April 12, 2019—Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed the 2019 – 2020 New York State Budget into law and dramatically increased fees for ordering a criminal background record searches from the state’s Office of Court Administration (OCA).

Effective April 13, 2019, at 12:01 a.m., New York’s fee for a criminal records search will cost $95 per individual search.

Already the nation’s leader in the cost for a criminal background check before the increase (at $65, plus convenience fee), New York’s new fee represents a 46 percent rise. The fees collected will be coupled with fee increases in other areas to generate over $60 million for the state’s indigent legal services fund.

New York’s background check fee increase was opposed by a coalition that included the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), consumer reporting agencies (CRAs), and business groups. Note that the New York OCA is a singular repository into which all counties and municipalities in the state report their criminal data.

We caution our Clients against the urge to forego the OCA criminal conviction records background search in lieu solely of a “national criminal database” or other compiled multi-jurisdiction database products. Under any name, the national criminal database and others like it are unreliable as standalone searches. They may not provide a complete assessment of an individual’s criminal record due to geographical gaps, infrequent updates, time gaps, and lack of accuracy and completeness.

We strongly recommend that our Clients continue to use the OCA state court system criminal background search, as it is the only way to provide an accurate criminal history of applicants who have lived and worked in New York.

We strongly recommend that, in general, court record searches are the only way for Clients to meet the FCRA’s “maximum possible accuracy” requirement for criminal conviction records searches. They are an industry best practice that helps protect employers against legal actions.

As your partner, TruView will continue to engineer cost efficiencies into our process to help ease the burden of onerous government fees. Should you have any questions about this or any other matter in which we might be of service, please call your TruView Team Leader.