Access to Criminal History Records & Background Checks

 

Guide to DCJS Criminal History Record

Personal Criminal History Record Review Program

Pursuant to 9 New York Code of Rules and Regulations Part 6050.1, the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) allows an individual or his/her attorney to obtain either a copy of all criminal history information maintained on file at DCJS pertaining to him or her, or a response indicating that there is no criminal history information on file. If you believe that you may have criminal history information stored under more than one name on the criminal history database, please include those additional name(s) as aliases on the application and fingerprint card. That will assist in the location of additional sealed records not supported by fingerprints. A criminal history record report or a "no record" response, may be used for any personal reason by that individual.  However, a record review response cannot replace or supplant a fingerprint supported criminal history background check for employment or licensing processed through DCJS where such a check is required by State, federal or local law.

Effective October 24, 2014, an individual will choose between the two types of Personal Record Review Responses detailed below:

Personal Record Review – Unsuppressed.  The individual will receive his/her New York State criminal history record information based upon a fingerprint based search.  The response will also include:  criminal history record information sealed under Criminal Procedure Law Sections 160.50 (dismissed cases), 160.55 (eligible violation convictions), 160.58 (eligible substance abuse and related convictions) and 720.35 (Youthful Offender adjudications).  Individual charges dismissed in court and the equivalent arrest charges normally suppressed would also be included.  This is the Personal Record Review response that had been previously provided to all applicants.

Personal Record Review – Suppressed.  The individual will receive his/her New York State criminal history record information based upon a fingerprint based search.  The response will NOT include:  criminal history record information sealed under Criminal Procedure Law Sections 160.50 (dismissed cases), 160.55 (eligible violation convictions), 160.58 (eligible substance abuse and related convictions) and 720.35 (Youthful Offender adjudications).  Individual charges dismissed in court and the equivalent arrest charges would also not be included for events disposed after November 1, 1991.  This is the new type of Record Review response that may be requested by all applicants.

An individual may only choose one of the two types of responses. If he/she wants both types of responses, a second Personal Record Review request will need to be done.
     
Note: a personal record review cannot be requested for another person in order to determine if that person has a criminal history.

New York State Labor Law §201-f provides that every employer shall post, in a place accessible to his or her employees, a copy of Correction Law Article 23-A relating to the licensure and employment of persons previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses.

Relative to fingerprinting of employees, New York State Labor Law Section 201-a states:

Except as otherwise  provided by law, no person, as a condition of securing employment or  of  continuing  employment,  shall  be  required  to  be fingerprinted. This  provision shall not apply to employees of the  state  or  any  municipal  subdivisions  or  departments  thereof,  or  to the employees of legally  incorporated hospitals, supported in whole or in part by public funds or  private endowment, or to the employees of  medical  colleges  affiliated  with such hospitals or to employees of private proprietary hospitals

      Please click the appropriate link for information on requesting a Personal Criminal History Record Review:

Record Review Fee-Based (Living in New York State)

To Request a Public Record Review While Living in New York State:

  1. Contact MorphoTrust USA - a vendor under a state contract - by calling 1-877-472-6915 (toll free number) or by visiting their website at www.Identogo.com to schedule an appointment for fingerprinting.
  2. In scheduling an appointment on-line or by calling MorphoTrust USA at the above toll free number, please note:
    1. The Record Review ORI Number -NYDCJSPRY –must be listed.
    2. You must request either the response type of “Personal Record Review – Unsuppressed” or  “Personal Record Review – Suppressed".
    3. You may request that your response be sent to your attorney rather than yourself.
  3. When you arrive for your fingerprinting appointment, you must:
    1. Provide two forms of identification (information on acceptable forms are available on the MorphoTrust USA website or from the MorphoTrust USA Call Center); AND
    2. Pay the fee for fingerprinting services - $59.95 using a personal or business check,
      certified check, bank check, money order, cash, or credit card made out to "MorphoTrust
      USA".

DCJS Response: Upon completion of your MorphoTrust USA fingerprinting appointment:

  • You may verify that your fingerprint transaction has been submitted to DCJS by calling MorphoTrust USA at 1-877-472-6915 (toll free number).
  • DCJS will mail your response to via U.S. mail seven to ten business days after receipt of the fingerprints.  Responses cannot be picked up at DCJS.
  • The response may include criminal, civil or no record information. A form explaining how to challenge any reported information will also be included with the response. This link provides you with guidelines to expedite your request to challenge your record.

Record Review Fee-Based (Living Outside New York State)

To Request a Record Review While Living Outside New York State:

  • Contact the DCJS Record Review Unit to request an out of state Record Review application packet by:
    • Phone: (518) 485-7675; (518) 457-9847 or 1-800-262-3257 (DCJS Customer Contact Center)
    • E-Mail:  RecordReview@dcjs.ny.govPlease provide current complete mailing address in your email (including addresses  outside the United States)  to obtain the application packet as the packet cannot be emailed; OR
    • Mail:
      DCJS Record Review Unit
      New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
      Alfred E. Smith Building
      80 South Swan St.
      Albany, New York 12210
  • Complete the "Request for MorphoTrust USA Cardscan Fingerprinting Services – NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services Record Review Program" application form and mail it to MorphoTrust USA (address below) and select either the response type of “Personal Record Review – Unsuppressed” or  “Personal Record Review – Suppressed” as detailed above, with:
    • Your fingerprints and demographic information on the enclosed fingerprint card. TO ENSURE PROPER PROCESSING, USE THE ENCLOSED CARD AND DO NOT FOLD! AND
    • The fee of $59.95 which may be paid using a personal or business check, certified check, bank check, money order, or credit card made out to "MorphoTrust USA".
    • Note: If appropriate, complete the authorization on the application form to have the Record Review response mailed to your attorney.
  • Out of State Record Review Vendor Mailing Address
    • MorphoTrust USA
      NY Card Scan Department
      3051 Hollis Drive, Suite 310
      Springfield, IL 62704

DCJS Response: After mailing your Record Review packet to MorphoTrust USA:

  • You may verify that a fingerprint card mailed has been received by MorphoTrust USA and/or submitted to DCJS for processing by calling MorphoTrust USA at 1-877-472-6915 (toll free number) or 1-217-793-2080 (from outside the United States).
  • DCJS will mail your response to via U.S. mail seven to ten business days after receipt of the fingerprints. Responses cannot be picked up at DCJS.
  • The response may include criminal, civil or no record information. A form explaining how to challenge  any reported information will also be included with the response. This link provides you with guidelines to expedite your request to challenge your record.

Record Review Fee Waiver

To Request a Record Review and the Waiver of the $50 DCJS Record Review Fee:

  1. Contact DCJS and request a Record Review Fee Waiver application packet by:
    • Phone: (518) 485-7675; (518) 457-9847 or 1-800-262-3257 (DCJS Customer Contact Center)
    • E-Mail:  RecordReview@dcjs.ny.govPlease provide current complete mailing address in your email (including addresses outside the United States)  to obtain the application packet as the packet cannot be emailed; OR
    • Mail:
      DCJS Record Review Unit
      New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
      Alfred E. Smith Building
      80 South Swan St.
      Albany, New York 12210
  2. Complete and return the Fee Waiver packet to the DCJS Record Review Unit (address above) and select  either the response type of “Personal Record Review – Unsuppressed” or  “Personal Record Review – Suppressed”, and include:
    1. The Fee Waiver application form;
    2. Your fingerprints and demographic information on the enclosed fingerprint card; TO ENSURE PROPER PROCESSING, USE THE ENCLOSED CARD AND DO NOT FOLD!, AND;
    3. The documentation to support your request for a fee waiver such as
      • a photocopy of a valid and current public assistance benefits card; or
      • a notarized financial statement listing available assets and current income which includes certification or attestation that the statement is true and accurate.
    4. Note: If appropriate, complete the authorization on the application form to have the Record Review response mailed to your attorney.
  3. Fingerprint cards from approved Fee Waiver requests are entered and processed by DCJS staff.

DCJS Response: After Mailing Your Record Review Fee Waiver Packet to DCJS:

  • Allow for a minimum of seven to ten business days for DCJS to respond to you via U.S. Mail.
  • The response may include criminal, civil or no record information. A form explaining how to challenge any reported information will also be included with the response. This link provides you with guidelines to expedite your request to
    challenge your record.

Agency Access to Criminal History Record Information

Access to criminal history record information (CHRI) maintained by the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) for job or license applicants is permitted pursuant to state law, federal law, or a local law of a municipality or political subdivision of the state, that specifically provides for fingerprint submission to DCJS

New York State Labor Law §201-f provides that every employer shall post, in a place accessible to his or her employees, a copy of Correction Law Article 23-A relating to the licensure and employment of persons previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses.

Every agency which is authorized to access criminal history record information has executed a contract with DCJS known as a Use & Dissemination Agreement. This Agreement outlines the agency's responsibilities and the responsibilities of each individual authorized to access criminal history record information.

If you do not have statutory authority to access New York State Criminal History Record Information maintained by DCJS there are other sources of information available that may meet your needs.

The state Office of Court Administration (OCA) will provide conviction records for a fee of $65. Visit www.courts.state.ny.us and click on the FAQs link. Once there, select “Criminal History Record Search” for more information. Inquiries regarding criminal disposition data should be directed to OCA's Criminal History Record Search Unit at (212) 428-2943 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

You also may obtain information about sex offenders from the state’s Sex Offender Registry.

By law, only information about Level 2 (medium risk) and Level 3 (high risk) offenders is available via the Sex Offender link on the DCJS website.

Information about any level offender (including offenders whose risk level has not yet been assigned) is available through a toll-free number: 1-800-262-3257 (press option 2). Callers must be prepared to provide a full name and either an exact address, driver’s license number, birth date or if birth date or exact address is not available then other identifiers such as Social Security number will be required.

For more information, visit the Employee/Volunteer/Camp Searches link on the DCJS website.

Background Checks and Training Requirements

As of May 1, 2009, DCJS established new requirements for user agencies accessing only NYS criminal history information. Access to NYS and federal criminal history records is governed by the terms of a Use and Dissemination Agreement entered into with DCJS. Use and Dissemination Agreements entered into after May 1, 2009 are subject to the new requirements which include:

  1. A fingerprint-based criminal history background check of authorized users having access to Criminal History Record Information (CHRI); and
  2. Specific training relating to the confidentiality of information to be reviewed by authorized users prior to accessing CHRI.

These changes reflect DCJS' desire to include all users who access CHRI within provisions regarding training and background checks which currently apply only to those users who access federal CHRI.

If you have any questions surrounding agency access to criminal history record information, please contact the Customer Contact Center at 518-457-5837 or 800-262-3257 and ask to be directed to the U&D group for assistance.

Local Law Requirements

Local governments should follow the guidelines below in drafting a local law that will be sufficient to authorize the agency to submit non-criminal applicant fingerprint inquiries to DCJS:

  1. The specific license type/job title for which fingerprinting is required;
  2. A provision requiring submission of fingerprints and any applicable fees in the form and manner as prescribed by DCJS;
  3. The name of the municipal agency and the title of the staff responsible for reviewing the criminal history record information (CHRI) disseminated by DCJS; and
  4. A provision stating that if a prospective applicant has been convicted of a crime, any decision regarding such prospective applicant's fitness for a license must be made upon consideration of New York State Correction Law §§701-703-b and §§751-753. Correction Law §§701-703-b provides for certificates of relief from disability and certificates of good conduct and §§751-753 sets forth NY's public policy to encourage the licensure and employment of persons previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses and factors that should be considered in making hiring determinations.

Proof of filing of such local law with the Secretary of State should also be submitted along with request for consideration of local law.

Please be advised that upon request, DCJS will review the sufficiency of any draft local law prior to its enactment.

U&D Agreement Procedure

*note this UD procedure information is currently unavailable in our Spanish translated page.

Inquiries concerning access to fingerprint-based criminal history record information (CHRI) maintained by the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) should be directed to the DCJS Use and Dissemination Unit. Please be advised that CHRI may only be released to law enforcement agencies, courts and entities that have statutory authority to access our records (see, Executive Law §837) or pursuant to a judicial subpoena.

Also, existing regulations (9 NYCRR Part 6050) allow an individual to request a personal criminal history record review. For further information about personal record reviews, please contact the DCJS Customer Contact Center at 1-800-262-3257 and request to be directed to the Record Review Unit, or email the Record Review Unit at RecordReview@dcjs.ny.gov; or write to DCJS Record Review Unit, Alfred E. Smith Building 80 South Swan St. Albany, New York 12210

All other access to CHRI is accomplished by the execution of a written Use and Dissemination (U&D) agreement between DCJS and the agency or organization seeking access. In order to commence the U&D process, the agency or organization seeking access must submit in writing the following information:

  • Statutory authority authorizing the submission of fingerprints and receipt of CHRI; and
  • Whether your entity is requesting access to federal CHRI maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with the statutory authority which permits such access; and
  • Description of your agency’s functions.

Upon receipt, all requests for access to CHRI are sent to the DCJS Office of Legal Services for review to determine whether sufficient statutory authority exists to grant access. If there is not, access must be denied.

For further information, please contact the DCJS Customer Contact Center at 1-800-262-3257 or InfoDCJS@dcjs.ny.gov and request to be directed to the U&D group for assistance. You also may write to DCJS U&D Unit, Alfred E. Smith Building 80 South Swan St. Albany, New York 12210

Identity Theft

ALLEGATIONS OF STOLEN IDENTITY INVOLVED IN ARREST CASES

September 2013

If you believe that your identifying information – name and/or date of birth, for example – has been fraudulently used by another person who has been arrested for a fingerprintable crime, the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) Records Management Unit can assist you.

Contact DCJS by:

Phone: (518) 457-6063 or 1-800-262-3257, option 1 (DCJS Customer Contact Center)

E-Mail: david.rowell@dcjs.ny.gov

Mail:
Manager, Records Management Unit
Office of Criminal Justice Operations
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
Alfred E. Smith Building
80 South Swan St, Room 629
Albany, New York 12210

You will need to provide DCJS with the following information:

  • Detailed information about the alleged arrest event that includes your identifying information. This could include: date(s) of arrest(s); court docket numbers; or other documentation such as newspaper articles that is sufficient to identify the arrest so DCJS staff can retrieve the information.
  • Your fingerprints. Contact DCJS at the telephone number or e-mail address above to request a fingerprint card. Once you have received the card, bring it to your local law enforcement agency (for example, a sheriff’s office or police department); that agency will capture your fingerprints on the card so it can be returned to DCJS along with information about the alleged arrest event.

Once DCJS receives the appropriate information, the following will occur:

  • Evaluation of Claim: Upon receipt and review of your fingerprint card and the documentation you submitted to address your claim that your identifying information has been fraudulently used during the arrest of another person for a fingerprintable crime, DCJS will issue a letter to you for each claim indicating either:
    • Claim Founded: The letter will indicate that your fingerprints do not match the arrest fingerprints to which they were compared, but that certain identifying information of yours was used in connection with an arrest.
    • Claim Not Founded: The letter will indicate that DCJS cannot substantiate the claim that your identifying information was used by another individual during an arrest.

EEOC Guidelines

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued Criminal Records Guidance that addresses the exclusions of job applicants with criminal records: Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.

Record Review: Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

How do I obtain a certificate of relief?

A certificate of relief is a document, issued by a court or the of Corrections and Community Supervision, which removes restrictions barring individuals who have been convicted of misdemeanors or up to one felony from certain types of employment and from obtaining certain licenses. You need to contact the court or the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision at www.doccs.ny.gov for detailed information on how to apply for the certificate.

How do I obtain a certificate of good conduct?

A certificate of good conduct is a document, issued by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, which removes employment and licensure restrictions imposed on individuals who have been convicted of two or more felonies, and may restore the right of the individual to hold public office. You need to contact the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision at www.doccs.ny.gov for detailed information on how to apply for the certificate.

I was convicted of a misdemeanor or felony in New York State more than 10 years ago. How do I get it expunged?

New York State law does not allow for expungement of adult arrest records (those based upon criminal incidents when the individual was 16 years of age or older). However, a record related to an arrest that resulted in a dismissal of the charge or an acquittal may be sealed. A sealed record can be released only for limited purposes, such as if an individual applies for a pistol permit or for employment as a police or peace officer. Additionally, a sealed record may be released to parole or probation if you are under supervision.

How do I obtain a copy of my New York State criminal history?

You may get a copy of your New York State criminal history by conducting a Record Review.

  • If you live in New York State, you need to schedule an appointment with MorphoTrust USA by telephoning their Call Center toll free at 1-877-472-6915 or visiting their web site at www.Identogo.com. MorphoTrust USA , which is under contract with the state, has approximately 100 fingerprinting workstation sites spread around New York State, including some offering evening and weekend hours. You will be required to provide two forms of identification when you appear for your appointment. Information on acceptable forms of identification can be obtained through their Call Center and on their website. You will also need to provide MorphoTrust USA with the following ORI Number - NYDCJSPRY - that applies to a Record Review.
  • If you live outside New York State, please call the DCJS Record Review unit at (518)485-7675 or (518)457-9847 to request a cardscan packet (fingerprint card, application and fee) that should be completed and mailed to the MorphoTrust USA address on the application. You can contact their Call Center at 1-877-472-6915 to confirm receipt of the cardscan packet.

The current Record Review processing fee is $59.95, which includes a $50.00 DCJS fingerprinting fee and an MorphoTrust USA fingerprinting fee of $9.95. Information on acceptable forms of payment can be obtained from their Call Center and their website.

Your complete unsuppressed New York State criminal history rapsheet will be mailed within 7 to 10 business days after DCJS receives the transaction from MorphoTrust USA. Responses cannot be picked up at DCJS. You will also receive information on how to challenge any aspect of your criminal history record.

Can I request a waiver of the Record Review Fee?

Yes. If you believe that you qualify to have your Record Review fee waived, please call the DCJS Record Review unit at (518) 485-7675 or (518) 457-9847 to request a Record Review Fee Waiver packet. You will receive a fingerprint card and an application. You need to return the completed fingerprint card and application with the necessary documentation (such as a valid public assistance benefits card or a notarized financial statement) to support your request for the fee waiver. Then, the application, the fingerprint card and the supporting documentation should be returned to DCJS.

Civil Fingerprint Processing

Does DCJS perform background checks?

Yes. DCJS performs fingerprint-based background checks for employment and licensing purposes.

Who can request a background check?

An agency may request a background check for an applicant for employment or licensing based upon a federal, state, or local statute that authorizes submission of fingerprints to DCJS. An agency may also be authorized to have the fingerprints submitted to the FBI for a federal fingerprint-based background check if a state law authorizes such access. If authorized by law, private sector and not-for-profit agencies requesting background checks are normally required to have the fingerprints submitted through the state agency that has regulatory authority over their operations.

If an agency is authorized by a law to request a fingerprint based background check for a certain type of job/license application, what fees are charged?

The standard DCJS processing fee for background checks is $75. The standard FBI fee for background checks submitted electronically is $16.50. In addition, L-1 Identity Solutions under a contract with New York State may submit civil fingerprint transactions from authorized contributors to DCJS. If a contributor agency chooses to utilize the L-1 network for transmission of their authorized civil fingerprint submissions, an additional L-1 vendor fee would apply. In all cases, applicants should contact the agency that instructed them to be fingerprinted for the current fee.

When an applicant fingerprint card is submitted to DCJS, how long does the fingerprint search process take for results to go back to the authorized agency?

Once the fingerprints and associated data are taken, sent, and received by DCJS, the authorized agency should receive the applicant's criminal history within five days. In the case of applicant prints submitted electronically, DCJS strives to process such transactions within 24-48 hours.