New Jersey Background Checks & Public Records

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The State of New Jersey

New Jersey is a part of the tri-state area and is located in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern regions of the United States. The State of New Jersey is known as the diner capital of the world, the garden state, and the medicine chest of the world. It’s also the leading state in developing and manufacturing flavors and fragrances.

New Jersey may be the fourth-smallest state, but it’s the eleventh-most populated one. Aside from the state’s dense population, people are freely moving throughout the tri-state, so when conducting background checks or acquiring public records, consider checking out its neighboring states as well.

Counties in New Jersey

Cape May

Where To Get Public Records In New Jersey

Public records in New Jersey are collated, managed, and disseminated by different departments, depending on the nature of the information.

Vital records are kept by the Department of Health. These records include details of birth, death, marriage, and divorce, as well as records of domestic partnerships, civil unions, and adoptions.

For criminal records, you can use the Criminal History Record Information page managed by the New Jersey State Police (NJSP). This division of state police is responsible for all detailed records of a person’s interactions with law enforcement. 

For inmate records, you can reach out to the Department of Corrections. These records usually contain personal information, including full name, date of birth, gender, and the like. They also include mugshots, inmate registration number, custody status, and more.

The New Jersey Courts are overseeing all court records which are made available to the general public unless prohibited by any Supreme Court rule or by statutes. Court records usually include chancery general equity records, special civil part records, criminal division records, family division records, and municipal court records.

Property records are also considered public records in New Jersey. Though the state doesn’t maintain an official statewide repository, these are kept on a local/county level. Aside from the county clerk’s office, you may acquire property tax records from the Department of the Treasury, Division of Taxation.

Accessing and Acquiring Public Records in New Jersey

Public records in New Jersey can be accessed even by non-residents of the state. Their version of the Freedom of Information Act, the New Jersey Open Public Records Act, together with other state laws, govern the access of public records.

While most public records are made available online, one could also request in-person or in writing. Some departments also allow over-the-phone requests via their toll-free numbers. The processing agency has seven days to respond to requests. Should your request be denied, you have 45-days to appeal the decision.

Electronic copies of requests are free of charge. Some departments may charge fees for paper or downloaded copies, and for the time spent acquiring or collating the information. Fees can be paid through credit cards, debit cards, money orders, or cash.

Every government body has different processes, so expect some variation to the rules and processes. If the processes seem to be too tedious for you, you may always utilize a third-party people search engine.

New Jersey Background Check Reports

For employment, for license issuance, for adoption, for property lease – anyone can request a background check in New Jersey. This is provided that federal government laws and New Jersey state laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and New Jersey’s ban-the-box law or The Opportunity to Compete Act, are followed. These laws prohibit an employer, public or private company, from inquiring about criminal history until after the first interview. 

Criminal history record checks could be name-based or fingerprint-based. Name-based criminal background checks cost $20 while fingerprint-based criminal history checks start at $40.66. This is because fingerprint-based reports are more detailed and complete.

The Police Criminal Information Unit is responsible for background checks in New Jersey. To request, you only need to fill out the appropriate form together with your payment information and send these to the New Jersey State Police Criminal Division through the mail, email, or in-person.

Note that you may also conduct background checks using a trustworthy third-party site.

New Jersey Official Websites

Frequently Asked Questions About New Jersey Background Checks

How do I get a background check in NJ?

To request a criminal background check in New Jersey, it must be done so electronically through an approved fingerprint capturing site. However, the release of such information can only be done with a federal or state statute, regulation, rule, administrative code, or executive order. 

What shows up on a background check in NJ?

All convictions, arrests, pending arrests, and charges will show up on a criminal background check in New Jersey. If the records were expunged, they will not be viewable. 

How far back can a background check go in New Jersey?

The New Jersey expungement process is as follows:

  1. Collect all relevant records.
  2. Request a State Fingerprint Check.
  3. Complete the forms: Petition For Expungement, Order for Hearing, and Expungement Order. 
  4. File the forms with the appropriate entities. 
  5. Attend your hearing.