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 Maryland?
Unlike many states, Maryland does not have a convenient online criminal history information search tool that’s available to the public.
However, the Maryland Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services does outline a process in which an individual can perform a criminal background check and view all arrests and convictions on their record.
Here’s how to perform a criminal background check in Maryland:
- Have your fingerprints taken at a local law enforcement agency on an official fingerprint card OR have your fingerprints taken at an authorized fingerprinting service location. There will be a variable fee involved.
- Mail the fingerprint card, along with a check for the appropriate fee depending on which type of background check you’d like, to the following address:
P.O. Box 32708
Pikesville, Maryland 21282-2708
How do I search for Maryland court records?
The Maryland Judiciary provides a Case Search tool that the public can use to search for Maryland court records. While certain records, including sealed records and those involving juveniles, are not accessible using the search, a large database of records is available. Though the earliest dates for accessible records vary depending on the individual court, most courts provide records from at least 20 years back.
The following records can be found using Case Search:
- District court criminal, civil, and traffic case records
- Circuit court criminal and civil case records
Where can I find Maryland driving records online?
Maryland driving records cannot be ordered online.
In order to obtain a Maryland driving record, you must visit a Maryland Department of Motor Vehicles branch and request a record in person.
Here’s the pricing for the two types of Maryland driving record:
- Certified driving record – $12
- Non-certified driving record – $9
The driving record can be paid using a major debit or credit card, cash, or a personal check payable to “Motor Vehicle Administration”.
If you have any questions, contact the Maryland MVA at 1-410-768-7000.
How do I look up Maryland 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 Maryland Division of Vital Records enlists the services of the third-party vendor 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
- marriage records
- divorce records
Click here to place an order with Vital Chek.
For more information, contact the Division of Vital Records at 410-767-6500.
How do I search for a person’s sex offender status in Maryland?
Those convicted of sex-related crimes or certain crimes against children in Maryland are required by law to register as sex offenders. Additionally, offenders in the registry are required to notify law enforcement as soon as possible in the case of a physical address change or email address change, or they will be labeled “non-compliant”.
The Maryland Department of Safety and Correctional Services makes the Maryland Sex Offender Registry available online to the general public in the interest of public safety. Users may search by name, city, area, or email address/internet name. However, certain low-risk offenders may not be viewable in the online database.
Click here to perform a search of the Maryland Sex Offender Registry. It’s important to stay informed about potential threats in your neighborhood in order to take the necessary precautions.
How do I perform a credit history background check in Maryland?
Performing a credit check in Maryland 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 bureaus, you must provide the following information:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Social security number