Missouri Background Checks and Public Records

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The State of Missouri

The State of Missouri is the 18th most populous and the 21st largest state by area in the United States. Its capital is Jefferson City; other major cities include St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia. The Mississippi River borders it in the East while it includes a portion of the Ozarks in the South.

Missouri’s economy is based on various industries including aerospace, transportation equipment, electrical equipment, light manufacturing, food processing, beer production, chemicals, printing and publishing, and financial services. 

There is still a significant movement in and out of state even if Missouri’s industry does not promote a very static population. It’s, therefore, best to check surrounding states if you are doing a background check on someone from Missouri.

Counties in Missouri

AtchisonColeJasperNew MadridScott
BartonDadeKnoxOregonSt. Charles
BatesDallasLacledeOsageSt. Clair
BentonDaviessLafayetteOzarkSt. Francois
BollingerDeKalbLawrencePemiscotSt. Louis city
BooneDentLewisPerrySt. Louis
BuchananDouglasLincolnPettisSte. Genevieve
Cape GirardeauGreeneMariesPulaskiTexas

Where To Get Public Records In Missouri

Missouri, like in most states, does not maintain a central repository of state records; each respective government agency managing the data appoints its records custodian.

The State Highway Patrol’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, for instance, is responsible for criminal history records while the Missouri Department of Corrections is responsible for inmate records. Missouri criminal records can be searched through the Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS). Results are obtained from the rap sheet and sex offender databases maintained by state and local law enforcement agencies, detention facilities, and courts. On the other hand, inmate records can be acquired through a dedicated web portal hosted by the DOC. The accessible information on the site includes personal and case-related details of active offenders, probationers, and parolees.

For court records, these are maintained by the Missouri State Courts. Their database entails records collated from the Supreme Court, Eastern, Southern, and Western Appellate, and individual circuit courts. You can find information relating to civil cases, criminal cases, paternity cases, and adult and child protection order cases. 

Property records are also considered public records in Missouri. The State Archives contains land grants from governments to individuals from 1790 to 1903. The Department of Revenue manages state property tax records through county-level tax assessor’s offices also keeps copies of these. The Recorder of Deeds and the county recorder’s handle deeds, affidavits, wills, releases, liens, mortgages, and the like.

If you need birth or death records, marriage or divorce licenses, original pre-adoptive birth certificates, fetal death/certificate of stillbirth, and statement of single status, you need to coordinate with the Department of Health & Senior Services. Though considered public records, only the specifically and legally stated individuals or parties can request vital records. 

Accessing and Acquiring Public Records in Missouri

The Missouri Sunshine Law governs public records in the state. In alignment with the Freedom of Information Act, this state law aims to provide and maintain transparency on government meetings, deliberations, projects, and census.

The law gives the managing agency three days to respond to requests, and it states that a proper notification must be provided should an extension be needed. It also allows the public bodies to charge a reasonable fee for the clerical staff and a $.10/page for obtained copies. Should a request get denied, one can apply for an appeal within one year.

Depending on the department, you could request public records over the phone, in person, or in writing. Should a more formal request be needed, the sample records request letter by the National Freedom of Information Coalition could be used. This could then be sent via mail, email, or fax. You may also utilize a third-party people search engine.

Missouri Background Check Reports

Missouri criminal background check is governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The state also follows ban-the-box laws for public sector employees. This does not cover the private sector which means that employers may not inquire about an applicant’s criminal history information until after the first interview. 

A Missouri state background check may be requested for various reasons; the leading reason is employment, particularly in the public health and residential care industries. Missouri offers a name-based background check although it is considered less formal than a fingerprint-based background check. Name-based search is $14 plus additional processing fees; an additional $2 can get the document notarized.

IDEMIA is Missouri’s fingerprinting services vendor which operates IdentoGO centers throughout the state. Fingerprint-based background check results may vary based on the purpose of a background check; results may however include open records, closed records, and FBI information. A MACHS fingerprint-based background check costs $20; an additional FBI check costs $13.25.

Background checks may include information from the Missouri Highway Patrol, the Criminal Justice Information Service or CJIS division, and more. You may also opt to utilize a reliable third-party search engine for a background check.

Missouri Official Websites

Frequently Asked Questions About Missouri Background Checks 

How do I get a background check in Missouri?

Background Checks in Missouri may be conducted for various reasons including employment. In Missouri, one may request a Personal Identifier Search or Fingerprint-Based Search. Using The Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS), any member of the public can request these checks/searches for a small fee. 

How long does a Missouri background check take?

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Name and Fingerprint-Based Searches sent by mail take 4-6 weeks. Checks done through MACHS take approximately 7 – 10 business days. 

What shows up on a background check in Missouri?

In Missouri Criminal Searches, detentions, arrests, information or other formal criminal charges, indictments, and any dispositions are viewable. 

How do I get my criminal record in Missouri?

To obtain your criminal records in Missouri, you can submit a request by mail to the Missouri State Highway Patrol or through MACHS online. The fee charged and length of time of the background check will depend on the type of check being conducted.