Judiciary Case Search Websites and Online Dating
Research Your Date Online
It is pretty rare that I decide to tackle a serious subject, but I am going to give it a try today. I want to talk about a subject that is pretty important to me: online dating safety and the use of judiciary case search websites.
If you are using online dating websites, you should also use judiciary case search sites. The two really should go hand in hand. When you are meeting someone online, you don't know anything about that person. It is not like the days when you met your potential suitor at church or through friends. For that matter, if you are still using those techniques to meet your dates, it still doesn't hurt to use a judiciary case search website just to be safe. You can never be too safe!
You might think I am being paranoid. However, researching a person using a judicial case website could very well save you from a lot of future problems. If you are a very trusting person, you might find the process hard to accept, but in today's day and age, there is nothing wrong with researching any new person that comes into your life. The best part of searching on a judiciary case search site is they are typically easy to use and always free.
How do you use a judiciary case search website?
The best way to research anyone on a judiciary case search site is to first determine what state you need to search in. Depending on your date, you might want to search for more than one state. I live in Maryland, so I always visit the Maryland Judiciary Case Search site first.
I used to work at the courthouse in Baltimore, so I knew about this website for many years. However, this site is open to the public. You can search for anyone and everyone on this site. Legally, all criminal and civil records are public record and available for anyone to view (unless the record has been expunged). What you may not have known is that you can easily view the basics for all of these records online for free in most states. Is it just that easy? Yes, it really is!
Go to a search engine and type in " (your state's name) judiciary case search" and you will find your state's public search engine. It may not be the first or second website that appears on the list, so make sure you look for a website with .gov or .us in the URL. If the site tries to charge a fee, it is not a government website and you need to look further down on the list. I've found the Maryland judiciary case search site is particularly easy to use. You click on a terms and agreement button on the bottom of the page, and into the site you go. Then, you just type in a last name and a first name for your search. It is as simple as that.
What I like best about Maryland's site, is it pulls up both civil and criminal cases on the same page. Other states' sites make you conduct separate searches. Yes, I've even been on other states' sites to investigate potential dates. It really helps if you also have a birthdate or an address, but this might be difficult information to obtain from someone you just met.
How do I get my potential date to tell me a last name so soon?
I know when you first start communicating with someone online, it can be awkward. No one knows when it is the right time to first exchange phone numbers. The last thing you want to do is ask for the last name and birthdate when you are talking to someone you really don't know. Not only is that not polite, but it makes you seem like the creep.
My best advice is to talk to the other person for a while online and then later exchange phone numbers. After talking a bit on the phone, see if there is an appropriate moment to ask for the last name. If you are lucky, the last name will appear in the Caller ID and you don't even have to worry about it. If not, it makes things a bit more difficult. After all, once you learn your date's last name, that person will expect to know your last name as well. I mean, you could totally be a serial killer, too. Chances are, an online search using your name will also occur at some point as well.
I would suggest, when you begin to feel comfortable enough to date this person, you should also feel comfortable enough to say, "I like to be cautious and I want to let you know I would like to search your name online so I feel completely safe meeting you in person." Asking for a birthdate is probably asking for too much, but many times if you've talked to someone a while online and over the phone, birthdays come up naturally anyway. I would recommend not pushing the birthdate or address issue. Let that occur naturally if possible.
Most people are surprisingly OK with telling your their last name and giving you the go ahead on searching for them online. It is fascinating to hear the confessions that suddenly spew out of person's mouth when this conversation comes up. 9 times out of 10, your date is going to confess to way more than you could ever find on any judiciary case search site. However, there are those 1 out of 10 times that your search will scare you.
What should you look for while searching online?
Sometimes when you conduct a search on a judicial site, you are going to learn more than you ever imagined. You might learn your date has a drinking problem or your date has been divorced 4 times. You can even see minor charges, like every traffic violation this person has on record. My advice to you is don't judge anyone too harshly!
If you see your date has been charged with a crime, remember this is only a charge and that does not mean guilt. If your date has been convicted of crimes, that is a whole other story. If you really like this person, the best thing to do is ask about it. In my own personal opinion, DUIs from way in the past, one instance of shoplifting many years ago, a divorce from long ago you never knew about, and other little matters are all worth an explanation, but that does not make the person undateable. Use your best judgment and don't jump to conclusions.
However, there are some folks with criminal records you simply can't ignore. That is why the judiciary case search sites are so helpful. I simply won't tolerate violent crimes, serious drug convictions, theft convictions, or even worse, rape or child molestation. All of these offenses are unacceptable. I am writing this right now to help prevent others from becoming involved with someone that could be dangerous.
If you think it can't happen to you, you are wrong. I just went on one date with someone that seemed perfectly normal, but when I conducted a case search after learning his last name, I discovered he'd been involved in several violent crimes and had violated protective orders more than once. Always do some type of background check or case search for any new person in your life! Don't wait to get attached to that person and then learn the truth the hard way.
Furthermore, you can learn more about a person than just criminal offenses. I learned one time I was dating a guy that claimed he was divorced, but he was still married. I also learned from conducting a case search that I was being lied to about a guy's age, too. Not a serious offense, but enough to make me realize he was capable of lying about other details in his life. Also, for you ladies that are looking to settle down and have children, you can also see if your potential new husband has ever been in trouble for not paying child support in the past. All of this is extremely helpful information.
Now what do you do?
If you do discover some things online that you simply can't tolerate, what do you do? As I said before, for small offenses, I believe it is best to bring it up. In many cases, you won't even have to do so. If you mentioned you were going to conduct a search on a judiciary case search site, you might already know more information than you even needed to know about prior offenses. Always allow a person to explain the situation before immediately dumping them.
The major question is, for serious offenses, what do you do? Personally, if I see a man has a record of abusing women (domestic violence, assault convictions, protective orders... especially if more than one woman has filed charges), I stop all contact. I don't answer calls and I don't respond to emails. Usually after ignoring him for a bit, the contact will stop. If not, you might have to take a call, but come up with a firm reason for not dating anymore.
In my personal opinion, don't even mention what you learned online if you are 100% certain it is him. If he is capable of hurting women, he is probably capable of lying about it. Don't allow this man to have too much power over you. Instead, give him a reason for not dating him anymore, such as being unable to commit. You just need to do whatever you can do to keep him out of your life and prevent him from becoming too angry.
Believe it or not, I've actually found many guys will not bother calling you again if you stop responding to them or if you give a lame excuse for not dating them anymore. Of course, this is only if you haven't been dating him for a long time. This is why I recommend conducting a search before the second date. Also, make sure he doesn't drop you off or pick you up at your home until after a couple of dates. This is good advice even if he does have a clean record on a judicial site. After all, he can lie about his last name if he is real criminal, so get to know him as best as possible and if something seems wrong, trust your instinct. Get out before anyone gets too attached. Once he knows where you live and starts to become too attached, you are going to find it much more difficult to push him out of your life.
Once again, I know some of this sounds paranoid, but I believe an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Searching judiciary case search websites at the beginning of a potential relationship is in your best interest. Also, keep in mind to search other state sites if he moves from place to place. And still, not to scare you, but there is always a first time for everything. Please keep in mind just because you don't find a criminal record doesn't mean he isn't capable of criminal activity. Some people are just great at not getting caught. Like I said, if something just doesn't seem right, it probably isn't. Go with your instincts and please be safe!
Copyright ©2012 Jeannieinabottle
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