Fixing Criminal History

Most background checks trace criminal history back up to seven years. In some instances, such as if an individual is applying for a government or high-security job, infractions beyond this time frame can still be seen. After a certain amount of time has passed, as determined by the state, some individuals may be able to expunge or seal their records so that potential employers or other parties conducting a screening can no longer view this information. However, there are stipulations about who can petition to have this history removed based on the type of crime, the state, and other infractions on their record.

What a Record Can Show

A criminal background check can reveal any local, state, or federal convictions, whether misdemeanors or felonies. In some instances, driving records may also be reviewed as part of the screening process. This can include information about tickets, DUIs, or accidents resulting in fatalities. In addition, while controversial, a background check can also reveal information about dismissed cases, pending charges, and acquitted cases. So while the prevailing law of the land declares an individual innocent until proven guilty, this type of information can potentially be viewed as a red flag in the screening process. On the other hand, juvenile records, while accessible by legal authorities, are sealed and cannot be viewed by potential employers, landlords, or lenders.

Any infractions will typically stay on record for a duration of seven years. However, sex offenders will often have to register beyond this timeframe, sometimes for the rest of their lives. The sex offender registration system is publically accessible by any interested individuals, including general members of the community.

At What Point Can a Record Be Cleared?

Some individuals may petition to have their criminal records expunged or sealed. Their eligibility for this request is often evaluated based on:

It is important to note that expunging a criminal record is not a quick or easy process and often can become quite expensive when all the legal fees are added up. It is best to seek the advice of a local legal professional about specifics regarding the process and results that can be expected.

Additional Things to Know