Does My Criminal Record Show Up in All States or Only Where My Conviction Occurred?

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Does My Criminal Record Show Up in All States or Only Where My Conviction Occurred?

If you have a criminal record in one state and you’re moving to another, you might wonder if that record will follow you. For felonies, the answer is almost always yes. However, just because your felony conviction will show up doesn’t mean the person searching your record will find it. There are a few caveats to the way background checks are conducted that might prevent someone from finding your conviction.

Searching Out of State

A felony conviction won’t show up on the state search for states outside of the one in which you committed the felony. So, let’s say you were convicted of a felony in Georgia and you move to California. The records in California won’t automatically alert the searcher that you had a conviction in Georgia. The person running your background check would have to search in Georgia’s records to find that conviction. That being said, if you’re being screened for employment, for instance, and they know you’ve moved states, it’s pretty likely they’ll search in the state you came from. However, there’s a possibility they won’t.

Job-Specific

Many times, it’s not having a criminal record that will be the problem but rather the type of conviction you had. For instance, if you are applying to be a truck driver, the person doing your background check is probably going to do a nationwide search (or at least a search of the states in which you’ve lived) for DUIs, speeding tickets, and other offenses related to the job.

Background Check Consent

Keep in mind that you have to consent to a background check before any employer or person can conduct one. That being said, many people feel that they have to agree to a background check or they won’t get the job. In many cases, that’s true. Background checks can reveal a lot more than just your prior convictions. They can uncover your financial history, driving record, education, income, debt, and a lot of other things about you. If you’re worried about something turning up in a background check and it’s an employment situation, it might be better to tell the person hiring you at the interview that you have some charges and explain them to the best of your ability. Honesty is usually rewarded.

What About Misdemeanors?

If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, you’ll probably have an easier time getting a job and explaining your record to potential employers. Felonies are serious crimes and usually involve harm to others, drug charges, and the like. Misdemeanors, however, are less serious, and if you only have one on your record, you can probably explain that away to an employer. That being said, if your misdemeanor conviction is directly related to the job for which you’re applying, you might have a harder time landing that particular job. However, each employer is different, so your experience can vary depending on who you’re trying to work for.

Honesty is the Best Policy

No matter what you were convicted of, it’s important to be upfront and honest with an employer or anyone else who’s conducting a background check. Honesty is usually rewarded, while keeping your conviction a secret in the hopes that nobody will find out can often lead to questions about your integrity and motives for not speaking up. More than likely, employer and background checkers will turn up that conviction, so it’s best to be upfront and honest about it in the beginning. Transparency is almost always appreciated.

While employers have the right not to hire someone based on a prior conviction, they also have to refrain from discrimination. If you feel you’re being unfairly judged for a conviction that was old or not related to your job, you can hire an attorney to help you fight for your right to have an equal opportunity to obtain employment, education, financial assistance, and the like. In some cases, you may be able to expunge your record. Contact an attorney today and ask them how you can better your chances of success.

 

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