It happens all the time – you interviewed for the job and you know
you are more than qualified, but are concerned your potential employer
might run a criminal background check and discover a criminal past you
were hoping to avoid. Criminal background checks have become increasingly
common and essential to not only employers but landlords as well. Unfortunately,
for people looking to turn a new leaf, a background check can become an
obstacle to employment and a successful career path.
In California, criminal background checks reveal not only convictions but
arrests and warrants. The information found on a criminal background check
Arrests: The date of the arrest; the charges filed (misdemeanor or felony); and
arresting agency. If no criminal charges were filed, this would be indicated.
Convictions: The date of conviction; the charges and the classification of the charges
(misdemeanor or felony); the sentence (jail, state prison or probation);
and participation and successful completion of a diversion program.
Warrants: Bench Warrants are issued by the court directing law enforcement to make
an immediate arrest based on the failure of a defendant to appear in court.
Arrest Warrants are based on probable cause and issued by a judge when
someone is suspected of committing a crime. Civil Warrants are issued
by a civil court when a person violated a court order such as failing
to pay a judgment or when a person does not pay court-ordered child support.
This data is maintained by the California Department of Justice (DOJ) or
the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and is available to law enforcement
and government agencies. The unauthorized use of this information is illegal.
Can Employers Obtain My Criminal Record?
While the public, including landlords and employers, cannot access your
criminal background from the DOJ or FBI, government employers such as
state, county, and city agencies can. Additionally, employers and landlords
can obtain this information by hiring a background check company. It is
also important to know that criminal court cases are public record, maintained
by local, state, and Federal courts. Background checks are also available
on the Internet, but such information may not be reliable and accurate.
Reasons Employers Conduct Criminal Background Checks
There are two reasons employers conduct these background checks. First,
employers must protect themselves and their company. If an employee applicant
has convictions for theft and fraud, there is a likelihood that the person
will steal from the company and the employer will likely pass on hiring
that person. Second, employers can be liable for hiring someone with an
arrest or conviction for sexual assault. If the employer hires an employee
with that criminal record and that employee sexually assaults a co-worker,
then the employer will likely be responsible for hiring that employee
and could be sued.
Do Arrests Show On Background Checks?
An arrest will likely appear on your background check even if criminal
charges were not filed. However, if you sealed and destroyed your criminal
records through a Petition for Factual Innocence, you will be in the clear.
Petition for Factual Innocence - Penal Code section 851.8.
What Will Not Appear On a Criminal Background Check?
Not everything shows up on a background check. Sealed arrests, Juvenile
offenses and other minor infractions will not show up on a background check.
Cleanining Your California Criminal History
To give yourself the best shot at moving forward without the past weighing
you down, it is best to clean your criminal record. Some ways in which
you can accomplish this include:
- Recalling and quashing bench warrants
- Reduction of a Felony conviction to a misdemeanor
- Sealing and Destruction of an arrest record
- Sealing California juvenile records
- Certificates of Rehabilitation
- Governor’s Pardon.
L.A. CRIMINAL ATTORNEYS CAN HELP CLEAN YOUR RECORD
If you are interested in cleaning up your criminal record, call the attorneys
at the office of Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners to discuss your legal
situation and find out what options are available to you. Backed by over
70 years of combined criminal law experience, you can be confident in
our ability to assist you.
Call us today at (213) 481-6811. Initial consultations are always free!