What is a background check?
A background check is an investigation into an individual’s criminal record, employment history, driving record, education, finances, or other aspects of their personal history.
Background checks are often performed by an organization or company in order to screen a subject before a significant financial or legal agreement. However, individuals regularly perform background checks on themselves to make sure that the public information on them matches their personal records.
For more general information on background checks, consult our Background Checks FAQS page.
How do I run a criminal background check in Arizona?
Individuals in Arizona can request a copy of their criminal history background information by mail through the Arizona Department of Public Safety background check system. An Arizona criminal background check will include arrest records, misdemeanor and felony convictions, and other criminal history documents. However, requesting the criminal records of others is restricted to authorized agencies and persons for the purposes of background screening, and not allowed for the general public.
Those in Arizona that want to obtain a copy of their own state criminal record should send a Record Review Packet to the Central State Repository of Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS).
The Record Review Packet can be downloaded and printed by clicking the links below.
Once you have the packet documents and print them out, complete the following steps:
- Fill out the Contact Information Sheet.
- Go to a local law enforcement agency to have your fingerprints taken and put on the Blank Applicant fingerprint card.
- Fill out the required information on the Blank Applicant fingerprint card.
- If you are represented by an attorney, the attorney is required to include a notarized letter of authorization along with the packet.
- Mail all of the components together in an envelope addressed to:
ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS UNIT
PO BOX 18450
PHOENIX, AZ 85005-8450
After the packet is submitted, a copy of your criminal record will be mailed in around two weeks. If you have questions regarding the submitted packet, call the Criminal History Records Section at (602) 223-2229.
What can I do if my Arizona criminal history record has incomplete or inaccurate information?
If the criminal record information or arrest reports included within the mailed results sent by the Criminal History Records Unit have incomplete or erroneous information, an individual may challenge the record through completing and sending the Review and Challenge of Arizona Criminal History Record Information form that comes with the results.
After the form is completed, it should be mailed to the Arizona DPS Criminal History Records Unit at the address listed in the above section.
How do I search Arizona court records?
The Arizona Judicial Branch offers a free, user-friendly record search tool for looking up Arizona court cases called Public Access to Court Information. Individuals can search an expansive database containing court cases from 177 of the 184 Arizona court systems (click here for a list of the seven unavailable courts).
Public Access to Court Information allows users to search by name or search by case number and offers the choice of limiting the search to one court or searching the case databases of all available courts.
To search by name, users should input the following criteria:
- Last Name or Business Name (required)
- First name
- Date of Birth
To search by case number, users must type in the specific court case number that begins with a two-letter prefix followed by a dash and eight numerals (example: “LS-01122321”).
How do I search for Arizona Supreme Court Documents?
The Arizona Judicial Branch hosts a separate web-based portal called eAccess for searching criminal and civil case documents of the Superior Court and Pima Superior Court. eAccess also grants users both the ability to electronically certify documents and to check the authenticity of certified documents.
The eAccess database includes:
- Superior Court criminal and civil cases filed on or after July 1st, 2010
- Pima Superior Court criminal cases filed on or after July 1st, 2015.
eAccess is open to the public but requires individuals to register and pay a fee for court documents. The price begins at $10 a document but users receive a discounted price if they subscribe to a plan of 20 documents or more a month.
Where can I find Arizona driving records online?
A driving record, or motor vehicle record (MVR), is a printed document that includes the driving status and history of one or more of the following:
- An individual’s driving license
- A commercial driving license
- Identification license
Eligible individuals can view and print Arizona Motor Vehicle Records online by visiting Service Arizona and performing a search of either:
- Driver’s License Motor Vehicle Record
- Title and Registration Motor Vehicle Record
To request a Driver’s License Motor Vehicle Record, you are required to:
- Enter your full name
- Enter the last four digits of your social security number
- Enter your Arizona driver’s license number
- Pay a $3 fee by credit or debit card. If no record is found, a $3 fee is still required.
Alternatively, individuals may print and submit a Motor Vehicle Record Request form by mail or in-person to:
Mail Drop 504M
Motor Vehicle Division
PO Box 2100
Phoenix, AZ 85001-2100
The price is $3 for a 3-year uncertified driving record or $5 for a 5-year certified driving record.
How do I look up Arizona vital records such as birth certificates and marriage licenses?
Vital records are records of important life events such as births, deaths, marriages, and divorces that are kept by government agencies and accessible upon request.
Vital records are not public records that can be viewed by anyone, but the subject(s) of the record and authorized family members can view them in-person or order copies through a number of means. Additionally, one or more vital records may be required to complete a background check.
The Arizona Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Records enlists the services of the private company Vital Chek to enable individuals to order copies of vital records online. The government-endorsed service offers vital records from 50 U.S. states and territories.
Available vital records include:
- birth certificates
- death certificates
The price for one order is $31 or more and includes:
- a $20 certificate fee
- an $11 processing fee per order
- an additional fee for using an express shipping option (standard shipping is free)
Click here to place an order with Vital Chek. For more information, contact Arizona Vital Records at 877-803-0609.
How do I search for a person’s sex offender status in Arizona?
Arizona Revised Statute state laws require those that are found guilty of sex crimes or the unlawful imprisonment or kidnapping of a victim under the age of 18 to register as sex offenders.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety, Sex Offender Registry hosts a free Offender Search that allows individuals to search for Arizona sex offenders with the following criteria:
- By name
- By city
- By area
- Non-compliant offenders
- Email address or internet name
Individuals can also browse the list of all registered sex offenders in Arizona.
What are the Arizona background check laws for buying a gun?
- Federally licensed firearms dealers in Arizona are not required to perform a background check if the gun buyer has a state permit that allows them to purchase a firearm.
- Arizona is not a National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) point of contact state, meaning firearms dealers must contact the FBI directly to run a background check.
- Private sellers (i.e. those that are not licensed dealers) at gun shows and in other situations are not required to do a background check when transferring a firearm.
Source: Giffords Law Center
How do I perform a credit history background check in Arizona?
Performing a credit check in Arizona follows the same process as in other states. A federal law known as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) grants every American one free annual credit report each from the three main U.S. credit bureaus:
In order to obtain your free credit report from one of these three bureau, you must provide the following information:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Social security number