Arkansas Background Checks and Public Records

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The State of Arkansas

The State of Arkansas is the 29th largest state and the 33rd most populous. It is part of the U.S. Interior Highlands region covering both the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains. Known as “The Natural State”, it offers a lot in terms of outdoor recreation. Arkansas’ economy is supported by agriculture, the service industry, steel, and tourism. It is also the headquarters for the well-known company Walmart. 

The state‘s population is in enough flux that a comprehensive background check on a citizen would benefit from background checks on other states.

Counties in Arkansas 

AshleyCrawfordIndependenceMississippiSt. Francis
CarrollFaulknerLawrencePerrySt. Francis
ClayGarlandLittle RiverPoinsettVan Buren
ConwayHot SpringMarionPulaskiYell

Where To Get Public Records In Arkansas

The Arkansas Freedom of Information Act states that “all citizens of Arkansas” may request public records. “Citizens” has long been expanded to include state corporations and businesses. The Arkansas law, however, prohibits convicted felons from obtaining certain records.

The Arkansas State Police administers all background checks. The Arkansas Department of Health Bureau of Vital Statistics is in charge of vital records. Birth certificates are available from 1920 to the present; the same with death records. Marriage and divorce certificates are available from 1950 to the present.

Another great place to start when doing background checks is the Arkansas State Archives.

Accessing and Acquiring Public Records in Arkansas

There are three main types of public records in Arkansas: vital, property, and criminal records. Background checks could be requested by licensing bureaus, child welfare agencies, school districts, facilities for the elderly, and certain employers. Standard pre-employment checks could be done only with signed consent.

The Department of Corrections website serves as some sort of Arkansas crime information center. The state has a search page dedicated to inmates covering Arkansas sex offenders, robbers, and more. Vital records may be obtained online or in person. The Arkansas State Archives page helps locate maps, church records, county records, and more.

Arkansas Background Check Reports

Arkansas states laws, together with federal laws like Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), dictate who may request background checks and what information is included in the reports. Background checks include public records such as, but not limited to vital records, driving records, arrest or court records, criminal history, credit history, as well as personally identifiable information (PII) such as names, aliases, social security numbers, home addresses, and credit history information.

There are currently no statewide Ban-the-Box laws. Only Pulaski County has implemented a Ban-the-Box policy, requiring employers to answer criminal history-related questions from the job applications. This aims to prevent discrimination.

The Arkansas Freedom of Information Act stipulates that “all citizens of Arkansas” may request public records. Convicted felons, however, may be refused access to certain public records. The Arkansas State Police or any FCRA-approved organization that provides background checking services requires signed written consent of the subject of the background check before performing a search. However, when using non-FCRA approved services, such documentation is not necessary.

Background check for employment is the most common reason for search requests, but it may also be used during tenant screening, firearm purchasing, child adoption, and certain professional license applications.

Arkansas Official Websites

Frequently Asked Questions About Arkansas Background Checks

How far back does a background check go in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, there are no restrictions as to how far back background checks can go. Specifically for criminal records, Arkansas does not follow the FCRA seven-year rule.

How much does a background check cost in Arkansas?

The pricing for background checks in Arkansas are as follow:

  • $22.00 per Arkansas State name-based check request
  • $11.00 per Arkansas State name-based check request (volunteers)
  • $14.25 per National/FBI fingerprint-based check request
  • $12.25 per National/FBI fingerprint-based check request (volunteers)

Are criminal records public in Arkansas?

Criminal records are always considered public. However, when requesting the criminal records belonging to someone else in Arkansas, only authorized entities can do so.

How long do misdemeanors stay on your record in Arkansas?

In some cases, misdemeanors in Arkansas can stay on your record for only 5 years, unless they are expunged.