If you have a criminal record, you are likely concerned about whether it will affect your ability to secure a job or obtain a professional license—and you have a reason to be. More than 95% of employers make it a pre-employment requirement to subject applicants to a background check. On paper, a background check gives employers the opportunity to screen people before they become an official employee to promote a “safe workplace.” Unfortunately, it also allows employers to discriminate against people with convictions on their record. Background checks can make things complicated for any job applicant.
There are two different types of background checks in the state of Florida: level 1 and level 2 background checks. Employers most commonly use level 1 background checks. This check is named-based and returns an employment history check. However, a level 2 background check is far deeper and can result in a far harder life for people who have a criminal record.
If you’re facing a level 2 background check, you should know what to expect and how this may affect you. Because every individual’s situation is different, we’ve included some basic information on level 2 background checks to help you get the insight you need. You can also read our blog on apartment background checks, which applies if you’re looking to rent an apartment. Our firm also offers a free consultation to talk to you about your case and how we can help.
Understanding Level 2 Background Checks
Unlike name-based background checks, level 2 background checks are screenings that search fingerprint-based information, national criminal history records, and county criminal records. Employers coordinate with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI, local courts, and other law enforcement agencies to obtain these records. If the level 2 background check reveals that a person has a criminal record, including kidnapping, murder, assault, sexual felonies, or others, it can affect their ability to secure a job.
Although a level 1 background check can still notify employers of a criminal record, it doesn’t give them specific details about the offenses. Level 2 background checks provide employers with more details about your criminal record. Regardless of the crime, a level 2 background check can keep you from finding good work or making a living.
What You Can Do
If you’re thinking about applying for a job that requires a level 2 background check, talk to our attorneys. We can advise you of what may show up in the check. If you already tried applying and background checks are making it difficult to find a job, you may be able to seek an expungement of your criminal record. Florida law allows people to get their criminal record expunged; this hides criminal records from the public and allows you to legally say you've never been convicted of or arrested for the crime you've had expunged. Overall, expungements make it easier to find a job, obtain a professional license, and find housing.
The best possible solution, however, is to avoid a conviction and criminal record in the first place. If you are facing arrest, an investigation, or formal charges, act fast and exercise your right to legal counsel. Keeping your record clean will protect your ability to get the job and career opportunities you want.
At Thomas & Paulk, we’re former prosecutors who understand both sides of criminal court proceedings in Florida. Our Tampa criminal defense attorneys have represented thousands of clients through the years and know what it takes to effectively defend their constitutional rights and freedom.
We offer free consultation! For more information on level 2 background checks, expungement, and our criminal defense counsel, contact our team. We’re here for you.