), however, also applies to landlords, non profit organizations, and other private individuals who need to search criminal records and run background checks for professional reasons.

There are specific steps outlined by DPSCS for obtaining a criminal background check, Maryland, both for residents of the state and non-residents. Although the same information is required for both, the steps are slightly different for those who are not current residents of the state of Maryland.

Private party appication for obtaining criminal background Check, Maryland form.

In Maryland, individuals may request criminal history information form the state, using the private party application.

For Maryland Residents

Step 1. Find an authorized fingerprinting service location.

The first step is to find a fingerprinting service location that is authorized to perform fingerprinting services by the DPSCS. Keep in mind that fingerprints taken by a non-authorized service will not be accepted by the DPSCS.

Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) and CJIS Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) office locations that perform fingerprinting services, and are currently open for fingerprinting services are listed below.

CJIS Storefront, Baltimore6776 Reistertown Rd, Suite 102, Baltimore,
CJIS MVA, Bel Air501 West MacPhail Road, Bel Air
CJIS MVA, Fredrick1601 Bowman’s Farm Road, Frederick
CJIS MVA , Glen Burnie6601 Ritchie Hwy, N.E., Glen Burnie
CJIS MVA, Waldorf11 Industrial Park Drive, Waldorf
CJIS MVA, Salisbury251 Tilghman Rd, Salisbury

Appointments are required for all of the above locations.

To make an appointment for fingerprinting services at one of the above locations, call 410-764-4501 OR 1-888-795-0011.

When performing an employment criminal background check, Maryland also allows the option to use private fingerprinting services that are authorized by the DPSCS. Note that fingerprinting services performed by private companies are not allowed for criminal justice services, although they are completely fine to use for things like pre-employment background checks.

A list of private fingerprinting services that are authorized by the Maryland DPSCS can be found here.  Each service will have its own process for making an appointment and getting fingerprinted.

Step 1. Make an Appointment.

Once the location has been identified, the next step is to make an appointment with the provider. When making the appointment, there is important information you must provide, to ensure the results are sent to the proper agency.

Besides the personal information of the individual that is being fingerprinted, the name of the agency and the authorization number must be provided to the fingerprint service as well. This is done to ensure that the agency requesting the background check has been authorized to do so by the state of Maryland.

For those required to get a criminal background check Maryland for employment reasons, the employer will provide the agency name and authorization code for this step.

Step 2. Provide Payment and Get Fingerprinted.

Once the appointment has been made the last step is to simply show up at the location and the time and day of the appointment. There are a few materials that need to be brought to the appointment in order for the process to be completed. Materials that individuals need to bring to their fingerprinting appointment are listed below.

  • For background checks that are being sent to a government agency, a Z- ORI number must be provided. This will be provided by the agency that is requesting the fingerprint check.
  • A government issued I.D.
  • A ITCD-16 form. The form needs to be printed out and filled out by the individual that is getting fingerprinted. The form can be found on the DPSCS website here.
  • Payment for the service.

How Much Does a Maryland Criminal Background Check Cost?

Payment varies depending on the type of background check that is being requested. The payment ranges from $15 to $31.25 depending on the category of check. There is also an additional payment of $20 per person required for the fingerprint services itself. More information about payment and payment categories can be found on the DPSCS website page about background checks. 

Note that if the appointment was made through a private fingerprinting service provider, the payment required will vary from company to company.

Screenshot of the Maryland public safety and correctional service website.

Fingerprinting instructions and options are explained by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

For Non-Residents

The steps required to receive an official criminal background check for those outside the state of Maryland is slightly different and requires contact with the criminal justice information system. The steps are outlined below.

Step 1. Request a Fingerprint Card

The first step is to request a fingerprint card from the Maryland Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS). This can be done via mail or by phone.

To request a fingerprint card by mail, you can write and request by sending a letter to:

P.O. Box 32708, Pikesville, Maryland, 21282-2708

To request a fingerprint card by phone, call the Criminal Justice Information System at:

410-764-4501 OR 1-888-795-0011.

Step 2. Mail the Completed Fingerprint Card to the Proper Agency

When the fingerprint card has been completed, the card itself and the proper fee should be mailed to:

P.O Box 32708, Pikesville, Maryland, 21282- 2708

Once the card has been mailed, individuals can expect a response from the CJIS within 10–15 days.

Physicians Maryland Criminal History Record Check (CHRC) Process

Obtaining a physician’s criminal history record check in Maryland uses the same process for most other agencies in the state. However, it is important to keep in mind that because CHRC information can not be shared amongst agencies, even individuals and nurses who have been fingerprinted and had a CHRC for other reasons or in another state are still required to go through the process again when transferring to Maryland.

Due to laws surrounding how the information is shared, the individual’s CHRC is only sent to the agency that requested it using the unique code given by the employer or agency requesting the check. The specific steps for obtaining a criminal history record check as part of a Maryland Board of Physicians licensure application are outlined below.

Step 1. Make an Appointment with a fingerprinting service provider. 

If making an appointment through a private agency, the following information is required to ensure that the results are sent to the proper agency. The information should be entered on the pre-registration form, which should be printed and brought to the appointment.

  • CJIS Authorization # : 1600000743
  • FBI ORI# : MD920522Z
  • Reason Fingerprinted: Professional License
  • Type: Government Licensing/ Certification

Step 2. Provide Applicable Fees, Paperwork and Fingerprints

Once the appointment has been made and the applicable information provided the only thing left to do is to provide fingerprints to the agency on the date of the appointment. The results will be gathered and automatically sent to the proper agency.

Maryland livescan application screenshot

The LiveScan pre-registration application for is used for by the Maryland CJIS CR for a number of criminal records checks.

Keep in mind, the Physicians Board only holds on to CHRC records for 90 days, should the fingerprint information be sent too early, the individual will be required to get re-fingerprinted.

Nursing Criminal History Record Check (CHRC) Process

Those applying for licenses or renewals for nursing jobs in the state of Maryland are required to submit a criminal history record check in the state of Maryland. The following individuals are required to submit a criminal history record check to the Maryland Board of Nursing.

  • Those applying for licensure for the first time
  • Those applying for renewal that has not been renewed in 12 months
  • Those who have been requested to submit a CHRC by the Nursing Board

Aside from the applicable fees, a pre-registration form needs to be completed and brought to the appointment. The nursing specific version of the form can be found on the Maryland Board of Nursing website. 

Once the fingerprints have been taken they will be sent to the proper agency. Keep in mind that the Maryland Nursing Board only holds CHRC records for 90 days, so be sure that the CHRC is not completed too early.

Maryland Board of Pharmacy Criminal Background Check Process

The Maryland Board of Pharmacy requires both state and federal background checks as part of their background check process. The process remains largely the same with the exception of ensuring that the fingerprints are also sent to the FBI as part of the federal background check.

Aside from the applicable fees, a pre-registration form needs to be completed and brought to the appointment. Be sure to fill out a pre-registration form, important information for the form should be provided by the Board of Pharmacy to ensure the results are sent to the proper agency.

Maryland’s Application to Receive Criminal History Record Information for Employment or Licensing Purposes

Obtaining criminal history record information for employment or licensing purposes is fairly simple in Maryland, and mainly requires the completion of an application form. Agencies offering the services below are required to complete an application to receive criminal history information.

  • Adult Dependent Care
  • Criminal Justice
  • Child Care
  • Government Employment
  • Government Licensing
  • Public Housing

Getting MD state criminal records graphic for various employment options, and using the state of Maryland background check dpscs portal to conduct a Maryland background check free using the criminal justice information systems Maryland.

Steps to complete the application are outlined below

Step 1. Download the Criminal History Record Information for Licensing Purposes Application.

Download and fill out all the required fields for the application.

Step 2. Return the Completed Application to CJIS Central Repository

The completed application can be faxed to:


The completed application can be mailed to:

Criminal Justice Information System – Central Repository
P.O. Box 32708
Pikesville Maryland 21282-2708

The completed application can be delivered to:

Criminal Justice Information – Central Repository
6776 Reisterstown Road, Suite 102
Baltimore, Maryland 21215.

Screenshot of Maryland criminal background check application form for agencies and employment.

In order to access criminal history information in Maryland for professional reasons, the application must be completed.

State Police Criminal Records Check Process

Maryland State Police also have access to a number of records that are available to the public. Although the agency will only have police related records, they have a searchable database on the Maryland State Police website. Steps for how to use this database are outlined below.

Step 1. Navigate to the Public Information Request page for the Maryland state police.

The page has information on what information can be requested and other helpful information to understand what records are kept, how they are kept, and important legal information involving public police records.

Step 2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and fill out a Public Information Act (PIA) request.

At the bottom of the page, beneath the FAQ section, there is a simple form that can be filled out online. The form requires basic contact information as well as information on the records being requested.

Step 3. Await Results.

Once the request has been made, an email confirmation will be sent to the individual that made the request. The email should confirm the agency received the request, as well as provide a time range for when the request will be completed and an estimation of any necessary fees to complete the quest.

Firearms Background Checks in Maryland

Purchasing a firearm in the State of Maryland requires a specialized background check that is performed by the Maryland State police. The steps for receiving a firearms background check are outlined below.

Maryland State Police Licensing portal screenshot with arrow pointing to create an account.

To obtain firearms licensing and other licenses in Maryland, a criminal background check is required, along with fingerprints and a number of forms.

Step 1. Create an account on the MDSP Licensing portal

The MDSP licensing portal is the only place that individuals can apply for a firearms permit and receive the proper background check. In order to begin filling out the application, individuals must first create an account and provide some basic contact information.

Step 2. Complete a 77r Application

Once the account has been created, individuals will be free to fill out the required 77r application. All information on the form must be filled out in its entirety. The application can then be submitted through the portal.

Step 3. Submit the Application.

Upon completion and submission of the application, the individual is provided with a PIN number. Take note of both numbers as they are required for the next step in the process.

Step 4. Take the Application and PIN Number to a Certified Dealer in the State OR to a MD Police Station.

The application must be completed by a dealer or the police in order for the application to be submitted to the licensing division.

Step 5. Wait 8 Days for the Disposition

Eight days after submitting the application, a disposition will be emailed to the applicant, notifying them if they have been approved or not. Those who are not approved have the option to contact Maryland State police for information as to why their application was denied.

When conducting a criminal background check, Maryland makes it easy to ensure that both state and federal records are searched. The databases available for use, for both the public and private background check agencies, makes the process swift. Despite the stipuations being slightly different from many states, getting a criminal background check Maryland is still a fairly straightforward process.

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