There are two different approaches to conducting background checks in the state of Arkansas.
You have a background check that goes through official channels, a check that is run through the Arkansas Department of Public Safety. This can check is done using the Arkansas Online Criminal Background Check System (a system maintained by the Arkansas State Police).
The second kind of background check you can do in Arkansas is a bit more of an “unofficial” check, one that takes advantage of public records – the kind of check usually done by leveraging different online sites for online services.
Obviously, the “official” background check run through the systems maintained by the Arkansas State Police will return you much more in-depth information about the individuals you are researching.
At the same time, this doesn’t mean that the “unofficial” check isn’t worth running. Sometimes it will report or return information that you wouldn’t have discovered using the official tools.
Below we run you through the ins and outs of conducting a deep, thorough, and comprehensive background check in the state of Arkansas.
Important Info Regarding Arkansas Background Checks
Before we move any further, though, it’s important to understand that anyone looking to take advantage of “official” background check tools provided by the state of Arkansas will have to apply for and get approved for access to these research options.
There are two different ways that an individual or organization can obtain approval to use statewide Arkansas background check tools.
The first approach is called the “Manual Approach”, and it requires you to submit what is the State Police Form ASP 122. This form is available directly on the ARK.org website (available 100% free of charge), though you will have to have it notarized if you are submitting it by mail.
You’ll need to include a check for $25 (made out to the Arkansas State Police) and a stamped return envelope that you then mail to the Arkansas State Police Identification Bureau.
From there, your request to use background check tools on a certain individual or organization will be forwarded to the person that you are looking for authorization from.
The second approach you can take (and the approach that most employers, authorized persons, and professional licensing boards take advantage of most frequently) is to go through the whole process digitally.
This approach begins with the individual or organization will be to conduct a background check starting an online application with the Arkansas State Police. A digital version of ASP 122 is completed and filled out, and from there a list of all names, identities, and organizations to be researched is provided.
Digital contact information for each of those names is then provided, and emails requesting their permission and “digital signature” are sent out from the Information Network of Arkansas.
As soon as each individual approves the request access to background tools verify their information is made available to the requesting party.
Can Just Anyone Conduct a Background Check in Arkansas?
As illustrated above, not just anyone and everyone has the ability to conduct a background check using official research tools provided by the state in Arkansas today.
They first must go through the Arkansas State Police application form (Form ASP 122) and then must be given approval from the Arkansas State Police, too.
Of course, this kind of permission is only necessary if you are looking to take advantage of criminal record, court record, and other “sealed record” background details.
If only service-level information is necessary (including date of birth information, identity information, public record details, etc.) pretty much anyone can look for those details without any headache or hassle using online tools or public databases.
What Shows Up On Arkansas Background Check?
Arkansas State Police record background checks are going to include a tremendous amount of information, including (but not limited to):
- Any and all interactions that have been recorded with Arkansas State Police or local police in Arkansas
- Any and all pending Arkansas felony arrests, as well as misdemeanor arrest information
- Any and all felony or misdemeanor convictions in the state of Arkansas
- Details regarding whether or not the individual being researched as to register as a sex offender across all levels, from Level I to Level IV
If approved, it may also be possible to access FBI and other statewide criminal history information.
This level of approval does require a more in-depth application process, however. You’ll have to go through the Arkansas Crime Information Center application process to gain access to the ACIC Criminal History Database.
A check of this caliber provides information based on fingerprint data, and allows you to look at:
- Details that are available to local and state Arkansas law enforcement officials
- Any information regarding misdemeanor arrests, especially those with charges still pending in court
- Information regarding arrests that either ended up with cases being dismissed completely, cases that warrant process at all and cases where the individual is found to be not guilty
- As well as details regarding any and all traffic infractions that wouldn’t have appeared on traditional criminal record reports
Public record searches in Arkansas provide plenty of data and details, too, including:
- Information about individuals identity, including previous addresses and aliases
- Some credit report information
- Baseline criminal record details, especially if there are public court records available
- Property records
- Marriage and birth records
And anything else that is maintained in publicly accessible databases.
Why Do Employer’s Run Background Checks in Arkansas?
Employers in Arkansas may choose to conduct background checks in Arkansas for a variety of different reasons, including:
- Maintaining a safe workplace – One of the biggest responsibilities that an employer has is to conduct work in a place that is safe, secure, and free from outside threats. Running background checks on all potential employees increases overall safety significantly.
- Eliminates hiring liabilities – Negligent hiring issues can produce a significant amount of legal liabilities to individuals responsible for hiring people in the first place. It’s important to avoid negligent hiring issues by performing consistent and comprehensive background checks before bringing anyone on board
- Boost new hire overall quality – An easy way to increase the quality of new hires is to make sure that there aren’t issues in their background that might prove them to be difficult, challenging, or not conducive to the kind of work you’re looking to do
Obviously, there are other reasons employers may be interested in conducting background checks, but these are just a few of the most common in this state.
How Far in the Past Do Arkansas Background Checks Go?
In Arkansas (like a lot of other states throughout the country), individuals conducting background searches are going to have access to seven years of criminal history.
This is the federal baseline established by a number of background check laws and regulations passed over the years, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Other background checks (not dealing with a criminal history) can access information reaching back significantly further than seven years, with some records stretching back 10, 20, 30 years, or even more.
It all depends on the type of information that someone is looking to access with these kinds of tools.
Is It Easy to Run an Arkansas Background Check?
The general process for running background checks in the state of Arkansas set up to be simple and straightforward.
One potential route involves reaching out to the Arkansas State Police and going through the application process for access to criminal background check details that we mentioned earlier in this guide.
That can be done manually (by printing out a copy of ASP 122, having it notarized, and sent them directly) or it can be done electronically by filling out the application online.
Those looking for more detailed information (including nationwide information and federal background data) are going to want to request info through the Arkansas Crime Information Center (ACIC) Criminal History Database.
This process involves a more in-depth background check via the ACIC (done in conjunction with Arkansas State Police), though approval is relatively quickly thanks again modern tools.
Should I Use a Third-Party Background Check Company?
Third-party background check companies in the state of Arkansas are really only going to be able to provide you with information related to public records – the same kind of information that you would have been able to access all on your own.
Many of the surface-level background check organizations promote themselves as being able to provide you criminal history information, the kind of information that would have only been accessible after going through the ASP Form 122 process outlined earlier.
What these free services usually provide is court record data and information as well as anything else publicly available by the Arkansas Criminal Justice Department.
While some of these tools can help you speed up the research process by condensing a lot of public record searches into one, most of them just aren’t as useful as they bill themselves out to be.
How Long Does It Take to Run an Arkansas Background Check?
Name-based state background checks done with the Arkansas State Police can be completed successfully in about 7 to 10 days, though sometimes it takes a little bit longer than that.
Fingerprint-based state background checks are also going to take between 7 and 10 business days when you are having them conducted by the Arkansas State Police.
As soon as you start to consider Federal/FBI background checks you’re starting to look at timelines that can stretch between four weeks and three weeks (and sometimes a little bit longer than that).
Searches with NSPOW as well as the State Sex Offender Registry can be done almost instantly, however.
Are Background Checks in Arkansas Expensive?
A standard Arkansas statewide background check is going to cost an individual $10, without having to account for the actual application processing fees ($25 paid to Arkansas State Police) just to receive clearance to run these kinds of background checks in the first place.
That $10 needs to be paid prior to running every individual background check in the future, too.
Fingerprint-based Arkansas background checks are a little bit more expensive, costing approved individuals or organizations $22 per check.
The federal background checks and FBI background checks have fees that begin at $13, though you may have just pay more for a specific kind of background check done with federal agencies. Using the Fieldprint service, for example, will cost $27.50.
Individuals looking to request detailed Criminal History Records will be able to do so by completing ASP 122, sending it to the state police, and paying $15.25.
Are Free Background Checks a Reliable Option?
Free background check services are not a bad way to go for new are looking for more surface-level information during the background check process.
If you do not necessarily need criminal history information, or only need information regarding the details that can be found with a public records search, these services can definitely help quite a bit.
At the same time, it’s important to understand their limitations.
Businesses that need to conduct more thorough investigations are going to want to make sure that they are using more robust searching methods (and those usually cost something to leverage).
Does Arkansas Require Background Checks for Firearms?
Arkansas (like every other state in the US) requires Federal Firearms License dealers to perform background checks on firearms purchases.
Individuals looking to purchase a firearm from a dealer in Arkansas will need to fill out Form 4473. Their background information will then be checked through the NICS instant criminal background check system – a service maintained by the FBI.
Arkansas is also a “constitutional carry” state, not requiring a state permit or license to purchase or possess any firearm.
Can Criminal Records in Arkansas Be Investigated?
Criminal records are available to be searched in-depth, as we have highlighted earlier in this detailed guide.
Those looking to gain access to this kind of information, however, are not just going to be able to jump online, open up a search engine, and start digging through the criminal history of individuals in Arkansas.
Every criminal history search conducted in the state of Arkansas is going to need to go through the Arkansas State Police.
Only after filling out ASP 122, having it notarized, and paying a fee to have your own background check by the state police will you then be approved and given access to request further background checks leveraging state police resources.
On top of that, those looking for even more in-depth information (including misdemeanor arrest information, nationwide criminal history, etc.) are going to need to apply for access to the Arkansas Online Criminal Background Check System.
Are Arkansas Driving Records Available?
Driving records in Arkansas can be researched relatively simply, even without having to go down to the Arkansas Department of Motor Vehicles in your local area.
Arkansas drivers license holders can request copies of their own driving record by jumping online (at the ARK.gov website), navigating to the Online Driver Record Request System, and filling out their information there.
Gaining access to someone else’s driving record, however, requires you to use the Traffic Violation Report Request System maintained by the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.
What About Arkansas Sex Offender Records?
Arkansas makes it incredibly easy to search for sex offender information online, providing access to this database just by visiting the ARK.org website and tapping into the Arkansas Crime Information Center section of the platform.
All sex offenders that have to legally register in the state are going to be listed in this database, a database that is 100% searchable for anyone and everyone in Arkansas (and is accessible to those outside of the state as well).
This database is available to be searched in-depth totally free of charge, too.
It covers information and registrations across all levels of sex offenders.
Can I Do a Credit History Check With a Background Check?
Credit history checks are not traditionally included in a background check conducted by the Arkansas State Police.
This is something that needs to be conducted with a third-party organization, usually in conjunction with the three major credit reporting bureaus, and only after you’ve been provided with permission and a Social Security number from the individual you are checking on in the first place.
ASP and the ACIC simply cannot provide you information pertaining to your credit history.
What Do I Do If the Information Found on a Background Check is Wrong or Incomplete?
If you find any information that is incomplete, incorrect, or unrelated to the individual that you are researching (especially if it is yourself) it’s important to reach out to the reporting organization that you gain this information from and alert them to the issue ASAP.
Like any other major database, it’s not at all uncommon for different records to blend with others and for “wires to get crossed” that shouldn’t be.
Obviously, if you find something on a background check regarding an individual, not yourself it’s not a bad idea to bring the details up with them to verify that the check is complete and accurate.