Free Arkansas Background Check: How to See AR Criminal Record

A portrait of Background Check Records founder, Jayson Baxter.Written by Jayson Baxter

Background Checks | June 7, 2023

A man on the left is scratching his head with his right hand and holding a grey magnifying glass by his waist with his right hand as he wonders how to get an Arkansas background check while starring at a screen that has the state of Arkansas in yellow with the words "Arkansas Records" and another man in a red t-shirt, blue jeans, and blonde hair is grasping the screen with his left hand and his right hand rests on his hip.

A free Arkansas background check can be ran on any of the 3,011,524 residents if it’s done for personal reasons and it can pull up information such as someone’s criminals history, marital status, probation information, arrest warrants, driving infractions and other information someone might be hiding.1

On the other hand, background checks for business purposes such as employment, licensing, firearms, tenant screening etc. must abide by certain laws, regulations, and stipulations depending on the use case. And to make things more complex, different types of background checks are ran through varous government agencies who all have their own policies and procedures.

In any case, learning how to see AK criminal records and other information can be as easy as using the free search form above, or as complex as navigating through several government databases and websites to find the sought after information.

Therefore, getting familiar with finding public records yourself, or determining the best approach for your agency or business is a best practice to either locate the information required, and remain compliant while sifting through applicants.

Free Background Check in Arkansas (Access Free Public Criminal Records in AR)

In general, criminal records in Arkansas are considered public records unless they fall under the following exemptions: criminal offenses disposed of in juvenile court, investigative reports by law enforcement or any records sealed or expunged by order of the court.

Those criminal records that are public records can be accessed through government resources by anyone for personal reasons, often for free, but individuals conducting an Arkansas background check for professional reasons must go through compliant state agencies listed below.

Check Arkansas Criminal History Free Through the Arkansas Department of Public Safety

The AR Department of Safety Official Criminal Background Check System is the official system for authorized entities in the state to perform online criminal background checks. This is the primary source for all criminal records within the state.

The Arkansas State Police criminal record check form showing the AK Department of Public Safety only needs the full name, date of birth, state of birth, race, sex, social security number, and address to run a background check on someone.

Authorized agencies can use an online portal to submit requests for background checks in Arkansas and the requesting entity must have the subject’s written consent before conducting the search.

Requests must also be accompanied by a completed Arkansas State Police criminal background check form (showing the request is for personal use or with the written consent of the subject when requested by a third party).2

Free Arkansas Local Criminal Records Through the Clerk of Court’s Office

One of the duties of the clerk of the court’s office in Arkansas is to provide information on cases upon request to the public, media, attorneys, parties involved, and others. Information on cases can be located at the local clerk of the court’s office in the court jurisdiction where the case was tried.

Individuals can search court cases at public terminals maintained by the clerk’s office free of charge. If they wish to have a hard copy (paper copy) of the record, the clerk’s office can charge a small fee for printing the record.

Search Free Criminal Backgrounds in Arkansas Through the Administrative Office of the Courts

Arkansas has 32 State District Courts, served by 55 district court judges who are elected to six-year terms. These courts handle all misdemeanor and traffic offenses as well as first appearances or preliminary hearings for felony offenses.

The state also has 35 Local District Courts that are administered by part-time judges that have jurisdiction over the same type of cases as the State District Courts; however, the focus is on the local geographical area.3

Arkansas has 28 Circuit Courts (sometimes called Superior Courts in other states) and is considered general courts meaning they can hear criminal, civil, domestic, juvenile, and probate cases. These 28 districts cover all 75 counties in Arkansas and include 126 Circuit Court Judges.4

A screenshot showing the shape of Arkansas and their twenty eight circuit courts or districts in different colors such as green, light blue, red, and yellow.

The Administrative Office of the Courts, which oversees both District and Circuit courts in Arkansas, has an online search portal for the public to search court cases by name, docket information (when the case was placed on a docket or list of cases to be heard on a certain day), judgment information (sentencing or disposition), and other court-related matters.

Request Free Public Records Using Arkansas County Clerks Offices

Arkansas has 75 counties, each with its own county clerk responsible for maintaining records regarding citizens in that county. Individuals wishing to find out information on a person in that county can go to the county clerk’s office to learn about the following:

  • Voter Registration Information
  • Marriage Licensing Information
  • County Records (taxes, resident information).
  • Real Estate Information (deeds, survey maps, and other property data).

For example, in Little Rock, AR, individuals wishing to search records would go to the Pulaski County Circuit/County Clerk’s Office to access information from the list above.5

These are just a few of the ways to access records on someone in Arkansas.

Some other ways to find out criminal history or other information on a person in Arkansas include doing an inmate search through the Arkansas Department of Corrections’ online portal,  and vehicle registration information through the Department of Motor Vehicles (which requires the searcher to be granted access and carries a fee).

Individuals can also search for free the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Registry or the Arkansas Crime Information Center Sex Offender Registry for criminal history information regarding sex offense convictions.

These are a few of the ways to conduct background checks through government agencies in Arkansas. There are other types of records that people may want to research such as marital status.

How to Check if Someone Is Married or Divorced in Arkansas

If someone wants to know if a person is married or divorced in Arkansas, they would need to turn to the Arkansas Department of Health, Office of Vital Records. The Office of Vital Records maintains records of all births, deaths, marriages, and divorces for the state.

Vital records such as marriage and divorce records can only be released to certain parties.

A screenshot showing the Arkansas Department of Health Vital Records Online Service allows marriage, death, birth, and death certificated to be requested.

These are the person named in the record, the person of record’s spouse or domestic partner who is registered, descendants of the persons of record, the parent or legal guardian of the person listed on the record, the legal representative of the person on the certificate, any local, state or federal governmental agency or a genealogical agent.6

Arkansas processes requests for records online, via mail, as walk-ins, or over the telephone. There is a $10 fee for the record itself, along with a $5 process fee and an additional $1.85 (online fee) to process the documents verifying the person has legal access to the record.

When submitting a request for records, the person searching must provide certain information such as their full name, physical address, date of birth, and government identification (driver’s license number or passport number) before the records can be released.7

Unlike Iowa background check records, divorces in Arkansas are not considered public records. Therefore, the release of records is strictly limited to those with a verified need for the record.

Understanding where to find records helps with conducting a search, but it’s also important to know why background checks are used in Arkansas and how to see AR criminal records.

Reasons Background Checks Are Used in Arkansas

There are a number of reasons a person in Arkansas may undergo a background check. In addition to someone doing a personal screening to see what shows up on their record, background checks are used to help agencies make business or professional decisions regarding candidates.

Employment background checks are the most common reason for an Arkansas record check. Employers will want to know the criminal history of candidates before the individual’s start date to make sure there are no disqualifying offenses on their record that would prevent them from doing the job.

For example, a person applying for a job with a daycare or school would undergo a background check to make sure they had not been convicted of child abuse or other crimes that could present a danger to this vulnerable population. Those wishing to work in public safety would undergo a background check to make sure they do not have a criminal history.

Licensing boards in Arkansas will also conduct background checks to make sure there are no disqualifying offenses that would prevent licensure. For example, Arkansas Medical Practices Act and Regulations require a criminal background screening for those seeking medical licensure in the state.

The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education also requires criminal background checks for teaching licensure in Arkansas. Licensing checks can also include a child maltreatment central registry background check in Arkansas to ensure children will not be placed in danger or harm’s way.

Yet another reason for background checks in Arkansas includes tenant screenings for apartment and housing leases. Landlords or property managers will conduct a consumer credit check on a person applying for rental property; however, they can also include a criminal history check. Credit reports are limited by Fair Credit Reporting Act requirements that outline how far back a screener can look at a person’s history.8

The state does not have a state-level law regarding a firearm background check in Arkansas; however, federal law does require licensed firearms dealers to conduct a National Incident Criminal Background Check (NICS) before completing the purchase. Licensed dealers are linked directly into the NICS to complete these screenings either by phone or electronically.9

An NCIS firearm background check form that requires the guns manufacturer, model, serial number, type, caliber as well as social security number, place of birth, height, weight sex, date of birth, current address about the soon to be owner and transferee.

Individuals can search for their records using the agencies listed above, and professional or official background checks can also use these outlets; however, there may be some restrictions.

Official background checks in Arkansas must comply with certain laws to make sure they are not used in discriminatory ways. For example, the Fair Credit Reporting Act only allows a searcher to look at seven years of credit history (ten years for certain bankruptcy cases) for a person.

When criminal history searches are conducted for employment or licensure, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission makes sure the records are not used in a discriminatory manner. The EEOC provides guidance on how to use arrest and criminal records when making hiring decisions.10

Firearms Background Checks by Federal Bureau of Investigation

Arkansas does not have state-level laws regarding background checks for firearms purchases; however, federal laws require licensed dealers to run a background check through the FBI’s NICS (National Incident Criminal Background Check System. Dealers can either call NICS or conduct an electronic search to make sure the individual can legally purchase or possess a firearm in Arkansas.9

Employment Background Checks by Arkansas Department of Public Safety

Employers can request an Arkansas background check through the Arkansas Department of Public Safety. Agencies must get the signed, written consent of the subject to the search and can make the request for the record online, in person, or via mail to:

Arkansas State Police Identification Bureau
1 State Police Plaza Dr.
Little Rock Arkansas 72209

Records are only released to authorized entities, and the cost per record ranges from $11-$22 depending on the record.

The Arkansas Department of Public Safety conducts level 1 background checks and level 2 background checks depending on whether or not fingerprinting and an FBI national check is requested through the state police.2

Vital Record Background Checks by County & City Agencies

Searches of vital records for official uses can be conducted in cases where identity needs to be established, or for court hearings that require establishing paternity or residency. Vital records such as births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and adoptions in Arkansas are considered confidential and can only be released to those with legal authority to receive them.

The Circuit Clerk for each county maintains the records regarding vital statistics (as listed in the paragraph above), as well as property listings for taxes, voter registration, and child support obligation information. Records can be requested in person at most circuit clerk offices.

For example, the Pulaski County Circuit Court office is at Pulaski County Courthouse, 401 W. Markham St. Little Rock, AR 72201 and can process requests for individuals within that county.5

Requests for city records can be made at the Little Rock Municipal Clerk’s office regarding matters affecting those living in the city limits; however, vital records requests must go through the county or the state agencies.

Searching city records for Little Rock is similar to the process for background check Miami in that the city clerks office is responsible for maintaining city records.11

The table below lists agencies or divisions that conduct background checks or require background checks and what each one specifically looks for.

Arkansas Agency Performing or Requiring a Background Check Reason for the Check
Arkansas Department of Public Safety
  • Employment
  • Volunteering
  • National (fingerprint) checks
  • Licensure
  • Childcare
  • Health and Safety
Division of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • School Administrators
  • Educators
  • Vendors
  • Cooperatives
  • Classified positions
Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Children and Family Services
  • Child Maltreatment Registry Check
Arkansas State Medical Board
  • Medical Doctors
  • Physician Assistants
  • Radiologists
  • Respiratory Therapists
  • Osteopathy Doctors
  • Occupational Therapists and OT Assistants
Arkansas Department of Health
  • Nursing Licensure
  • Interpreters for the Deaf
  • Speech/Language Pathologist
  • Audiologists
  • Podiatric Health
  • Dietetics
  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Acupuncturists
  • Athletic Trainers
  • Chiropractors
  • Dental Examiners
  • Dispensing Opticians
  • Substance Abuse Counselors
  • General Counselors
  • Hearing Aid Dispensers
  • Optometrists
  • Pharmacists
  • Physical Therapists
  • Sanitarians
Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration
  • Traffic violations

There are a number of reasons why someone in Arkansas may undergo a background check, but it’s also vital to know what will appear on one and how it will be used.

What Is on a Background Check in Arkansas? What Shows Up?

There are several items that can appear on a background check in Arkansas. When a criminal background check is completed by the Arkansas Department of Public Safety, it reveals the following information:

  • Felony convictions
  • Misdemeanor convictions
  • Pending felony arrests (the person is awaiting trial for a felony offense)
  • Registered sex offenders (and the registration level from 1 to 4) or if the person is required to register as a sex offender.

Public Safety background checks span three years with the exception of sex offender checks which have no limit.12

Requests for moving vehicle violations can be made through the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration and include the following information:

  • Traffic violations
  • Accident reports
  • Drug and alcohol-related offenses
  • Insurance or commercial driving reports

Health and safety checks look for disqualifying offenses that would prevent a person from performing the duties of the job. A detailed list will be provided later on.

Does getting fired go on your record? In Arkansas, a signed, dated release must be provided by the subject of the record before information can be released from an Arkansas background check. Information that can be disclosed includes:

  • Length of employment (date started and date ended)
  • Wage history and last rate of pay
  • Position description/job duties
  • Latest performance evaluation
  • Attendance record
  • Any substance abuse screenings from the previous 12-month period
  • Threats of violence or harassment toward other employees, employers, customers, or others at the workplace
  • Reason for separation (including termination)
  • If the person is eligible for rehire.

During the employment verification process, there is a great deal of information that can be disclosed in Arkansas. Consent is usually obtained during the application process.13

A screenshot showing that explicit consent must be required to run an employment background check on someone and it should be done on a separate form, or must be the largest letter on the employment application and bolded too.

For health workers, a DHS background check in Arkansas looks for disqualifying offenses that could indicate the person would be a danger to at-risk populations.

The amount of information provided on a background check depends on the reason for the check and the agency conducting the background investigation. There are some things that may or may not turn up on a check depending on what kind of request is made.

Do Warrants Show Up on a Arkansas Background Check?

When asking how to see AR criminal records, the searcher may wonder if warrants will appear on them. While warrants are court documents and have the potential to show up on a background check, they often do not in Arkansas.

Most warrants do not appear on a screening until after the person has been taken into custody, and then it only shows as a pending charge.

Some local law enforcement agencies in AR do publish warrant lists online so the public can see them. An example is Washington County which publishes its active warrants on its website.

Washington counties warrant search form that allows first and last names to be checked although it says it may not be accurate, they hold no liability of it's accuracy, and do not make an arrest based on information offered by the online warrant search tool.

Does Probation Show Up on Background Check?

Does probation show up on background check? Probation is part of the sentencing phase in a case; therefore, it can and does show up on a background check as part of the case disposition. When there is a violation of probation, it shows up as a separate charge on the record. The Department of Corrections inmate search in Arkansas can reveal details about probation.

Arkansas: Background Check Disqualifying Offenses

As stated earlier, there are a number of disqualifying offenses that may prevent a person from getting a job or obtaining licensure in Arkansas. Below are the disqualifying offenses in the state on an Arkansas background check:

Disqualifying Offenses for Background Checks in Arkansas
Capital Murder
Permanent Detention or Restraint
Terrorist Threat
Sex Offense
Death Threat to School Employee or Student
Domestic Battery
Court Ordered Custody Interference
Endangering Welfare of a Minor
Contributing to Delinquency of a Juvenile
Taking Money or Property from Incompetent Person
Computer Crimes Against Children
Theft of Property or Services or by Receiving
Criminal Impersonation
Breaking and Entering
Felonious Interference with Police
Drug Offenses
Promoting Obscene Material or Performance
Prostitution or Patronizing a Prostitute or Promoting Prostitution
Criminal Use of a Weapon
Discharging Firearm from a Vehicle
Aggravated Assault on Correctional Officer
Negligent Homicide
False Imprisonment
Administering Controlled Substance into Another Person
Terrorist Act
Visitation Interference
Endangering Welfare of Incompetent Person
Contributing to Delinquency of a Minor
Permitting Minor Abuse
Child Pornography or Sexual Exploitation of a Child
Felonious Abuse of Impaired or Endangered Person
Financial Identity Fraud
Resisting Arrest
Animal Cruelty
Public Obscenity Display
Live Public Show Obscene Performance
Possessing Drugs and Firearms at the Same Time
Aggravated Assault on Law Enforcement
Sexual Exploitation

Disqualifying offenses typically cover those that are violent in nature or threats to public safety. Does a restraining order go on your record as a disqualifying offense?

Restraining orders themselves are not listed among the disqualifying offenses, but the underlying charge that leads to the issuance of one can show up on a background check.

A list of disqualifying offenses to be employed or get a license pertaining to the Arkansas school system, some of which include, murder, kidnapping, assault, drug offenses, arson, terrorism, and more.

When these offenses show up on a background check, they can be used as the basis for denying employment due to the threat to public health and safety.

How Far Back Do Background Checks Go in Arkansas? How Many Years?

Most Arkansas background checks adhere to the seven-year limit placed on credit history by the FCRA. However, Arkansas doesn’t have any restrictions on how far employers can look back regarding criminal history.

The Arkansas Educator Licensing System Background Consent Form that requires the employer, applicant name, any aliases, place of birth, date of birth, social security number, driver license state, driver license number and more.

Most employers apply the FCRA requirements to criminal history, but they are not required to by law. There are some laws regulating what employers can look for and how it can be used.

Arkansas Background Check Laws

On the federal level, the FCRA and EEOC outline what employers can look for, how far back for some records they can search, and what employers can do with the information once obtained.

FCRA restricted employers from searching further back than seven years when conducting a credit history. Some bankruptcies can be searched for up to 10 years from the discharge date; however, most records adhere to the seven-year limit.

The EEOC provides guidance to employers about the use of arrest and criminal history to avoid violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. This protects candidates from being discriminated against simply because they have a criminal record.

Arkansas does not have a state-wide ban-the-box law regulating when employers can inquire about criminal history. The state does have state law 11-2-24 which prohibits employers from requiring applicants to provide login credentials to social media accounts. Applications must rely primarily on federal statutes instead of Arkansas employment background check laws.

The cost of getting a background check is another factor that must be considered when agencies are requesting a history of a candidate.

Background Check Cost in Arkansas: How Much Is it?

The cost of a background check in Arkansas varies depending on the type of check and the agency completing it. The table below outlines the cost of background checks in Arkansas.

Agency Performing Check Cost
Arkansas Department of Public Safety $22.00 per name-based request for employees
$11.00 per name-based check request for volunteers
$14.25 per national (fingerprint) FBI check for employees
$12.25 per national (fingerprint) FBI check for volunteers
$25 for manually processing requests
Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education $38.25
Division of Children and Family Services Child Maltreatment Registry Check $10.00
Department of Health $36.25
Department of Finance and Administration $8.50-10 for Insurance records
$10-13 for Commercial records
$8.50 for driving history records

Once the fees are paid, the search will take place, and the amount of time taken can vary.

How Long Does a Background Check Take in Arkansas?

A background check in Arkansas can vary depending on the agency conducting the search. Records checks from the Department of Public Safety can take seven to 10 business days to complete when processed manually. Electronic searches can take a few minutes to a couple of hours depending on how deeply the agency has to search and if it includes a national background check with fingerprints.

Arkansas Department of Health and Medical Board searches are usually completed within 20 minutes of making the request using the electronic system providing the individual has completed the live scan of their fingerprints at one of the authorized live scan locations.

Records reviewed at the clerk of court’s office can be seen instantly at one of the public terminals; however, these are not considered official background checks.

Driving records can also be retrieved in minutes through the Department of Finance and Administration’s online portal.

Overall, obtaining an Arkansas background check is as simple as knowing where to look and how to access the records, in addition to having the necessary authorizations to access certain records.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Do Driving Tickets or Moving Violations Go on Background Checks in Arkansas?

Motor vehicle violations or traffic tickets do not show up on routine background checks; however, they will show up on driving specific screenings for jobs that require use of a motor vehicle.

Do Speeding Tickets Show Up on Arkansas Background Checks?

Unless the reason for the background check is for a position that requires use of a motor vehicle, speeding violations will not show up on a routine check. Speeding tickets will only appear on driving history specific screenings.

Are Misdemeanors Revealed on Background Checks in Arkansas?

Unless misdemeanors are sealed or expunged, they will show up on an Arkansas background check.

Do Felonies Go on Arkansas Background Checks?

Unless the felony has been sealed or expunged, it will show up on an Arkansas background check.


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Online Criminal Background Check System. (n.d.). Online Criminal Background Check System. Retrieved September 5, 2022, from <>

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National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) | Federal Bureau of Investigation. (n.d.). FBI. Retrieved September 5, 2022, from <>

10 Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. (2012, April 25). Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Retrieved September 5, 2022, from <>

11 The Mission of the City Clerk’s Office. (n.d.). City of Little Rock. Retrieved September 5, 2022, from <>

12 Online Criminal Background Check System. (n.d.). Retrieved September 5, 2022, from <>

13 Office of Personnel Management. (2015, July 22). Retrieved September 5, 2022, from <>

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