Answer

What kinds of criminal records show up on a background check?

Depending on the scope of the search allowable by law or requested by an employer, records of convictions of a felony or misdemeanor are usually reported on a background check. Non-convictions may be reported in some cases depending on the date of the charge or whether a case has been dismissed. Federal and state law will determine how far back criminal records can be reported.

A felony is typically defined as a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than one year or by the death penalty. Felonies may include crimes such as arson, assault, battery, fraud, homicide, kidnapping, rape, robbery, sex crimes, and terrorism.

Misdemeanors are often less serious crimes and are generally punishable by less than 12 months in jail. Community service, probation, fines, and imprisonment for less than a year are commonly issued punishments for misdemeanors. Obviously, each state may vary as to what is classified as a misdemeanor or felony.

In most cases, a background check is good for two years. You should check with the contractor's employer for a specific owner’s time frame.

According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) § 604 – 15 U.S.C. § 1681b, employers are required to provide applicants with a separate written disclosure, which advises that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes. The document must consist solely of the disclosure as a stand-alone document. Additionally, the employer also must obtain the applicant’s written consent to order the background check.

Background checks often include a criminal history search at a minimum. However, depending upon the nature of the job, for persons in more sensitive, high-level positions or those dealing with vulnerable populations, it may also include investigation of credit reports, sanctions checks, sex offender checks, and/or driving history.

Background checks also may include verification of previous employment, education, professional licenses, and personal or professional references.