Probably the biggest challenge that felons face after their release is to find a job.
Employers typically conduct a background check on applicants, making it even more difficult to find a job.
This is especially true when felons’ criminal record is extensive, and felons have lived in several states.
This blog post will cover whether a felony will show up in another state.
- What is a Background Check?
- What is Included in a Background Check?
- Criminal Records
- What Shows Up in a Background Check
- Preventing a Felony from Showing up in Another State
- Supporting a Felon When a Felony Shows Up in Another State
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 fields 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 and 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 reveal 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. These include cases resulting in these dispositions:
- Nolle prossed (Will not prosecute)
- Deferred Adjudication
- Pre-trial diversion
What Shows Up in a Background Check
Information from a state database is obtained when defendants are convicted of a crime in a particular state.
The process typically involves the information from that state’s database being shared with the National Criminal Information System (NCIS).
Sometimes, that does not happen. Information can get lost in bureaucracy, or electronic transfer failures can occur.
Searches done through NCIS may or may not show a conviction from another state; usually they do.
Conducting a background check, the wise step would be for the investigator to look at the database in all states in which a defendant has lived. Then, a felony from another state would definitely show up.
This is not always done, however.
The advisable thing for felons to do is to anticipate that all felonies which they have committed in any state, along with any misdemeanors, will appear and be prepared to be honest about each conviction.
Preventing a Felony from Showing up in Another State
The exception for a felony showing up is when felons have had their records expunged or sealed at the time of the background check. These records, even from another state, would not appear on a background check.
Regardless of any felony history, it is important for felons to be honest in disclosing any conviction. If they are not and the background check reveals a felony, their chances for employment are gone.
Disclosing felony convictions 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, felons have the opportunity to present their case.
Supporting a Felon When a Felony Shows Up in Another State
For families of felons who have a felony, encourage them to be honest and ready to answer any questions about the charges whenever they are asked.
Being prepared for these types of issues when applying for a job and having a background check can prevent problems later on.
Encourage them to contact an attorney about having their record expunged.
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 will show up in another state? Have you or someone you know had a felony show up in another state? What was that like and were they successful in dealing with it? Please tell us in the comments below.