Everything That Shows Up On A Background Check

Everything That Shows Up On A Background Check


Background checks are usually performed prior to applying for a new job, looking for a new rental property, purchasing a firearm, work permits in the country, professional entitlement claims, and many other situations. Different states have different background checks, and the law and statutes can vary from state to state.

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A background check in the context of employment allows employers to check a person's criminal record, employment history, and other past activities to identify whether an applicant or employee fulfills the conditions of employment. Background checks can be of many types depending on the context and situation of the verification process.

Background checks are typically processed by third-party companies that return the results to whoever has requested the background check. Keep reading to understand how background checks work, what shows up on them, and how they may affect your prospect of landing a new job, rent a property, or anyone who wants to immigrate and seeking naturalization.

Below are answers to some of the most common questions we get asked about background checks in general.

Does Warrant Show Up On A Background Check?

A warrant is a legal order that authorizes the police or other law enforcement agencies to bring you into custody and bring you to court. A warrant will not show up in most criminal history checks as it is issued by a court and typically part of court records and outside the purview of background checks. There are many types of warrants, the most common being arrest warrant, bench warrant, civil warrant, and open warrant.

Arrest Warrant

An arrest warrant indicates that someone is under investigation by law enforcement agencies. An arrest warrant does not indicate execution and so does show up on a criminal background screening.

Bench Warrant

A bench warrant indicates that someone has failed to appear in court after being issued an order by the court. Therefore, a bench warrant is not part of a criminal record and will not show up on a criminal background check.

Civil Warrant

A civil warrant is issued when a subject has failed to follow orders issued by the court. Civil warrants are not part of the criminal record and will not appear on a criminal background check.

Open Warrant

An open warrant is issued for a lot of things that include committing a new crime or failing to appear before a court for a hearing. Open warrants do not show up on background checks until they are executed.

How far back does criminal history show up?

The question of how far back criminal history checks show up on a background check will vary from state to state. Many background checks cover seven years of a person’s criminal history. There is a chance that your hiring company might run a Level-2 background check if you have a criminal history.

Are Dismissed Cases Visible on Background Checks?

Dismissed cases indicate that the case did not result in a conviction. Dismissed cases show up on criminal background checks. However, dismissed cases are marked as dismissed to inform prospective employers that you are acquitted. 

Are Pending Charges Visible on Background Checks?

A pending charge is not proof that a person has been convicted and found guilty of a crime. Whether pending charges will be visible on background checks depends on where and who performs the background check. Some states do prohibit pending charges from being shown, while others do not.

Will Expunged/sealed Records Show up on a Background Check?

If your criminal records have been expunged or sealed, they will typically not show up on a background check. Expunged records are entirely erased from the criminal record database or inaccessible to the general public. Expunged or sealed records also mean that you have the right not to disclose any past criminal record.

Do Felonies or Misdemeanors Show up on a Background Check?

Yes, felonies and misdemeanors do show up on a background check. Felonies and misdemeanors, unless sealed or expunged, that typically occurred within the past seven years will show up on background checks.

Do Restraining Orders Show up on a Background Check?

A restraining order is a special protective order issued by a court to protect a person, object, business, et cetera, from another person. Some restraining orders that are civil will not show up on a criminal background check. However, restraining orders issued during a criminal trial will show up on a background check.

How Much of my Driving Record Shows Up on a Background Check?

A motor vehicle report or driving record check is used to identify an applicant’s driving-related violations. If you have committed any driving offense that has resulted in a felony or misdemeanor, it is likely to show up on a driving history check as well as in a criminal background check.

Everything that Shows up on a Background Check: Final Thoughts

Background checks are used to determine whether a person in question is who they claim to be. Background checks help minimize risks and threats associated with hiring or retaining a working employee by providing necessary information about a person’s history and background. Background checks may include criminal records, driving records, past arrests, convictions, or previous employment history.

Third-party companies typically perform background checks. The results of the background screening are returned to the concerned party requesting the check. However, you may be able to take legal action if the screening was conducted without your prior knowledge or consent and if you believe that results contain misrepresented and falsely reported information. In this respect, a qualified and experienced lawyer can help you with any issues pertaining to background checks, including fraudulent or illegal background checks.

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