What Shows Up in a Criminal Background Check?
You just interviewed for a job. You know you are very qualified but you worry your potential employer will do a background check and find a skeleton from your past. Criminal background checks are a necessary tool for employers in Los Angeles seeking to hire the best candidates for their company. An effective criminal background check will eliminate employees that may have a criminal history and ensure that the employees hired will not pose a risk to other employees.
What is disclosed on a criminal background check?
In California, criminal background checks reveal the following information:
- Arrests: The date of the arrest; the charges filed (misdemeanor or felony); and whether the person was detained or taken to jail and the amount of bail. Arrests with no prosecution or conviction will show on a background check unless the arrest was sealed and destroyed in California by way of a Petition for Factual Innocence. See Factual Innocence - California Penal Code section 851.8.
- Convictions: The date of conviction; the criminal 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: Warrants do not always appear on a criminal background check but do appear in most cases. Bench Warrants are issued by the court directing law enforcement to make an immediate arrest (if the person is located) based on the failure of a defendant to appear in criminal or civil court. An Arrest Warrant is a signed judge's order to law enforcement, directing them to arrest and bring to court, the person named in the warrant. Civil Warrants are issued by a civil court when a person failed to comply with a court order such as failing to pay a money 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 and can result in criminal prosecution.
Can Employers Obtain Your Criminal Record?
Yes! Private employers, landlords or the public cannot request and access your criminal background information from the DOJ or the FBI. The exception to this includes government employers; state, county and city agencies dealing with licenses or certifications; schools; and eldercare agencies. However, employers and landlords can obtain criminal background information by hiring a private investigating reporting agency that searches, compiles and sells information about people. Employers and landlords can gather information on individuals by using public records and databases maintained by courts and news reporting agencies. Any criminal court case is a public record maintained by local, state or Federal courts. The Internet is also a source of background information even though the information found on the Internet may be inaccurate.
What Will Not Show on a Criminal Background Check?
Sealed arrests, pardoned convictions, juvenile offenses and most infractions will not show up on a background check. If you have questions regarding your criminal history, contact the California Attorney's office and speak to a representative in the Records Review department (916-227-3849).
Clean Your Criminal Record
Given the criminal background information readily available in California, it would be advantageous to clean your criminal record as best as you can. There are several ways a criminal attorney can help clean your criminal history which include:
- Expungements - this legal process sets aside your conviction;
- Recalling and quashing Bench and Arrest Warrants;
- Reduction of felony conviction to a misdemeanor per Penal Code section 17(b);
- Sealing and Destroying Arrest records per Penal Code section 851.8;
- Sealing California Juvenile Records;
- Certificates of Rehabilitation; and
- Governor's Pardon.
Helping You Clean Your Criminal Record
If you are interested in cleaning up your criminal record, call a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney at 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.
Contact us at your earliest convenience to schedule a confidential in-person consultation by calling (213) 481-6811.
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