Guide to Indiana State Background Checks

Karen Axelton
February 23, 2024
6 min read

Employers may use Indiana background checks to make more informed hiring decisions, comply with laws and regulations, and mitigate risk. Keep reading to learn more about employment background checks in Indiana, including what they screen for, what information may be reported, and how to conduct compliant Indiana state background checks.  

Many employers use background checks during the hiring process to confirm a candidate’s background, review criminal history, and gather other information to help make informed hiring decisions. Indiana background checks may also be required by federal, state, or industry regulations. 

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What is an Indiana background check?

An Indiana background check for employment can help organizations make informed decisions about candidates. Background checks search public records, databases, and other sources of information to confirm a candidate’s education and employment history, search for criminal conviction records, review credit reports, and more. Some organizations also use background screenings when bringing on volunteers or contractors.

Indiana background checks may be required by federal, state, or local laws or industry regulations, especially for employees in safety-sensitive roles such as driving or those working with vulnerable populations. For example, Indiana background check laws require certain employees of schools and home health agencies to undergo an expanded criminal history check or a national criminal history background check.

What shows up on an Indiana background check?

What shows up on an Indiana background check can vary depending on the type and number of screenings, and the scope of each search being performed.  Here are common results that may show up on an Indiana background check:

  • Criminal background checks may show felony and misdemeanor convictions, as well as arrests, warrants, and history of incarceration as an adult.
  • Driving record checks show license class and status (such as active, suspended, or revoked), traffic violations, and driving-related convictions.
  • Education verification reports a candidate’s dates of attendance and any degrees or credentials earned.
  • Employment history reports on a candidate’s past employment, including employers, job titles, and dates of employment. 
  • Credit checks may show public information, such as tax liens, accounts in collections, and bankruptcies. They may also show open credit lines, outstanding balances, and payment history. 
  • Drug testing can reveal the presence of certain controlled and illicit substances or alcohol. 

How far back do employment background checks go in Indiana?

How far back an Indiana background check for employment can go depends on the type of background check and whether the employer is conducting the background screening themselves or working with a consumer reporting agency (CRA). Indiana state criminal background check laws do not limit how far back criminal records checks can go; conviction records can be reported indefinitely.

Employers who are partnering with a CRA for background screenings must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a federal law that restricts any non-conviction information reported by a CRA to a 7-year lookback period. This includes any arrests, tax liens, and civil judgments. However, criminal convictions can be reported indefinitely, and bankruptcies can be reported for up to 10 years. For positions with salaries of $75,000 or more, or background screenings conducted by employers without the help of a CRA, these restrictions may not apply. 

How to get a background check in Indiana

Employers can get an  Indiana background check by searching and requesting public records online or using a qualified background check provider. Partnering with a CRA to conduct these searches for you typically returns faster, more comprehensive results.

Here's how to search for common records utilized in an Indiana background check:

  • Criminal background checks in Indiana can be requested from the Indiana State Police. Limited Criminal History reports, which are searchable online, include only felonies and misdemeanor arrests that occurred in Indiana. A more comprehensive criminal history is available with a fingerprint-based National Full Criminal History report, also available through the Indiana State Police, which includes all reported arrests, charges, and dispositions from all US state and federal jurisdictions.
  • If court records are needed, Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act makes many public records available online. You can search non-confidential Indiana court records online at using the candidate’s name and date of birth. Searches will only return cases in Indiana courts using the Odyssey case management system.
  • Driving records can be obtained through the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), by the candidate, through a request for a certified copy of their driving record for $4. Records can also be searched online by qualifying employers who register for an account ($95 per year). This gives you access to the BMV database where you can search records by name, license number, birthdate, or Social Security Number. There may be a $10 per-transaction fee.
  • Employment and education verification can be completed by contacting the academic institutions and past employers listed on a candidate’s resume or job application.

Searching for records yourself can be complicated, costly, and time-consuming. Partnering with a CRA to handle background checks can save your organization time, expenses, and effort while helping to ensure accuracy. Experienced CRAs, like Checkr, can quickly access these records while also supporting compliance with Indiana background check laws.

How long does a background check for employment take in Indiana?

Industrywide, most background checks are completed within three to five business days. However, turnaround times for an Indiana state background check can vary depending on the scope of the search and the type of background screening requested. For example, an online Limited Criminal History or MVR search may be completed in a matter of minutes, but scheduling a candidate for the fingerprinting needed to conduct a National Full Criminal History search could take days.

The results of a background check may also necessitate additional searches. For example, a national criminal records check that returns a potential record may require searching county court records, which could take a week or longer if court records aren’t accessible online.

Handling background checks yourself can add considerably to the time involved. You’ll have to find the proper Indiana department and submit requests for records. You may also spend time driving to county courthouses or contacting former employers to verify a candidate’s resume. 

Partnering with a qualified background check provider can accelerate your background check process while enhancing accuracy. CRAs often have access to databases and relationships with court researchers that help to speed Indiana background checks for employment. Checkr also uses machine learning to estimate report completion for each background screening and update employers and candidates on its status.  

How much does an Indiana state background check cost?

The cost of an Indiana state background check depends on the scope of the screening and how the search is conducted. For example, a background check that includes drug testing will cost more than one that does not. Whether an employer conducts background searches in-house or uses a CRA will also affect the cost.

If you’re performing an Indiana background check for employment yourself rather than working with a CRA, you may need to pay the following fees in Indiana:

  • Official Driver Record (ODR), which is a certified copy of a driver’s MVR from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, costs $4. This may be requested by the candidate and then provided to you.
  • Searching driver records online at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles website requires a $95 annual fee. After that, employers may conduct searches that cost $10 per record.
  • A Limited Criminal History search costs $7, but may be free for certain employers, such as nonprofit organizations, home health care providers, or childcare providers.  

Working with a CRA can help reduce the cost of background checks. CRAs typically offer packages that combine common employment background screenings for a set price, making it easier to predict your screening costs. Checkr’s customizable packages make it simple to meet the needs of your Indiana background check requirements; volume discounts are also available for companies that run large numbers of background checks annually.

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Indiana background check laws and restrictions

There are several statewide laws that may impact Indiana state background checks.

Ban the Box, Executive Order 17-15

Summary: This Ban the Box law prohibits public sector employers in Indiana’s Executive Branch from asking candidates about criminal history or convictions on an initial application for employment. However, employers may inquire about criminal history on job applications if being convicted of a specific crime would bar the candidate from employment in the particular job. See law.

Indiana Code § 10-13-3

Summary: Employers are allowed to request a candidate’s Limited Criminal History, which includes any felonies and misdemeanors in Indiana, as part of the hiring process. A Limited Criminal History can only be obtained from a law enforcement agency by the employer themselves. Background check providers such as CRAs cannot request an Indiana state Limited Criminal History; however, they can search Indiana criminal records from county courthouses. See law.

Indiana Code § 24-4-18

Summary: Background check providers are prohibited from reporting criminal records that have been expunged; are restricted from public access of disclosure; certain felony convictions that have been converted to misdemeanors; and records that a background screening company knows are inaccurate. An exception applies if state or federal law requires requesting the information. See law.

Indiana Senate Bill 312 

Summary: Indiana municipalities are prohibited from passing laws that forbid employers from obtaining or using criminal history information as allowed by federal or state laws or regulations. This includes prohibiting municipalities from passing their own Ban the Box laws. To help protect employers against civil suits alleging negligent hiring, SB 312 forbids using an employee’s criminal history as evidence if:

  • Court records were sealed, reversed, vacated, expunged, or pardoned before the act that led to the civil suit occurred
  • The criminal history isn’t directly related to the facts giving rise to the civil suit
  • The criminal record involves an arrest or charge that didn’t result in a conviction.

See law.

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

Summary: Employers who work with a CRA to conduct background screenings must comply with the federal FCRA. Under this federal law, employers conducting background checks must: 

  • Give the candidate a written disclosure that a background check will be performed
  • Get the candidate’s written consent before initiating a background check
  • Review and give the candidate a copy of the information in the background check report 
  • Follow the adverse action process if considering denying employment based on information from a background check.

See law.

Whether using a CRA or not, employers should also be mindful of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), this federal law prohibits discrimination in employment based on a candidate or employee’s race, sex, color, religion, or national origin. If you opt to consider criminal records during the hiring process, the EEOC advises conducting the “nature-time-nature” test, which evaluates the nature of the criminal offense, how long ago it happened, and whether or not it’s relevant to the job in question. For example, a recent conviction for driving under the influence would be relevant to a delivery driver job, but may not be disqualifying for a cashier position.

Local Indiana fair hiring laws

Currently, Indiana Senate Bill 312 prevents any cities, counties, or other municipalities in Indiana from passing their own Ban the Box laws that are stricter than statewide and potential federal Ban the Box laws. 

Get an Indiana background check from Checkr

There’s a lot to consider when running an Indiana background check for employment. Working with a qualified CRA, like Checkr, can ease your administrative burden. Our modern platform streamlines workflows, while our proprietary data network and advanced technology deliver fast, accurate background check results. Built-in compliance tools also help provide peace of mind that your background screenings follow applicable laws. We offer multiple background screenings to meet your needs and scale your hiring. Get started today.

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The resources and information provided here are for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Always consult your own counsel for up-to-date legal advice and guidance related to your practices, needs, and compliance with applicable laws.

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About the author

Karen Axelton writes about business topics and best practices. She has written hundreds of articles on business subjects, including background screening, hiring and employment trends, human resource management, and the use of technology in the workplace. Her work includes educational articles, e-books, white papers, and case studies.

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