The biggest challenge that felons face after their release is to find a job with a felony conviction.
Employers typically conduct a background check (check of criminal records) on applicants, making it challenging to find that job.
A felony conviction remains on their record forever.
This blog post will cover whether a felony arrest will stay on your record.
- What is a Background Check?
- What is Included in a Background Check?
- Criminal Records
- Supporting a Felon with a Felony Arrest on Their Record
What is a Background Check?
The purpose of a background check is to ensure employers hire the best candidate for a job.
Many employers won’t hire felons, believing they are dishonest and likely to commit a crime on the job. Or employers fear the public finding out they hire felons, damaging the company’s reputation and losing business.
There are employers who will hire felons, but it will still take persistence in completing a number of applications in order to find that job.
There are several reasons why employers conduct a background check on job applicants and even on current employees.
- Negligent hiring practices. If an employee’s actions hurt someone, employers may be held liable.
- Terrorism has caused increased security caution in hiring.
- False information on applications can hurt the hiring policy.
- Federal and state laws require background checks on those working with children, the elderly, and disabled.
- Background checks are becoming easier and cheaper to perform.
Felons can lose a professional license or permit required in their previous line of work. They can’t be denied the opportunity to regain their license simply because they have been convicted of a felony.
That is discrimination.
But they can lose out due to the potential damage or harm or threat they represent for the company with the public.
Of course for positions requiring high security or trust employers want to make certain they make a good decision.
This information allows employers to determine a candidate’s past mistakes, character, moral and financial fitness, and to pinpoint hiring risks for security and safety issues.
While background checks are not mandatory by law, they are required in areas involving an individual’s personal and private information.
These industries are in home healthcare, financial, and insurance companies along with others.
What is Included in a Background Check?
In conducting a background check, basic information from applicants includes full name, date of birth, and Social Security Number.
Among the types of information typically included in a background check are:
- Driving records
- Credit records, including bankruptcy
- Criminal records
- Education records
- Court records
- Character references
- Medical records
- Military records
- State licensing records
- Drug test records
- Past employers
- Personal references
- Incarceration records
- Sex offender lists
- Social media profiles
This portion of the background check involves a search of criminal history files for any criminal activity.
A criminal background check typically reveals the following information:
- Convictions of felonies, misdemeanors, and sex crimes
- Current home address and phone number as well as those within the past ten years
- Arrests (Felony and Misdemeanor); court records (Dockets, orders, decrees, judgments)
- Incarceration records
- Federal and state tax liens
- Federal and civil judgments
- Federal and state bankruptcies
- Age and date of birth
- Any alias’ and maiden names
- Marriages and divorces
Most common is a County background check. This will show a felony criminal history and misdemeanors in most counties.
Then, there is a Federal Criminal Record Check. This shows federal crimes and crimes committed on federal property.
A Statewide and Nationwide check, Sex Offender Registry, and a Global Homeland Security Search reveals if an individual is in any of these databases.
According to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a background check will show all non-convictions, including felony arrests. These include cases resulting in these dispositions:
- Nolle prossed (Will not prosecute)
- Deferred Adjudication
- Pre-trial diversion
Non-convictions, including arrests, are reportable for seven years. Convictions can be reported without any limitation.
The exception here is when felons have had their records expunged or sealed at the time of the background check. These records would not appear on a background check.
Regardless of any felony history, it is important for felons to be honest in disclosing any conviction or arrest. If they are not, and the background check reveals a felony or arrest, their chances for employment are likely gone.
Disclosing felony convictions or arrests provides felon the opportunity to explain their situation and describe the circumstances of their crime.
Depending on the nature of the crime and length of time since the conviction or arrest, felons have the opportunity to present their case. Legal assistance can be helpful.
Supporting a Felon with a Felony Arrest on Their Record
For families of felons who have a felony arrest, encourage them to be honest and ready to answer any questions about the charges.
Being prepared for these types of issues when applying for a job and having a background check can prevent problems later on.
Be there for them and be honest with them in this situation. Help them tell the truth and give themselves the best opportunity for success in their new life.
After all, honesty is the best policy for all concerned.
So what do you think about this blog post about whether a felony arrest will stay on your record? Have you or someone you know had a felony arrest stay on your record? What was that like and were they successful in dealing with it? Please tell us in the comments below.