TBI Home || About Us || Employment || Contact Us
Header Graphic
      In Memory

Background Checks

Criminal History Background Check FAQ’s

What does a TBI background check reveal?

The TBI Background Check will reveal whether the person in question has ever been arrested in the state of Tennessee, provided that the information you have submitted is correct. This would include any misdemeanor or felony charges.

When did the service begin?

The TBI began offering background checks to the public in July of 2004, following the passage of new legislation that made it legal for the TBI release criminal information in its database.

What information is needed to run a background check on someone?

The TBI asks that you provide a name, race, sex, date of birth, social security number and current address on the person you are seeking information on.

What if I don’t have all of the information listed on the application?

The TBI can process requests without complete information, however, the level of accuracy diminishes without a date of birth and/or a social security number. Common names are the most difficult to search because there may be several people in our files, making it difficult to ensure that we have the right person.

What happens if the person has a clean record?

If the person you are seeking information on has no criminal charges in his or her record, the TBI will send back a letter reflecting that.

If a person has been arrested, but not convicted, would it show up on their record?

All arrests should be revealed during our search, with the exception of those charges that have been legally expunged by a judge.

What should I do if I run a check on myself and find charges that should have been expunged?

If an expunged charge shows up in the TBI’s criminal database, it could mean that the proper documentation has not been provided to us by the courts. Appeals can be filed with the TBI.  To find out more about the appeals process, click here.

Why is there a fee associated with the checks?

The TBI was forced to launch a new unit to process background checks for the general public.  A portion of the $29 fee is used to cover salaries and other administrative costs.  Any money earned above and beyond that will be used to offset budget cuts sustained by the Bureau over the past years.

I want to see what my criminal history looks like outside the state of Tennessee. How would I go about getting a copy?

For a federal check, you can contact the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division Liaison office at (304) 625-5590 and choose the option to get a background check.  A person can only request this check for him/herself and there is a fee for this service.  Alternately, you may write to the following:

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Criminal Justice Information Services Division
Attn: SCU, Mod. D-2
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, WV  26306
A money order or certified check only, made payable to the FBI in the amount of $18 must be included with your written request.    

I have applied for a job in another state that requires I have a certified copy of my Tennessee criminal history record.  How do I get that from you?

Tennessee is an open record state so the TBI does certify copies of criminal history records through TORIS.  If you have applied for a job in another state that falls under the Child Care Provider Act or Developmental Disabilities Act, that employer must have a Users Agreement with the TBI before a criminal history can be performed through TAPS.

How long does it take to receive results?

3-5 business days