What Shows Up on a Background Check?

If you have any run-ins with the wrong side of the law, you may find yourself wondering, “Will any of it show up on a background check?” and for good reason. If you’re like a lot of people, you don’t fully understand what is reported by the authorities and what’s included in a criminal record. “Does a criminal record only consist of convictions, or does it include arrests and charges that did not result in a conviction?”

A criminal record contains far more than just convictions. It includes information relating to arrests, formal criminal charges, and of course, criminal convictions. Criminal records are particularly bothersome because they do come up when employers run background checks on applicants.

What Comes Up on a Background Check?

If you’re worried about current or future employment, you’re probably concerned about what will show up on a background check – and you should be. Employers are in the practice of running background checks to determine if an applicant is suitable and does not raise any red flags.

If a history of arrests shows up, or worse, a history of convictions, the employer can be put on high alert, especially if the arrests or convictions are related to domestic violence, driving under the influence, drug possession, sexual assault, theft, or fraud-related crimes.

When such offenses turn up on a standard background check, the typical automatic response of employers is to think the applicant might have violent tendencies, a drug or alcohol problem, or the applicant cannot be trusted and may steal from them. If the employer’s worst fears are realized, they could face workplace violence, a civil lawsuit, or they could be stolen from.

Criminal records have a way of causing employers to “imagine the worst,” and often this leads them to say, “Thanks for applying, but no thanks” even if the arrest or conviction was an isolated incident and the applicant has the best intentions. The following types of information comes up on a background check:

  • Arrests
  • Criminal charges
  • Convictions
  • DUI convictions
  • Credit scores
  • Bankruptcies
  • Employment history
  • Marriages
  • Divorces
  • Education
  • Certifications
  • Social Security numbers
  • Professional licenses
  • Other financial information

If an employer, the Armed Forces, or a government agency runs a background check on you for the purpose of employment or granting security clearance, your criminal record history will turn up. Your criminal record will reveal detailed information about you and your dealings with law enforcement, including any arrests, criminal charges, civil infractions, traffic tickets, misdemeanor or felony convictions, community supervision or parole.

Generally, your criminal record will contain the same information as what the police have on file, but that’s not always the case. If you’re curious, you can go to the police department that you dealt with and see what they have on file about you. The police and court records may be far more extensive than what shows up on an employer background check.

Can a Criminal Record Haunt Me?

Criminal records are serious matters and they can haunt you for years to come. Just ask anyone who’s been convicted of a crime and have them tell you how it’s affected their housing and employment opportunities. Depending on your conviction, you may not be able to obtain a student loan or a scholarship. You may not be able to attend certain schools. You may be denied a professional license, such as a real estate license, a nursing license or a notary license.

You may not be able to obtain a loan from a bank, or even travel to another country, including Canada. If you want to work for the government or as a government contractor, you may be denied security clearance, even if your conviction was for something like DUI or aggravated assault (from a seemingly harmless bar fight).

Benefits of a Florida Expunction

If you have a criminal record, we highly recommend seeking an expunction under Section 943.0585 of the Florida Statutes. Some of the benefits of a Florida expunction include: 1) makes it easier to find a job, 2) assistance obtaining a professional license, 3) assistance with housing, and lastly 4) personal satisfaction knowing you’ve done all you can do to address your mistake and put the past behind you.

If you’re interested in learning more about Florida expunctions or if you’re seeking criminal defense representation in Tampa or Hillsborough County, contact Thomas & Paulk, P.A. for a free consultation.