Why Do You Have to Pay Mandatory State Fees for Background Checks?

October 3, 2018
Robert Sanders
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Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes


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  • Running a background check that pulls records from counties and states that the applicant/candidate has lived within a determined time frame will give you the most accurate and compliant information.
  • An a la carte plan gives you the ability to pick and choose, but the ability to select jurisdictions can leave you out of compliance. When it comes to background checks you have to stay consistent.

Hearing the word “fees” can be frustrating. You expect to pay a particular amount for something and then you get hit with a fee. But when it comes to running background checks on applicants who have worked/lived in multiple counties or multiple states, there’s really no way of getting around those pesky mandatory state fees.


What Are Background Check State Fees?        

When conducting background checks you have to pull data and information about an individual based off of what jurisdiction they worked or lived in. To access that information states and counties charge administrative fees for their court records. Those fees can range anywhere from $5.00 to $65.00, and if you have an individual who has worked/lived in multiple states, the background check for that individual can start to become expensive.


“Robert, why don’t I just run the background check to look for what they’ve done in the state that my company is in or the county that my company is in? Why not make it more of an a la carte kind of background check?”


While that may look like an ingenious workaround, here at Validity, we don’t believe that’s the best for you or your candidates, and fear that approach could leave you in hot water if you’re not careful.


Checking All Jurisdictions is Best   

Running a background check that pulls records from counties and states that the applicant/candidate has lived within a determined time frame will give you the most accurate and compliant information. Not only is this the best option from a compliance perspective, it also ensures consistency among all of your applicants – avoiding potential discrimination claims. You don’t get that with an a la carte background check policy.

Consider this, you have an applicant who has lived in both California and Kansas. Your company is located in Kansas so you decide to save money and only run their background check for Kansas. Any potential criminal information on that applicant from the state of California will be absent from your final background check report. Without the full picture, who knows who you’re bringing into your office. This now becomes a safety issue in the workplace.


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What about consistency? An a la carte plan gives you the ability to pick and choose the jurisdictions you would like to check, but what seems like a cost – saving benefit turns out to be a non-compliant background check.

When it comes to background checks you have to stay consistent. That’s the whole reason we developed our Decision Matrix . You can’t run a background check by checking all the counties and states of residence for one applicant and not do the same for another. That’s a quick way to find yourself in some hot water. We discuss the concept of disparate treatment and its governance by the EEOC in much more detail in our eBook on compliant background screening practices.

We understand that fees can be frustrating which is why we try to alleviate their impact as much as we can. This begs the question – “How does Validity do it?”     


How Validity Takes Care of State Fees      

Here at Validity, we conduct our background checks through a process known as “live research”. This has become the industry standard and leads all other methods of criminal background checks in measure of accuracy. What that means is when we receive the request to perform a background check on an individual we start with the individual’s social security number. Using the social security number (SSN), we obtain an address history, or a digital “footprint” that provides us with all the locations where the individual has lived. A criminal record search is then ordered in each identified jurisdiction of residence for the past 7 or 10 years depending on your background screening policy. Once we have collected that information, our research team sends the information to our Quality Assurance team for review to confirm all information found is correct. Once our Quality Assurance team has confirmed all information we send you the results of the background check.

We don’t give the option to perform an “a la carte” kind of background check because we want to ensure that you receive the most comprehensive and accurate information on your applicants. What we will do is cover the pesky court fees for you. Only state fees of $20.00 or more will be assessed and passed on to you. However, a lot mandatory court fees don’t actually exceed $20.00. Check out our list in the next section to see a handful of jurisdictions.


All States/Counties Have Fees   

No matter what county or state you’re in you’re going to have mandatory fees.



Gogebic $25.00
Houghton $20.00

New Hampshire

Hillsborough $20.00

New York

Allegany $65.00
Bronx $65.00
Cayuga $65.00
Chemung $20.00
Cortland $20.00
Fulton $65.00
Hamilton $20.00
Kings $65.00
Montgomery $65.00
Nassau $65.00
New York $65.00
Orleans $65.00
Oswego $20.00
Queens $65.00
Rensselaer $20.00
Richmond $65.00
Tompkins $20.00

South Dakota

All Counties $20.00


Bennington $30.00
Casedonia $30.00
Essex $30.00
Grand Isle $30.00
Lamoille $30.00
Orange $30.00


Click here to view our full list of county/state fees.   


Closing Thoughts 

We’d love to know what you think, or answer any questions you may have. Please leave a comment below to tell us your thoughts. To learn more, or if you have any questions, please email me at rsanders@validityscreening.com. For more great blogs and content please subscribe to our blogs here.

Topics: Background Checks, Blog

Robert Sanders

Written by Robert Sanders

Robert is our Marketing Executive. He is innovative, a creative thinker, and very good at digging into a problem to find the right answer for every topic. Robert speaks on various topics and brings about a lot of interesting points in different areas of business development and human resources. Robert loves to push the envelope and bring awareness to different issues and is also the voice of our podcast "The Water Cooler Podcast" .