Will a Felony Show Up After Seven Years? - JobsForFelonsHub.com
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Will a Felony Show Up After Seven Years?

Will a felony show up after seven years

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 challenging to find that job.  But what about if the felony is older than 7 years?  Will this still show up on a background check?

This blog post will answer that question and the following:

  • What is a Background Check?
  • What is Included in a Background Check?
  • Criminal Records
  • Reporting Felony Convictions After 7 Years
  • How Far Back do Background Checks Go?
  • Supporting a Felon When a Felony Shows Up After Seven Years

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.

If you’re wondering what’s going to show up on your background check, we highly recommend using this service so that you can see what’s on there before you apply anywhere.

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

Criminal Records

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)
  • Warrants
  • 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.  These include cases resulting in these dispositions:

  • Dismissed
  • Nolle prossed (Will not prosecute)
  • Deferred Adjudication
  • Pre-trial diversion

Reporting Felony Convictions After 7 Years

Non-convictions can be reported for up to seven years.  Convictions can be reported without any time limitation, so it is likely to show up on a background check even if it’s been more than 7 years.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows felony arrests to be reported on background checks for seven years after release from prison.  Felony convictions can be reported as far back as the employer chooses to go.

There are several states that do not allow the use of any case older than seven years whether there was a conviction or not.

Twelve states restrict reporting information on any case older than seven years.  These states include: California, Colorado, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Texas, and Washington.

Many employers check only five to ten years history when hiring applicants.

The exception for reporting a conviction 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 after seven years.

Regardless of any felony history, it is important for felons to be honest in disclosing any conviction.  If they are no 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.

The reality here is that most applications ask if the individual has been convicted of a felony in the last 7 years.  If the answer to that question for you is no, then fill out “No” on the application.  You aren’t lying and you aren’t hiding your felony conviction, you’re simply responding to the question accurately.

If they end up running a background check later and really like you as a candidate, it’s more than likely that they’ll see the felony, but you’ll be able to explain the circumstances.

If you aren’t sure what will show up on your background check, we highly recommend that you click here to run one on yourself to see what comes back.

How Far Back do Background Checks go?

Generally speaking, background checks will go back 7 years for most background check agencies.  However, there are some agencies that will go back as far as 10 years.  This is less common for regular companies and more common with government agencies.  If you’re looking into being employed for a federal agency of any type, it’s very possible that the background check will go back for as long as your criminal history.

That said, the length of how far the background check will go really depends on where you’re applying.

Supporting a Felon when a Felony Shows Up After Seven Years

For families of felons who have a felony, encourage them to be honest and ready to answer any questions about the charges.

Their best opportunity when concerned about a felony being reported after seven years is to have their record expunged or seek a pardon if they are eligible.

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 will show up after seven years?  Have you or someone you know had a felony show up after seven years?  What was that like and were they successful in dealing with it?   Please tell us in the comments below.

48 responses to “Will a Felony Show Up After Seven Years?”

  1. Krista Thompson says:

    Very informative and extremely helpful. Great article!

  2. Tonyetta Scott says:

    WHAT if a felony getting out for about six months now no job how patient do i have to be until im waisting time.

  3. Robert John says:

    What if the felony conviction was 8 years ago but you were released from prison just over 4 years ago? Did the clock start when convicted or released?

  4. Admin says:

    The question on applications usually focuses on when you were convicted, not when you were released. So, in this case, if someone asks if you have been convicted of a felony in the last 7 years, you can say no.

  5. STEPH, G says:

    I’m in a lawsuit and seeing a former employer for sexual harassment and retaliation and have a very good case with my lawyer so far. However i just received a discovery request and part of it is asking if i have a felony record. Can I refuse to disclose it? Also if I was charged with felony grand theft 6 years ago and didnt serve time and just got probation/community service(which I did) and a fine (which I’m still paying off) would I be eligible to try and get it reduced or expunged at so.e point? I’m only 26yrs old and struggling to find a decent job much less one that wont put me in horrible situations, please help!

  6. Admin says:

    This goes beyond our scope of knowledge and we wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending anything. Please discuss with your lawyer on this one, we’d hate to steer you in the wrong direction.

  7. Ssw says:

    I have worked for the last 16 years without a problem with my background just recently I applied for a new job out of state and they pulled up a case 15 years ago. The catch is I worked for this same employer previously for 12 yrs. Without a problem! What am I to do I have had a great work history with no problems now it’s hard to find a job. I have not been in trouble for over 17 years.

  8. Admin says:

    See if you can get it expunged. If not, continue to apply. Most company only ask if you have a felony in the last 7-10 years, sounds like the situation you came across is less likely to happen.

  9. susann thomas says:

    My husband and I were convicted of a felony we did not go to jail it was because I was receiving my mother’s pension check and I should not have big and because I guess he was married to me he got a felony and has to see a probation officer for some reason I do not we are both over 60 years of age this occurred about 3 years ago and it has led by husband to be desperate and not want to live because he is so worried about a job he has never ever been in any trouble and it was all because of me

  10. John says:


    I have a new job in CT running a background check on me, but I live in MA. I have disclosed to them that I have a criminal history. Does the MA seven year rule apply to out of state employers? Also, does the seven year rule apply to both charges and convictions or just charges?

  11. Admin says:

    We are not sure of state to state laws, but usually it’s a nationwide background check they run so if there was a conviction in any state it’s likely to show.

    Charges and convictions are likely to both show on the background check. You can always run a background check on yourself to see what will come up though: https://www.jobsforfelonshub.com/direct-screening

  12. Tony says:

    Will an FBI background check show a felony in California from 26 years ago? The check is a live scan (fingerprints) from an investment bank

  13. Tony says:

    The investment bank mentioned above is located in NYC. CA does not shared criminal convictions after 7 years which is why I ask

  14. Admin says:

    FBI is federal so it’s possible, but we are not certain to be honest. You can try to run the best background check available here to see: https://www.jobsforfelonshub.com/direct-screening

  15. Adam says:

    If I have convictions and arrests from 33 years when I was a teenager (18/19) ago and juvenile arrests. 16 and under, I am now 53 and haven’t had any convictions since then. I was arrested, but charges were dismissed, 14 years ago as well. Will an employer see this? I’m in the process of having the convictions sealed and arrests expunged. Would like to know your opinion.

  16. Mike Gary says:

    Mine is tough I was convicted of a FEDERAL CUSTOMS violation, 22 years ago. Registered as a Sex Off. Tier 1 lowest. Washington law ptohibits the using of any past 7 year convictions if pay is under $30,000. But I have been fired from 3 jobs and refused hirings in 5 others when they went back 23 years. I am unemployable!

  17. Corey Watson says:

    I recently denied a job because im a felon the charge was 10 years and 6months ago to be exact can they denied me the job

  18. Jennifer Calhoun says:

    So my felony has been expunged. Will that record be expunged with the FBI as well?

  19. María Perez says:

    live in Florida 7 years ago, 26 years ago I was confined for 4 years for a drug case, I was in a federal prison. Now, 26 years later, I applied for a job at a school and I was going to do the background with a fingerprint. I’m worried about what’s going on in that report, is it possible that I’m denied employment because of what happened to me?

  20. Steve says:

    Ive worked for a major rideshare company last two years with a felony on my record. They recently switched background companies and our running a new one on me which is still pending. My felony just made over seven years during this process. What should I do if the felony comes up and they decide to Let me go?

  21. Crystal says:

    I received a job offer in the banking industry in Kansas. I was convicted of a felony 8 years ago. My background check always seems to come up ok but, this job requires a fingerprint check which I have never done before. Does the 7 year rule apply to fingerprint checks like the background checks do in KS? I can’t seem to find a solid answer on the internet.

  22. Lv says:

    I applied for a job yesterday and sign for a background check the employer call me today to tell me she disqualified me cuz of the case 14 years ago can they do that?

  23. Oa says:

    I recently got an offer for a city job in California I have felony which is 8 years old do you think it will come out on the background check?

  24. Admin says:


    Your best bet is probably to just run a background check on yourself to see what comes up: https://www.jobsforfelonshub.com/direct-screening

    No one will be able to say for sure, but this service will confirm everything.

  25. Bryan Staudacher says:

    you may want to mention that all states (except Texas, at 75K) allow full disclosure back to 18 years old if the job pays over 25,000, and the non-seven year rule states allow it every time.

  26. Marie Patrick says:

    The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Service did my sons background check one case tha was not processed and dismissed has the wrong information and may prevent employment. What can I do

  27. Chaziah46 says:

    I live in Fl. Have misdemeanors with one felony a drug charge which was nolly all from 12 yrs ago. Im applying for jobb requiring background and fingerprints. Will my past show up.

  28. Geronimo says:

    I currently live in Nevada, I have a 35 year old felony conviction in California. Since California has adopted the 7-year rule, will my conviction show up in an employment background check done by a Nevada employer? My confusion is that in 2015 Nevada lifted their 7-year reporting limit on criminal convictions. Is this strictly for Nevada convictions or will Nevada law allow California to share my 35 year old conviction with Nevada?

  29. This is really good topic you point out ‘Will a Felony Show Up After Seven Years?’ Many people don’t know about this.it is really helpful. thank you sharing this article with us

  30. Jonathan Wright says:

    I was convicted in 2001 and released in 2004. I got off parole early in 2007 but the original date to get off parole was 2012. If a background check is conducted in me which date would the 7- 10 years be from. Would it be 2001, 2004 when I got off parole in 2007?

  31. Linda says:

    My husband had been driving for a rideshare company for a whole year. He was a 5 star driver. A couple months ago, he also decided to go back to school and we were strongly relying on this income to pay for our living expenses. Two months ago, they reran his background check. He had had no convictions since 2010 and had been really trying to turn his life around in the past 10 years. Following this check, and even if there had been nothing new on his record, they bluntly suspended him. We tried to call and email to get more information but they just said “you need to contact the background check company”. I thought it was very inconsiderate for them to do this as it is them, not the background check company, who suspended his account. He now no longer has an income and this makes our life and very uncertain as we will now have to go deeper into debt to pay for his degree. I am very heartbroken and I really hope that, once he gets his bachelors, he will not experience a hard time to find a qualified job due to his previous convictions.

  32. Deborah J. says:

    It really depends on the job he applies for. If it is a state, federal, or corporation job they will background check. The college degree has NO barring. It also depends on the state where you live and if the state allows an expungement would greatly help. Good Luck.

  33. Ruby says:

    I’ve been working since 2010 steadily. I have a theft arrest $50-?? from when I was 20 in Sept 2012. I was on deferred adjudication, paid my fine and community service all that jazz, which ended in Dec of 2012. I’m in Texas and have remained continuously unemployed since Feb 2018. This has affected my life in more ways than I can count since Feb of last year, even though I’ve remained an ideal employee, no previous gaps in employment and usually I had two jobs at once, why is it only now that my criminal background is affecting my life when I’m applying for the same lines of work (Food service and receptionist types of employment)? And Yes I’m close to the 7 year mark, but would that be Sept or Dec?

  34. Mantha says:

    If I have ‘bench warrants’ or ‘failures to appear warrants’ that are solely for traffic tickets, will those appear on my background check? Texas basic background checks, I’m not talking like federal or anything. I had a copy of a recent one mailed to me after applying and they weren’t on it but I’m not sure I received the same one as the employer.

  35. TiffanyS says:

    I recently filled out an application for a new job. They asked to do a background check and I agreed. The background check questions asked if I had been convicted of anything in the past 7 years. My conviction is from 8 years ago so I answered no. I just received an email with a copy of the background check and it shows my felony convictions from 8+ years ago. Will the company hold it against me that I answered no to the convictions even though I didn’t lie since they only asked about 7 years?

  36. Nakia Reynolds says:

    Pennsylvania applying for a home health aide job can u be denied for 21 plus old convictions

  37. Melissa says:

    I am on 10 yrs deferred adjudication probation for a felony charge I have 3 yrs left will a background check show my deferred adjudication since its been 7 yrs but I’m still on probation?

  38. Shannon Stewart says:

    I think we need to do something about this law. Employers ,housing not accepting people for 7-10 yr.old cases is ridiculous. I got a simple possession charge in a different state way over 10 yrs ago. It was a felony then I got another felony for my first dirty my very first day of probation. My 3rd felony was because i was responsible for anyone in my house even though i was tested by blood and urine and was clean the person in my exes place left paraphernalia behind and they said i was responsible for it. I did my time and what was required of me. I feel once you completed probation and a treatment program and after 7 years it shouldn’t be on your record depending on the offense. How do they expect felons to get their lives together if society wont give them a chance. And my felonies were minor and in a state where they are the bible belt. It’s a misdemeanor where I’m at now. It seems so unfair that the once felons here for drug possession are no longer felons but I am still a felon cause mine were in a different state. It just doesnt seem right. I say we all push this issue to congress

  39. Carmen Zayas says:

    I agree with you my son was caught for DUI and pot 3,years ago did probation his a change men. But these politicans never mention these when they running for office? Why everyone deserves a second chance if they don’t they will fall into depression.

  40. Paul M. says:

    It’s very unfair that a non violent felony over 7 years should come into play on hiring. But there are too many people in United States who want people to do a life sentence for every thing That’s why I have my own business, and would recommend that to all ex felons.

  41. Mark Smith says:

    Do states with the 7 year rule usually also use the exemption on salary requirements? Specifically for Washington State.

  42. Trenell says:

    Your right we do need to do something about these laws. Especially when the offense was done in your teens and early 20’s we all make mistakes. My daughters father has been out now 15 years but still his report shows his felonies, and has been only received 1 speeding ticked years ago. He came to me ask me if I could help him have this removed from his report because it’s hindering him from moving forward in his career. So as I research the law on expungement, not only is it a lengthy difficult process but can be costly. Since each state as there own guidelines I have researched each states, we live in Tex. and according to what i found Tex. is an unforgiving state it appears they will not expunge anything unless it has been dismissed or reversed by the courts. So if you’ve served time for it it stays, If it can’t be expunged something need to be done about the time frame for reporting with exceptions of course. Some people need to stay on the radar. This is the reason there’s a revolving door for a lot of felons, no one wants to give them a chance or opportunity to make a change. You can’t survive unemployed, my ex is self employed but finding trying to lease a building or working for a good company they love him until that report comes. It’s difficult trying to buy a car or placed to stay because of that report this needs to stop. If anyone can help with information on something I can do please feel free to advise.

  43. Jerry Mabrey says:

    I was released from prison in March of 2018 after serving 9 years for possession of a firearm. I applied for a maintenance job in sept and checked no on my application and passed the companies background check and have worked for the company for a year with no problems or write ups. I have been given a raise and looked forward to moving up in the company, however last week I was terminated because someone told my supervisor I was a felon. My question is if they only go back 7 years why should I have to tell them about my conviction. There is no doubt I’ve been discriminated against.

  44. Ashley Gilliland says:

    Having a criminal hurts individuals that made a mistake and trying to fix their lives and better them self’s. My husband got a conviction back in2003, he has done been on aircraft his whole life. Since age of 19. He recently went for a job interview in August at Cessna. He was hired on, the supervisor was very impressed with him. The company that did the background check went back past the 10 yrs and he got denied the job do to a felony conviction in 2003. 16yrs ago!!!!!! Its super sad that the laws are not stricter on background check policies.

  45. Larissa says:

    How far back do they go in the medical field in Ohio on a background check? Specifically for medical assistant, phlebotomy, or LPN or RN

  46. curtis Babbitt says:

    I have a bachelor’s degree in business from a California state university. I also have 3 felony convictions but I received a deferred sentence on all 3 (one incident, 3 charges, all non violent). In 3 years the convictions will be dismissed, that’s how I understand it, however I know background checks will still show others my mistakes. My life is ruined no matter what I do. I received a life sentence and my career was given the death penalty.

  47. Julie Eberle says:

    My ex-boyfriend did a years time in Miami, Ohio’s prison. I think he was in for theft of his step-fathers antique gun-he was 18 or 19 years old. Then he did time in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for home invasion but got the charges dropped, and also did time in jail in Fort Lauderdale for theft of his mothers car, and I think he might of had a possession charge plus tons and tons of unpaid tickets in Ohio and Florida. We moved to California and I put him through paramedic school. Obviously I had all the tickets paid in both states(cost $1,000)so he could get his drivers license which you need to be a paramedic. Half way through the course his instructor tells him he needs to do a DOJ check(Department of Justice) which is a finger-print scan. That cost $80.00-but he passed which I couldn’t believe because he had two felony convictions in two different states. And the DOJ is the federal branch which they should of had those records through the system that connects all the agencies.. It was after 911 so I thought for sure everything was linked up-u can’t be a paramedic with felony charges-I told him to tell his instructor in which supposedly he did and the instructor said he wouldn’t tell if my boyfriend didn’t., The only conclusion I came up with is that the DOJ just checked his name in the states surrounding California thinking my boyfriend wasn’t from the east coast. It’s still hard to believe they didn’t do a 50 state background check. Needless to say he finished the course, took the state exam twice and passed the second time and then became a paramedic and was working in Los Angeles. I guess the lesson I learned from that is that if you have faith and believe in God, your determined enough, and believe in yourself ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!! Juel

  48. I’ve been convicted twice for the same class b felony I did two ten year sentences ( non violent) I’ve been out for 12 years and have had 22 legit jobs.Finding a job is easy, keeping a job is hard if you don’t lose the prison mentality. And honesty on your job application is best.If your a felon they will find out even if they don’t do an initial background check. Chances are you’ll tell some and they will tell on you! Be clean , Be sober, Be honest and you will do ok.Dont settle for peanuts just because you are a felon!

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