Does an Arrest Show Up on Background Checks?

Arrests and arrest records can be confusing subjects for many, especially if you aren’t sure what counts as a public record or what will be included in a criminal background check. Add to that the confusion of arrest records versus criminal conviction records, and it can be difficult to figure out whether or not you’ll see a history of arrests on your background check report.

Our article aims to shed more light on arrests regarding background checks and what an arrest on your record could mean for you in the future.

Information Included on Background Checks

A variety of information is included in background checks, such as your personal address history, education and employment information, criminal records, and civil record information. If you have been convicted of a crime or received a conviction after being arrested for something, this will show up on your background check report.

Depending on specific state laws, your background check report might show arrests that have been dismissed or arrests without any charges. Along with this information, a criminal record will list the date of the arrest, any charges received, court information, and the docket information from the case.

Your background check report will not show any pending warrants for arrest, as these are typically not disclosed to the public until they are served, and an arrest is made.

The Controversy Surrounding Arrest Records

When it comes to arrest records, there can be quite a bit of controversy surrounding whether or not it’s appropriate for employers to use them as part of a pre-employment check. This is especially true when it comes to automatically disqualifying candidates based on an arrest record, regardless of if the arrest has charges related to it or not.

Individuals with arrests without charges or dismissed charges can face the same difficulties as individuals with extensive criminal records in certain states due to these automatic disqualifications.

Many states and cities today are working towards more equal employment standards, and some states have even banned the use of arrest records as part of a pre-employment background check.

While criminal records are still eligible to be reviewed in most areas, arrests with convictions can be evaluated, and arrests without convictions or dismissed charges will not interfere with a person’s opportunities.

Laws regarding equal employment opportunities regarding job applications are generally known as ‘ban the box’ laws. You can read more about these laws and the benefits they offer here.

Will Arrests Without Convictions Appear on a Background Check?

Whether or not an arrest without a conviction or a dismissed arrest appears on your background check report depends on the specific reporting rules in your state. Some states allow arrests without convictions to be listed as part of a criminal record, while others ban this type of reporting.

Check with the public records offices or courthouses in your jurisdiction and perform some basic internet research to get an idea of what type of disclosure your state allows.

Can I Be Denied Employment Due to Arrest Records?

Employers may be allowed to deny you employment based on an arrest record, though this depends on the employment and information reporting laws in your state and the specific regulations of the company you are applying for.

Some states still allow automatic disqualification based on arrest records, so even if you have an arrest without charges attached, you could potentially be denied a job offer. However, most employers will take a holistic look at your arrest records and are more interested in any criminal convictions that might accompany these arrests.

Check the hiring rules of any company you apply for and stay informed of your employment rights as you send in job applications to ensure you are being given a fair shot at these opportunities.

Can Arrest Records Be Expunged?

Getting your arrest records expunged or sealed from your personal record might be possible. States have varying rules on the types of crimes that are allowed to be expunged, but you might have a good chance of expungement if you have arrests on your record without charges or dismissed charges.

To begin the expungement process, you should consult with a legal professional in your jurisdiction to gain state and situation-specific advice. Then, you will most likely be required to send an application in for expungement and attend a court hearing where a judge will decide whether or not to remove arrest records from your criminal record and background check report.

Understanding Your Background Check Report

Background checks can be confusing, and having arrests on your criminal record can make the process all the more difficult to proceed through. To get an idea of what employers or other individuals might see when they look at your background check report, utilize a tool like the one on to review your own criminal record. With this report, you can see any arrests with convictions or dismissed charges and may even be able to take the first steps toward removing arrests from your criminal record for good.

Staying informed of your arrests and any criminal convictions on your background check report and ensuring you understand your employment rights is the best way to navigate any arrests on your personal record and ensure fair hiring practices are followed.

Leave a Comment