Each and every year, hundreds of thousands of background checks are processed in the state of Indiana – many of them by employers looking to get a better idea of the people they are thinking about bringing onboard to their company.
Some reports, 92% of all employers nationwide perform some sort of criminal background check before they actually hire someone. 73% of those employers also look outside of a traditional criminal background check, looking at financial history, driving record, and other information before making any hiring decisions.
Better understanding how the Indiana background check process works is important regardless of whether or not you are looking to hire employees or are looking for a new job, promotion, or position that may require you to undergo this process.
Below we dig a little bit deeper into the ins and outs of Indiana background checks, shining a light on how the process unfolds and what you can expect moving forward.
Let’s get right into it, shall we?
Indiana Background Check Info You Need to Know
Just like every other state in the country, Indiana is subject to two major pieces of legislation – federal legislation – that heavily influence the background check process.
The first piece of legislation that plays a major role in this process is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
This section of federal law protects those that are applying for positions from discrimination in every single aspect of employment, including during the screening and vetting process.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (a federal organization) has oversight of how these rules, regulations, and laws are followed and are also responsible for investigating incidences where the Title VII section of the Civil Rights Act was not followed.
The EEOC also provides guidance to employers to better understand how to navigate this process respectfully and fairly while still investigating the background of their potential applicants.
The EEOC recommends that employers consider any offenses they discover individually, thinking about the actual offense itself, the severity and seriousness of the charges or conviction, how long ago this incident occurred, and how it may relate to the position someone is applying for before making any decision going forward.
On top of that, the Fair Credit Reporting Act provides further protection at the federal level.
This piece of legislation requires that employers get written consent from an applicant before they proceed with a background check, that they notify applicants if they are thinking about screening them based on their background, and provide notice of their final decision regardless of whether or not they choose to hire or pass on an applicant.
Indiana state law also prohibits all employers from asking applicants and employees whether or not they have any criminal records sealed, restricted, or expunged.
If an employer moves forward with this line of questioning anyway (violation of state law) applicants are legally able to deny any arrests, charges, or convictions that might have showed up in those sealed, restricted, or expunged records.
Applicants are under absolutely no legal obligation whatsoever to disclose this information, either verbally or by checking different boxes on application forms that might indirectly disclose these details, too.
Can Anyone Look Up Someone’s Background in Indiana?
Checking into someone’s background is easier today than ever before, in large part because of the internet and how interconnected public record databases are today.
Running a background check in Indiana does not require anything special – no special permit, no special license, and no special affiliation with any organization or business. All you have to do is have the personally identifying information of the individual you are looking to do a background check on and you are off to the races.
The only time this changes is when you are interested in looking into the background of a potential job applicant or employee.
In those circumstances, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires you to get written consent and permission from the individuals you are considering to begin the background check process. Without that written consent and permission any of the information found during a background check cannot be used to determine their approval for a position or their hiring.
Those found to be in violation of the FCRA face significant financial penalties and potential legal action.
What Type of Info Shows Up on an Indiana Background Check?
Indiana background checks are usually conducted in concert with the Indiana State Police or the Indiana Department of Insurance. The Indiana DMV will be responsible for driving record checks, and any credit history checks will have to go through the major credit reporting bureaus themselves.
When it comes to criminal background checks in the state of Indiana, though, the kind of information that (usually) shows up includes but is not limited to:
- Arrest information for misdemeanors (Class A only)
- Arrest information for felonies
- Indictments and charges for misdemeanors (Class A only)
- Indictments and charges for felonies
This information is also only available if the arrest or charges were brought within 12 months of searching for these records in the first place. That’s part of Indiana state law.
Indiana State Police background checks can also provide information relating to arrest records that resulted in a conviction that are not beholden to that 12-month restriction we mentioned a moment ago.
Any criminal record that is under seal, expunged, or otherwise legally restricted in any way whatsoever – at the state or federal level – does not need to be reported by an applicant and will not be disclosed on these types of background checks.
In 2017 a number of Indiana cities (including Indianapolis) decided to move forward with Ban the Box initiatives like the ones that originated in Hawaii.
These local ordinances and laws prohibit employers in those towns and cities from asking about any criminal history on job applications.
State law has been passed in Indiana to preempt these kinds of questions, disallowing any local municipality from implementing their own Ban the Box rules and regulations. Executive orders signed by the governor at the same time did put in place a Ban the Box rule for all state and public sector positions, however.
This order specifically states that background checks cannot be used as an initial condition of employment, but can only be run after a conditional offer of employment has been extended to a potential applicant.
Why Are Employers Running Background Checks in Indiana?
Employers run background checks in Indiana for a variety of different reasons, but it really all comes down to minimizing and managing risk as much as possible and trying to avoid bad hires that would have needed to be terminated later down the line.
There isn’t a business under the sun that’s interested in bringing in “bad apples” that are going to upset their workforce, lower productivity, damage morale, and potentially cause a tremendous amount of legal and civil liability.
Now, at the same time, an individual’s past is not a 100% predictor of their future – and that’s why the EEOC and the Civil Rights Act are so important. Ban the Box initiatives like the ones adopted by a number of Indiana towns and cities also help to prevent employers from only looking at someone’s past when considering them for a future position.
All the same, background checks still play a hugely important role in the hiring process.
These kinds of background checks are critical for helping to keep the workplace safe, verifying that new employees do not have a track record or history of violence, theft, or sexual offenses.
Background checks are also (in some industries) legally required and mandated for certain professional positions.
Youth sports coaches, daycare workers, school volunteers, nursing home employees, and a number of other professions all require background checks to be run to make sure that people in positions of power and responsibility (especially working with vulnerable people like young children and older adults) aren’t going to abuse those positions.
It’s never fun to have someone dig through your background, potentially judging you off of behavior or decisions made a long time ago or for a variety of different reasons that aren’t immediately apparent on a piece of paper.
But background checks play a critical role in the hiring process and aren’t going away anytime soon.
How Far Back Do Background Checks Reach?
Background checks in Indiana typically follow the federal baseline established by the FCRA and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, allowing employers to look back at the past seven years of an individual’s life (start their criminal history is concerned) and no further.
In certain circumstances, though – like with the sex offender registry, for example – there are no limitations to how far back a background check will go.
As far as the credit report checks are concerned, those also have very few restrictions on how far back a credit history report will go. Bankruptcies cannot be shown after 10 years, however, and there are some other financial records that will not show up on a typical background check, too.
All in all, though, expect to get a seven-year snapshot when doing a background check in the state of Indiana.
How Do I Run an Indiana Background Check?
To start a public records background check in the state of Indiana you’ll need to submit a completed Public Records Request.
You can choose to fill out this application online (email it to the Record Holding Department of Indiana), submitting it by mail after you have printed and filled it out yourself, or you can even call in your answers to the application directly.
Each public records department will require a unique application filled out and submitted, however. Different public offices (particularly local governmental offices) may not always be as quick to respond as state or federal-level organizations, too.
Criminal background checks processed in Indiana are going to be handled by the Indiana State Police.
Searching through their criminal background check records is pretty simple and straightforward. All you have to do is visit the Criminal History page of the Indiana State Police website (www.im.gov/isp/CriminalHistory) and you’ll be able to follow the on-screen prompts to search through (limited) criminal history reports.
To gain access to this database you’ll have to pay a one-time fee of $15, with an extra $1.32 charged for processing your credit or debit card.
After gaining access, you’ll be able to search more than 1.2 million records that are available through the Indiana Digital Archives.
From time to time you may find incomplete information provided in this database. If that’s the case, you’ll want to contact the agency of reporting (for court cases that would be the District Court aware the issue was adjudicated, for example) for further clarification.
Inmate records can also be accessed through the Indiana State Police website as well. These records are separate from the database we mentioned a moment ago and can be searched free of charge.
More details can be found by visiting the Indiana State Department of Corrections at www.im.gov/idoc.
Further court case information regarding individuals living in or charged in Indiana can be found by visiting the MyCase.gov website. This is where you’ll find information from the Indiana Archives and Records Administration (though these records aren’t always the most up-to-date).
Can Third-Party Background Check Companies Be Trusted?
There are certainly some third-party platforms out there that can help individuals streamline the background check process, but you’ll need to be sure that you are working with real professionals.
Many of the so-called “background check services” really only have a look at public records, aggregate the material they discover, and then sell it back to you in a packaged format – with you paying a premium for publicly available information they received for free.
Other background check services, the best in the business, are going to do a deep dive on the individuals that you provide the information for. These services can cut down the amount of time you spend searching significantly, streamlining the process and handling all of the “heavy lifting” of uncovering the answers you are looking for.
Research and do your due diligence on any service you may be considering.
How Long Does It Take to Run an Indiana Background Check?
Depending on the type of background check being run reports should be returned within 48 hours to five business days, though some background checks can take up to 30 days to be successfully completed.
Pre-employment background checks (generally) take between 48 hours and 72 hours to be successfully completed. Some employers are able to get these done faster, though it’s very rare for these kinds of checks to be done within 24 hours.
A deeper look into potential criminal history, long-term background information, and credit checks is going to take a bit longer. Adding any background check that requires fingerprinting and the federal government and you’re likely to see even longer delays.
How Much Do Background Checks in Indiana Cost?
Criminal background checks conducted by the Indiana State Police (ISP) are going to cost anywhere between $7 and $17, depending on how the background check is completed.
For example, a paper report or electronic report drawn up for an individual requesting the background on another individual is going to cost seven dollars when having the ISP handle that for you.
Those same reports conducted on behalf of an application organization (a business or group running a background check on an individual) will have to pay $17, regardless of whether or not they go with a paper form or a digital report from the IDOI.
Are There Background Checks for Firearms in Indiana?
Individuals looking to purchase a firearm from a Federal Firearms License dealer will have to fill out Form 4473 and submit to a background check with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) run by the FBI.
After filling out Form 4473 that information is automatically inputted into the NICS database where an individual’s legal ability to own a firearm is confirmed. Prohibited persons will immediately be flagged as not able to purchase the firearm, and sometimes a Delay signal is sent out if the FBI needs to do a deeper check before the sale can go through.
At the same time, Indiana does not require a state permit or license to purchase firearms and has no firearm registration in place.
They do require a license (as of July 1, 2017) for individuals to carry a concealed firearm as well as to carry openly. In 2020 the fee for this license was eliminated (five-year licenses) and a $50 fee was instituted for a lifetime license.
What About Indiana Driving Records?
Driving records in Indiana can be accessed online, individually, or after purchasing a yearly subscription fee that provides access to BMV records.
Visit the IN.gov website, navigate to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles section of the Indiana state website, and then run through the Driver License Record Search on-screen prompts.
You’ll be asked to provide a name, date of birth, and either a driver’s license number or Social Security number to begin the search process.
Each individual record costs $7.50 (available digitally and able to be printed out), though you can also pay for that yearly subscription at $95 per year to access unlimited records.
Can I Search Indiana Sex Offender Records?
Indiana has made it easy to search their states Sex and Violent Offender Registry 100% free of charge, giving all citizens the opportunity to conduct searches online as well as through contacting the Indiana Department of Correction – Sex and Violent Offender get registry directly.
To use the online search tools, navigate to ICrimeWatch.net/Indiana.php and use the navigational options there to search the records that are available.
If you would like to contact the Department of Correction directly for more information, you can do so by calling them at 317-232-1232.
You can also reach them by mail, sending your request to:
Indiana Department of Correction
Attention: Indiana Sex and Violent Offender Registry
302 W. Washington St.
Indiana Government Center South, E329
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2038
How Do I Get Credit History During a Background Check?
Credit history details are only available in accordance with Fair Credit Reporting Act laws and legislation, which means employers need to:
- First, ask for permission to run these kinds of records in the first place
- To get written consent to access these records as well and
- Tonight use the information within these records as a sole determining factor to make a hiring decision
Information contained within credit history records will only be made available through the three major credit reporting bureaus, too.
They will need to be contacted directly (and individually) with all pertinent personally-identifying information – including a Social Security number – to be able to look up and provide a detailed report regarding these types of background checks.