How Thorough is a Criminal Background Check?

     The criminal portions of a background check examine your criminal records in your current state, other states, and in the counties you have lived in over the past seven to ten years. For all locations, the three pieces of information that are accessed are arrest records, criminal court records, and corrections records. Criminal court records are a compilation of court records from local, state, and federal courts, while a corrects record lists anytime you spent in jail, be it one night or more than five years. In addition, many criminal background checks have section for state criminal repository records, which lists all arrests, criminal court records, and corrections records on a state level.

     While not all states are available for criminal records of an individual, a background check will access criminal information in all available states. Similarly, a background check lists the counties of residence for an individual from the past seven to ten years. An individual’s criminal history will be examined in all locations he or she lived over seven to ten years.

     The typical crimes that appear in a criminal background check include felonies, misdemeanors, warrants, sex offender listings, civil high court charges, and civil low court charges. Out of these charges, more specific charges include drug traffic violations, embezzlements, fraud violations, theft, grand theft, child abuse, domestic violence, assault and battery, and divorce records.

     In applying for a job, an individual should be honest about his or her past record, and lying on a job application can always be verified by a background check. In some cases, lying about a past criminal record is considered a crime. In terms of an expunged record, an employer is not allowed to research or find out about any charges that were dropped. A charge is considered dropped when it is dismissed, nullified, if you were found not guilty, or if you completed an accelerated rehabilitation program. When you have multiple charges for the same offense, not all similar charges will be dropped.