Los Angeles Criminal Background Check
What is a Criminal Background Check?
A criminal background check provides information about your criminal history, such as past convictions and arrests. Criminal background checks can be performed by various people such as landlords, schools, and potential employers.
Your criminal background check can have a major impact on your future opportunities in life. If you have a criminal record, you need to know what your criminal background check says about you. Your past convictions and arrests do not need to hang over you for the rest of your life. In many cases, arrests and convictions can be prevented from appearing on background checks.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you clean up your record and get your life back on track.
Are Background Checks Legal in California?
Yes, it is legal for certain organizations to conduct a background check into your criminal history. There are laws that restrict the information they are allowed to check, however, as well as how they use this information to make decisions.
For example, potential employers are allowed to conduct a background check into your criminal history. In California, however, according to the ‘Ban the Box’ law, employers can only check your criminal record once they have made a conditional offer of employment. A conditional offer of employment means that you will get the job provided you pass the required tests and background checks.
In other words, an employer cannot ask you any questions about your criminal history before reaching this point. That means they cannot include any questions about criminal history in any job application forms, both on paper or online, or otherwise use your criminal history to screen out your application before giving you a chance. Employers should only look at your criminal record when they have already decided you can have the job if you pass the right tests.
This rule does not apply to businesses with less than 5 employees. Any business larger than this is required to give all applicants a fair chance to prove themselves, and checking your criminal record before the appropriate time undermines this requirement by enabling employers to dismiss your application without consideration based on your criminal background check.
If a potential employer asks you to disclose your criminal history or conducts a background check before this point, you may be able to file a lawsuit against employment discrimination.
In California, organizations are also required to make an individual assessment of your circumstance before denying you an opportunity on the basis of your criminal record. If they decide to withdraw their offer of employment, deny you a place at a school, or refuse your tenancy application because of your criminal record, they must show you their background check report and tell you which convictions have disqualified you.
They must also give you at least 5 days to respond, allowing you to submit evidence to correct an inaccurate report, show proof of rehabilitation, or demonstrate mitigating circumstances.
For example, you can submit evidence that you have completed a drug rehabilitation program or show that you have taken steps to make amends for your crime. You do not need to submit this evidence immediately. As long as you respond within 5 days to tell the employer that you are gathering evidence to respond to their rejection, they must allow you an additional 5 days to contact them again with the evidence in question.
If an employer does not allow this extra time or does not acknowledge your response, they may be guilty of employment discrimination.
What Shows Up On A Criminal History
A criminal background check in California can show potential employers:
- Misdemeanor convictions
- Felony convictions
- Pending criminal cases
- Arrest reports that led to a misdemeanor conviction
- Arrest reports that led to a felony conviction
- Arrests pending prosecution
- Any history of incarceration as an adult
What Will Not Show on a Criminal Background Check?
In California, criminal convictions can only be reported for 7 years, with a few exceptions. Any misdemeanors, complaints, indictments, arrests, and convictions older than that cannot be reported on background checks. Full pardons, expungements, and arrests that did not lead to a conviction cannot be reported at all.
Other information that should not appear on a criminal background check includes:
- Your participation in diversion programs.
- Any sealed record.
- Any juvenile records.
- Non-felony marijuana possession convictions which are more than 2 years old.
Employers are required by law to keep all criminal background checks for at least 2 years. If you later have something removed from your criminal record, employers will still have copies of your old criminal background check.
Employers are required to tell you which agency provided their criminal background check. Whoever conducted the check must provide you with a copy of their full report if you ask them for it within 2 years of the initial check. This can help you find out exactly what information was provided and whether it is correct.
Who Can Access My Criminal Record?
Law enforcement officials can access your criminal record, and so can businesses that have conditionally offered you a job. Hiring agencies that have been contracted by a prospective employer can access your criminal record on the employer’s behalf.
Potential landlords can also check your criminal record, and so can schools, colleges, and universities that you have applied to.
Businesses and schools need your written consent to hire a third party to conduct a criminal background check. Of course, they can still check any public records without your permission since this information is available to everyone regardless.
However, employers must still provide you with a copy of their report when they do this unless you waived this right in the job application form. If an employer decides not to hire you based on information in your public records, they must give you a copy of those records even if you did waive the right to receive a copy.
You can also check your criminal record yourself, and it is a good idea to do so.
Why Do I Need To Check My Criminal Record?
Your criminal record will be checked by other people for various reasons, and this can affect the opportunities that are available to you. For example, you may be refused accommodation or have a job offer withdrawn because of information found on your criminal record. Knowing what your criminal record says about you can give you a chance to explain what people will find on there.
Furthermore, it can also help you understand what you need to disclose when asked about your criminal history. Your criminal record may contain information that you were unaware of, making you appear dishonest in the eyes of a potential employer.
Checking your criminal record may also help you improve it. It may contain information that is incorrect, out of date, or should not be publicly available. Unless you check what your criminal record says about you, you cannot correct information that may unfairly restrict your opportunities.
Many crimes are eligible for expungement, or for reduction from a felony to a misdemeanor. A criminal record check will tell you the exact charges on your record, and other information that can help you pursue expungement or reduction such as the date of your conviction. This can be very important in cases where the law regarding your offense has changed since your conviction.
A criminal background check can tell you exactly what your charge was, when you plead, and whether or not you were placed on probation. All that information is essential for both charge reduction and for expungements.
Contact Manshoory Law Firm For More Information
Your criminal record can have a big impact on your future opportunities. In many cases, however, it doesn’t have to. With the help of an experienced background check lawyer, you can have information expunged from your criminal records, and file for the record to be sealed. That means it will not turn up in criminal history checks, and you won’t have to disclose it when you are asked about your criminal history.
While this will not remove the conviction from your public record, it will now be shown as dismissed or expunged.
If your criminal record is holding you back, our criminal defense attorneys are here to help. We can assist you with a full background check, tackling reports that are eligible for removal or reduction, and giving you a better first impression when someone runs a criminal background check on you.
Get in touch today for more information about Los Angeles Criminal Background Checks.
Can Employers Obtain Your Criminal Record?
Yes, but only after making a conditional offer of employment. Some of the information on your criminal record may not appear in a criminal background check, such as arrests that did not lead to a conviction. Some organizations can conduct more in-depth background checks if necessary, for example, institutions that care for vulnerable people or children.
How Long Does A Criminal Background Check Take In California?
A criminal background check in California typically takes between a few hours and more than a week, depending on the agency and the ease of accessing your records. However, it is not unusual for a background check to be delayed. Delays happen for a wide range of reasons, such as needing more research to confirm the records are correct and are usually not any cause for concern. Some types of criminal background checks, such as a fingerprint record check, can take longer than a week.
Can You Sue Someone For Checking Your Background?
Yes. There are laws governing when someone can check your criminal background, what information they use, and how they use it. If someone conducts a criminal background check on you before they have met the necessary requirements, uses the information to unfairly discriminate against you, or otherwise breaks the laws governing criminal background checks, you can sue them for damages.
What Is The 7-Year Rule For Background Checks?
Almost all arrests and convictions, with the exception of the most serious convictions, will not appear on a criminal background check after 7 years.
What Causes A Red Flag On A Background Check?
Any information that you have not disclosed may be considered a red flag by some employers. While you are not required to disclose your criminal history to an employer unless asked, you don’t want employers to read your record before hearing your side of the story. Pending cases and outstanding warrants are also red flags. These can often be left on your record when they are no longer relevant due to clerical oversight, but it will appear to someone checking your record that you are still under investigation.