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As an employer, it is critical to ensure your background check includes criminal records as well as other important background information, and this guide will cover everything you need to know about Indiana background checks that include criminal records, updated with relevant 2023 laws.
Criminal background checks are crucial for making good, safe hiring decisions. Indiana employers must ensure that the person they employ is not only qualified for the job, but that he or she is not a potential threat.
Hiring an employee without conducting a complete and adequate Indiana background check that includes criminal records could expose the employer to unnecessary liability.
Not all background checks provide a thorough and complete criminal history of the subject. However, when you use the right approach, your Indiana background check can include complete criminal records in addition to information about employment, credit and rental history.
Complete Guide to State of Indiana Background Check Laws
Employers in Indiana must comply with both federal and state laws when conducting employment background checks. Failure to comply with the relevant laws could result in liability, including civil suits and monetary penalties.
Most Indiana employers will need to have accurate and complete background checks that include criminal records, as well as education and prior employment verification. To conduct a complete and accurate Indiana criminal background check, you must have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the relevant most recent laws.
This guide will provide you with all you need to know about the relevant laws of 2023 for Indiana background checks that include criminal records.
Indiana Criminal Records Check and Public Records: Indiana
Indiana state agencies are all required to follow the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) when responding to requests for public records.
The Freedom of Information Act became law in 1967 and gives any member of the public the right to access any records held by a federal agency. All federal agencies are required to provide information requested under the FOIA to any member of the public unless the information is exempt by law.
There are categories of documents that are exempt from disclosure under the FOIA. The FOIA Exemptions categories are:
- Information classified by Executive Order to protect national security
- Documents that are only related to the internal practices or rules for agency personnel
- Information prohibited from release due to another federal law
- Business trade secrets, confidential commercial or financial information
- Information concerning agency internal communications protected by legal privilege including, attorney-work product, attorney-client, presidential communications, or deliberative process information.
- Information that would be invasive of another person’s privacy if disclosed
- Information of law enforcement agencies, if it would/could:
- Interfere with enforcement proceedings
- Deprive an individual of impartial adjudication or fair trial
- Constitute an unwarranted invasion of an individual’s privacy
- Disclose the identity of a confidential source
- Reveal techniques and procedures of prosecutions or investigations
- Endanger the life or safety of an individual
- Information concerning the supervision of financial institutions
- Information regarding geological data of wells
Process for Requesting Indiana Criminal Background Check Records
Regardless of where you live in the United States, you may request public records in Indiana by mail, email, telephone and in person. There is no state residency requirement. The state agency must respond to your public records request within seven days.
To file a public records request in the State of Indiana you should contact the appropriate agency holding the requested records either in writing, by phone or in person. Provide that agency the following information:
- The identity of the document you are requesting
- The date by which you are requesting the document be provided
- Your name, email address, mailing address and telephone number
- Where the agency should send your requested documents
When you request an Indiana background check that includes criminal records and the subject has a criminal history, you will receive a report that includes, but may not be limited to:
- The date of the arrest
- The title of the criminal offense charged
- A classification of the charge as either a misdemeanor or felony
- A case number assigned to the arrest report
- The resulting disposition of the arrest
- The date of the resulting disposition
- Description of the sentence, if any
What Does An Indiana Background Check Report Include?
If you have requested a prior employment verification with your background check, you will receive a report, that includes, but may not be limited to:
- Names of the applicant’s prior employers
- The dates of employment for each of the applicant’s prior employers
- The job titles held in each employment position
If you request education verification as part of the report, you will receive a report that includes, but may not be limited to:
- The names of the schools, colleges and institutions the applicant attended
- The dates of attendance for each school, college and institution
- The title of any degrees, diplomas or certificates earned by the applicant
Does Indiana Have a Ban the Box Law?
Ban the Box laws are sometimes also known as Fair Chance Laws. This is a movement throughout the country with a goal of helping job applicants with criminal histories to gain meaningful employment.
The theory behind the Ban the Box campaign is that job applicants with criminal histories are automatically disqualified if they must check a box on the application acknowledging that they have a criminal history. Proponents of this movement contend that if such a job applicant is given a fair chance to show his or her qualifications before being asked about any criminal history, they are more likely to be hired.
Indiana does have a ban the box law applicable to the public sector. By executive order signed July 1, 2017, Governor Eric J. Holcomb ordered that job applications for positions in the executive department, must be amended to remove questions relating to convictions and criminal history unless a specific law would preclude the applicant from employment in a particular job.
However, this law does not apply to the private sector. Furthermore, Indiana was the first state in the United States to prohibit local “Ban the Box” laws.
Under Indiana Law Section 22-2-17-3, unless otherwise provided by state or federal law, no political subdivision (counties and cities), can enact a law that prohibits an employer from doing these things:
- Obtaining or using an applicant’s criminal background information during the hiring process, to the extent permitted by state and federal law
- Inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history during the initial application process [i.e., the box is permitted]
- Requiring the job applicant to disclose information about his criminal history during the initial application process
Background Check: Indiana Limited Criminal History
Indiana State Police offers an Indiana Limited Criminal History check, which can be conducted by anyone online. You can also obtain an Indiana Limited Criminal History report by mailing a request for public criminal records. Indiana State Police provides a website detailing how this is done.
At their website you will find a disclaimer of sorts stating that only misdemeanor and felony arrests within the State of Indiana will be included. Additionally, the site acknowledges that the Indiana Limited Criminal History report may not provide the most comprehensive information.
Essentially, a level 1 background check, because it is based on name, address, and other basic information, is performed solely at the local level (for jurisdiction), such as a county or state. However, a level 2 background check is conducted using federal databases and fingerprints, making them much more accurate and detailed.
Indiana Criminal Background Check FAQs
The laws and regulations about Indiana background checks that include criminal records can be confusing. We address some of the most frequently asked questions below.
Can I Get Free Criminal Records: Indiana Public Records Fees and Requests
Under Indiana state law, any person can request public records held by this state. The only fees charged by the state is a “reasonable” fee for the electronic records search.
An Indiana Limited Criminal History can be obtained through Indiana State Police. You can visit their website and complete an online Limited Criminal History Request. This Indiana background check with criminal records only includes a name and date of birth check for Indiana records. The fee for the online report if using a credit card is $16.32.
Are Inmate and Court Records Included?
Indiana has 19 prisons in the state and has an online system to find inmate records. Anyone can go online to find out information about an inmate, like his probable release date. These online Indiana criminal records will typically provide the following information about an inmate:
- The name of the facility housing the inmate
- The inmate’s name, date of birth, and gender
- A mug shot picture
- A registration number assigned to that inmate
- Information on any transfers to other facilities
- The custodial status of the inmate
Information about criminal offenders can be found at the Indiana State Department of Corrections website.1
Where Can I Get an Indiana Background Check Free?
You may be able to find online sites that offer a free state of Indiana background check. However, you should not rely on any such report. Any background information a free Indiana background check provides would likely be outdated, incomplete, inaccurate and not compliant with the Fair Credit Report Act.
A free public records request would also be incomplete for an Indiana background check that includes criminal records.
Even the Indiana State Police who offer a limited criminal history report costs $15 per report. But these reports are just what they say – limited. Their website states plainly in several places that this report does not provide the most comprehensive information.
The bottom line is that there is no way to get an accurate, comprehensive Indiana criminal background check for free.
To get an accurate and complete Indiana background check that includes criminal records, you should contact an FCRA-compliant company that specializes in providing Indiana background checks. These professionals have extensive resources and are able to quickly compile up to date, accurate information from numerous databases.
Indiana Background Check for Guns
Indiana, like most states, has no state law that requires a background check prior to purchasing a long gun (rifles and other hunting firearms), and there are no state laws requiring a firearm license to purchase a gun.
State law does require a firearms dealer to conduct an FBI background check prior to transferring or selling a handgun.
Is There a Background Check for Buying Ammo in Indiana?
No, there are no background check requirements when purchasing ammunition in Indiana. Only six states in the United States have laws that require a background check when purchasing ammunition. These six states are:
- New York
- New Jersey
Indiana Background Check for Employment: What To Know
Under Federal law and Indiana State law, consumer reporting agencies (CRAs), are prohibited from knowingly including criminal history information on an Indiana employment background check report unless the criminal history information has been updated and verified in the previous 60 days of issuing the report.
Indiana statute section 24-2-18-6 provides that a criminal history provider may not knowingly include information on an employment background check that includes:
- A record that has been expunged by either marking the record as expunged or by removing the record from public access
- A record that is restricted and is marked as restricted from public disclosure or has been removed from public access
- A record of a conviction for a Class D felony or a Level 6 felony, if the Class D felony or Level 6 felony convictions have been either entered as, or converted to, a Class A misdemeanor
- A record that the provider knows is not accurate
There are many options for obtaining background checks and there are many types of background checks available. Depending on the type of information you request, as well as from whom and where you request your background check, your background check results can vary tremendously.
Some types of background checks include:
- A Level 1 Background Check. A Level 1 background check is a basic background check. It is a name-only check that includes state and local criminal records, employment records and sometimes the state sex offender registry. Indiana employers would not want to rely on a Level 1 background check when making important hiring decisions, as it can be woefully lacking.
- A Level 2 Background Check is a much more comprehensive check. It will include a finger-print check and will search local, state and national databases for criminal records. This type of background check may even be required by law for employment positions involving a high level of responsibility and trust, like those involving the elderly, children, the disabled, as well as positions involving financial oversight.
- A Level 3 background check is more thorough than a Level 1 or Level 2 background check. It also checks professional credentials and licenses that are required for certain job positions. This type of check is usually used when hiring for managerial and professional positions.
- An FBI background check is one of the most thorough and extensive available. It will include a summary of a person’s full criminal history reported to the FBI, as well as all arrests and all occasions where a person was fingerprinted, regardless of the reason.
What Employers Want to Know from an Indiana Background Check
Employers need to know that the job applicant being considered is qualified for the job, reliable and safe, in order to reduce their exposure for liability and hire good employees.
Indiana employers need accurate, complete, FCRA-compliant and state law compliant background checks on their employees. For information concerning an applicant’s education and employment history, there is no time period limit on the information that may be reported.
Indiana Employers want to verify an applicant’s prior employment experience
An Indiana employer will want to verify that the information on a job applicant’s resume or application is correct. One of the most important concerns is ensuring that the job applicant is qualified for the position.
It is important to confirm that a job applicant has the experience that they claim to have. The best way to confirm prior employment is through an accurate, complete and legal Indiana background check. A complete and accurate Indiana background check will detail the job applicant’s past employers and the dates of employment with that employer. It will also provide the job titles and positions that the job applicant held with previous employers.
Indiana Employers want to verify an applicant’s education
An Indiana employer may also want to know that a job applicant has the education required for the job as well as confirm that the job applicant has the education he or she claims to have on the application or their resume.
A complete, accurate and legal Indiana background check will provide information regarding what colleges, schools and institutions the applicant has attended, the dates of attendance, as well as the title of any degrees, diplomas or certificates received by the applicant.
Indiana Employers want to know about an applicant’s criminal history
An Indiana employer may want to know that the job applicant being considered is safe and can be trusted. Obtaining a complete and accurate Indiana background check that includes criminal records is the best way for an employer to do this.
Of course, the FCRA2 restricts reporting agencies from disclosing the existence of arrests that did not result in conviction, judgments, liens and bankruptcies, if that event is more than seven years old. This restriction does not apply to job positions with salaries of $75,000 or more annually.
A comprehensive background check done properly will provide the information necessary for an employer to make an informed, safe decision and will limit his exposure for liability.
Correcting False Information On Indiana Background Check Reports
If you find false or outdated information on your own background report, you should first contact the reporting agency. The agency that generated the report should be notified of the error.
The name, telephone number and email address of the reporting agency should be listed on the report. Contact the reporting agency and ask to speak to the Compliance Director.
Professional reporting agencies are legally bound to only report accurate and legally report-able information on the reports they issue.
Furthermore, you can contact the court or source that provided the inaccurate information on their website or in their records.
When challenging information on your background check, you will want to provide any supporting documentation you have to the reporting agency, court, or other source.
Indiana Background Check Law Recap
Employers, as well as some individuals, need accurate, reliable, legally compliant background checks. To obtain Indiana background checks that include criminal records and that are compliant with the laws of 2023, you need to fully understand the laws and have the resources to access the necessary information.
Many types of background checks are available. However, you should not be fooled when searching for the best way to obtain a criminal background check. Indiana employers need to be confident in relying upon information reported in the background check so they make the best hiring decision and limit their exposure to liability.
When searching for Indiana background checks that include criminal records, make sure to prevent liabilities by using verified searches that comply with state and federal laws.
1Government of Indiana. Home Page. 2021. State Department of Corrections. 11 October 2021. Web. <https://www.in.gov/idoc/>
2Federal Trade Commission. 2021. Fair Credit reporting Act. 11 October 2021. Web. <https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/statutes/fair-credit-reporting-act>