Few know about a useful service provided by the Harris County District Clerk’s Office: free criminal background checks.
Anyone can perform a background check by going on the District Clerk’s web site, www.hcdistrictclerk.com, and clicking on the icon of the magnifying glass over a thumbprint.
The free background checks are part of my effort to modernize the District Clerk’s Office and make non-confidential electronic records available to the public. The public should reap the benefits of modernization and new technology. Transparency is always to be valued.
Background checks tap District Clerk’s records going back to 1977. The background check is not comparable to an FBI criminal background check, which would include records from all 50 states.
My office provides records only of Harris County cases. These records will not reveal whether a person was convicted of an offense in another state or even a nearby county.
Such searches, nonetheless, could be helpful to:
· Small businesses: Owners and managers may want to conduct a preliminary background check on a job applicant before paying for a full background check. If red flags come up during the preliminary background check, there may be no need to pay for a full check.
· Someone hiring a contractor: A homeowner may run a background check to see if a contractor has a record in Harris County before hiring the worker.
· Civic clubs: Many clubs take an interest in neighborhood safety.