If you had a criminal record that was expunged in California, you might be concerned about what might appear in a background check. Depending on what appears in the background check, whether or not you get hired for a new job, receive a license or are able to adopt a child can be affected.
What does it mean to have an expunged record?
When you have a criminal record and want to get a crime expunged or dismissed, you must go through the court. You must request that the court and law enforcement agencies either erase or seal that record so that it no longer appears as a public record. After you apply for expungement, the court will decide whether your conviction is erased or sealed from public records. In the latter situation, your records would only be accessible through a court order.
After a successful criminal expungement or dismissal, you are not required to reveal anything about your prior record. Current or prospective employers are not allowed to question you about it either. As a result, when you have an expungement, it gives you the opportunity to have a clean slate and move forward from your past. In most cases, expungement or dismissal is applied to misdemeanor arrests and convictions.
By law, if you have had a past criminal record expunged, you are allowed to say “no” when you are asked if you have any prior arrests or criminal convictions. After expungement, the records no longer exist.
What types of background checks are done?
There are two common types of background checks done. They include the following:
• Ink fingerprinting or live scan fingerprinting: This type of background check searches criminal databases for your fingerprints. If you have a prior arrest or conviction, your fingerprints generally appear in a search.
• Social Security Number: This background check searches for your SSN through a criminal database to see if you have a criminal arrest or conviction in your history.
Some employers use a third-party agency to perform background checks on applicants. Typical information used to get data include their name, birth date and SSN.
An attorney may help you if you want to have a past crime removed from your record. A legal professional may give you helpful advice on how to apply for the expungement and what additional steps you might need to take.