Have you ever met someone and had a gut feeling you wouldn’t trust them to pet sit your goldfish, let alone allow them near your kids? People aren’t always honest about their past. They could lie on job applications or on applications to rent a home. You want to believe what they say, but are you willing to risk your business, property, or family’s safety?
There are ways to find out information about the people you live near, work with, or associate with on a regular basis. Better safe than sorry when it comes to trusting someone with your property or letting them into your home, right?
In Maryland, you can gain access to many District Court case records through the Maryland Judiciary Case Search website. This allows you to see if someone has a criminal record, is a convicted felon, or has had judgments or liens filed against them. The Case Search is a free service offered by the state of Maryland.
What Can You Find on the Maryland Judiciary Case Search?
This case search website contains criminal, civil, and traffic case records and access to Maryland Circuit Court criminal and civil case records. The website doesn’t grant access to cases covered by Maryland Rules on Access to Court Records. Information on this system is entered directly by the clerk’s office and becomes available soon after it is entered, except for information from Montgomery County Court, which takes about 10 minutes to become available.
The District Court cases on Maryland Judiciary Case Search include criminal cases as far back as late 1991. Civil cases date back to 1989. These records remain on Case Search forever unless they are removed by expungement or other court-ordered reasons. Traffic cases in the system remain on the site for 36 months after they have closed unless they’re serious offenses, like driving under the influence. After 36 months, a traffic case record moves to a history database only accessible by the clerk’s office or by going to the clerk’s office and using the access device they provide onsite for public use.
The case records contain:
- Names of parties
- City and state
- Case number
- Date of Birth
- Trial date
- Case disposition
- Detailed case information
You can also search for information about any judgments or liens someone might have. Case Search doesn’t always provide all federal or state tax lien information—it depends on the circuit court. This is important if you’re going into business with someone or renting a home to someone. If a court has to order someone to pay money they owe or place a lien on their property, you might think twice before entering into a business agreement with them.
How Do You Use Maryland Judiciary Case Search?
Once you arrive at the Case Search site, you’re required to agree to the terms, conditions, and limitations listed on its homepage. In doing so, you’re agreeing that there is no guarantee to the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of the information on Case Search. You accept the risk of using the information you do find.
All you need to use Case Search is the person’s first and last name. With limited information, you should start with a wide search by:
- Clicking on the radio button to select “Person”
- Selecting “All Case Types”
- Setting search to “Both Circuit and District Courts”
- Setting county to “Default All”
There’s always the possibility of pulling up records from someone with the same name as the person you’re looking up, so it helps to enter as much information as you can about the person to filter search results. This might include:
- Person’s date of birth or approximate age
- Alias the person might go by
- Last known address or any previous addresses
- Counties lived in Maryland
- A range of dates when criminal cases or civil actions may have occurred
You Can’t Always Depend on Case Search for What You Want
You can get a lot of information on Case Search, but it’s no substitute for a criminal background check. Some cases, especially those of a sensitive nature, might not be available on the system.
Case Search also produces limited search records because there’s no standard between all the county circuit courts. You can search back to 1979 for criminal cases tried in Montgomery County, but in Queen Anne’s County, you can only search as far back as December 4, 2000. Depending on the county, you could be missing important information. If you can’t access records through Case Search, you can request most public court records by contacting the clerk’s office at the courthouse where the case was tried or filed.
You could receive error messages when using Case Search if your search returns too many records. When this happens, you’ll only get the first 500 results. Unless you narrow your search, you may not find what you need.
Court information can be expunged from Case Search by filing an application with the court and paying a fee. These records are available as part of the public record if you’re willing to dig further, but you won’t find them through Case Search.
The final issue with the Maryland Judiciary Case Search is you’re limited to cases that have occurred in the state of Maryland. There are 49 other states where a crime or arrest could have occurred. To do your due diligence, you might have to search court records for several states, especially the bordering states of Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.
What If You Want Sex Offender Information?
If you need to know whether someone is a sex offender, you might not find that information on Case Search. The Maryland Sex Offender Registry is maintained by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS).
Like Case Search, the DPSCS website has its limitations. A sex offender who is registered in one state could move to Maryland and not bother to register. When this happens, you have no way of knowing unless you check sex offender registries for other states.
A Better Way to Get the Info You Need
The Maryland Judiciary Case Search is a useful online tool, but its limitations can outweigh its usefulness. It lacks the expanded access to larger databases that contain public records, criminal histories, mugshots, and sex offender information from all across the country. Even for criminal information within Maryland, you may have to contact several different agencies before you can get the information you need.
There is a better way to obtain the criminal history and public records of a potential employee, suspicious neighbor, renter, or anyone that could possibly pose a threat to you or your family. With CheckThem, you can perform a complete background search for not just Maryland, but all states. CheckThem has the ability to scan federal, state, and county records all in one place, which is something that Case Search just can’t do.
With CheckThem, you can find out important information regarding:
- Arrest records
- Police records
- Felonies or misdemeanors
- Criminal background records
- Civil lawsuit records
- Traffic offenses, including DUIs
- Public records
But that’s not all that you can get from a background or criminal record search with CheckThem. You get peace of mind.
CheckThem is the complete solution for all the background checking tools you need. For one monthly fee, you can run unlimited background searches on as many people as you want, as often as you want.