Expunged Records on Background Check: Understanding the Complexities and Limitations

#1) Do expunged records show up on background check?

Yes.  When you are arrested, face criminal charges, and suffer a conviction in court for a criminal offense there is a record of this. There is an arrest record, court, and conviction.  This is the case even if you use expungements to clear your cases.  However,  your criminal record is no visible to everyone as what .

2) There are 2 Types of background check

You can say there are two types of criminal record. One for the government and one for employers.   The one for the government is used to check when you are pulled over by a  police officer, for licensing purposes (with some exceptions) ,  or entering and leaving a country. This type of background check sees everything. For example, they can see arrest records that have not resulted in convictions and even old felony convictions that have been expunged. 

California criminal background check Rap Sheet 1 1
Expunged criminal records will still show up on a RAP sheet

3) There are Limits of Employment background check

However, there are limits to what employers can and can’t do with your expunged records on background check. In short, potential employers can’t use your expunged case (public record) against you when they run a criminal history records 

4) Laws limiting Employers from using fingerprint background check

In addition, there are law to protect you against this in California. SB 350 which bans employers from asking about if a person has conviction that has been expunged on background checks.  This means that companies can get into trouble and face fines if they used expunged records on background check and hold it against you. This is the reason they use third party background check, so they can stay out of trouble and pass on the liability. They do not want to ask about offenses and crimes that have been expunged via the 1203.4 process. 

5) Only the police and Government can see your Full Criminal records checks

In a nutshell, the only people who can see your expunged records on background check are law enforcement agencies (from any counties and state) that have access to your RAP sheet.  In addition, licensing boards will also have access to your criminal record even if you went thru the expungement process. The interesting thing about licensing is that they are not allowed to hold a expunged records on background check against you if it has been expunged, but even if you went thru the process of expungement and did not disclose on your application then you can still have it held against you. The reason for this is the failure to disclose.

6) People Will Shoot themselves in the foot with old criminal history records

 The pitfall here is that lot of people will just not know when they had their conviction. A criminal history such as a felony conviction is not something many people are proud. in fact, is something people try to put into the back of their mind.  They would not want to deal with it again, however this presents a problem when it comes time to do a job application as they do not remember details or think it was so long ago and decide not to disclose. The bottom line is the type of background check matters. It is important that criminal convictions are disclosed in licensing applications.

Expunged records will show on fingerprinting, It is important to remember that not everyone will see your fingerprinting and the people who do see it in the criminal databases will not be able to use it against you.  This means that if you have a criminal history (Arrest record or conviction in court) you should work on clearing it despite the fact that Government agencies being able to see beyond your criminal background checks. 

Best way to deal with old criminal records is to work with an expungement lawyer. 

An expungement lawyer will be able to work with you by pulling up old cases and navigating the courts to get your clear up your criminal history background check. Working with an expungement attorney will help you clear up those arrest reports that are not found in court.  They will be able to dig up old misdemeanor arrest that did not result in convictions and seal them pursuant to 851.91 and make the expungement request via 1203.4 for cases that have resulted in a conviction.  This result in making you look better when compared with other job applicants and to avoid that rejection letter.

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Hand down the best attorney I have ever worked with!!! My friend recommended Hieu because I needed to expunge something I did when I was young and dumb. Hieu is very humble, personable, and made me feel very comfortable. He's surprisingly funny too. Something not all lawyers are / can do. His pricing is very reasonable and he updated me on everything frequently. I highly recommend him!!!!

Lila K

I had interviewed many attorneys to discuss my very unfortunate situation that was set by someone I knew. Hieu Vu was the most honest, caring, and professional attorney with compassion and empathy I ever interviewed. HE REALLY HAD A HEART. His fees were very reasonable and he will fight for you not just for your dollars but because he cares for his clients... I would strongly recommend him if you feel your life is upside down. Things happen but we learn to become better person.

Mark K

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