How Long Are Convictions Discoverable on Background Checks?

How Long Are Convictions Discoverable on Background Checks?

Background Check Basics

Today, almost anyone with a credit card and Internet access can run a background check on someone. It’s not surprising that most employers, landlords, and lenders run background checks on applicants. If you have a criminal conviction on your record, this poses a problem. Unfortunately, being denied access to a job, housing, or a loan is just one of the residual consequences of a criminal conviction. But you can counteract this unfortunate effect by being informed about your background and what employers can see. Knowing what can be discovered on a background check can help you make educated decisions about where to apply and how to disclose your criminal history if asked. Now, information about your criminal history will not necessarily show up on your background check indefinitely. Many people wonder how long a criminal conviction will show up on a background check. Answering this first takes determining what type of background check it is.

Investigative Consumer Reports

Most non-governmental employers, along with landlords, lenders, and other interested parties, rely on investigative consumer reports to gather background information on applicants. Investigative consumer reports compile information about an applicant’s credit score, financial status, and criminal history, just to name a few of the components. Because of the comprehensive nature of the report, many employers, landlords, and lenders use these to find out about an applicant’s criminal history.

Typically, these reports are not supposed to report adverse information that is more than seven years old, with a few exceptions. Even if criminal convictions more than seven years old appear on a consumer report, most employers in the State of California cannot use the conviction against you in the hiring process. Keep in mind, however, that companies that make a profit generate these reports, not the government. They may or may not be accurate or up to date. Make sure you are aware of all your rights pertaining to investigative consumer reports and request a copy of yours so you can ensure the information therein is accurate. A good way to do this is crosschecking it with the court records of your conviction. If your report contains incorrect information, you have a right to request the information be removed or changed.

Not all employers run background checks, but those in certain industries are required to, such as education, social work, and the medical field. Likewise, companies in sectors that require a professional or occupational license, that contract with the government, or that deal with vulnerable populations of people (e.g. children, elderly, women, minorities) are typically required to perform full background checks on all applicants, including fingerprinting. Your criminal convictions may be discoverable indefinitely on these types of background checks.

Law enforcement and other governmental agencies do not rely on investigative consumer reports. Rather, they access criminal background checks that may display your criminal convictions indefinitely. These checks may also show your arrest records, convictions that have been dismissed, and even juvenile adjudications. If you are applying for a governmental position or a state-issued license, you should speak with an attorney about how a criminal conviction can impede your success. Knowing what will be discoverable can help you make educated decisions about applying.

If you have a criminal conviction on your record and are worried about missed opportunities, call an experienced California criminal defense attorney for assistance. A skilled attorney can explain how long your criminal history will be discoverable on the different types of background checks, so there are no surprises. You may also need the assistance of an attorney if you want to take steps to clean your record. Cleaning your record can remove certain convictions from your investigative consumer report, and because these are the most common form of a background check used by non-governmental employers, this can dramatically increase your chances of being hired. Getting a conviction dismissed will alter your criminal background check. After you have a conviction dismissed, your guilty plea or verdict will be removed, and your case will note that it was dismissed in the interests of justice. This does not erase evidence of the offense entirely but removes the conviction.

If you are in the Tulare, Fresno or Kings County area and have questions about cleaning your record, call experienced criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens today for expert counsel. At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we can help you clean your record so you can move on from your conviction. Attorney Martens has over ten years of criminal defense experience and will fight hard for your rights. Contact our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at MartensLaw@gmail.com to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.

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