You may have a felony record that includes offenses that you committed as a teenager. When you apply for a job and get ready for a background check to be run, you might worry about whether these offenses will show up on the background check.
Will a juvenile felony show up on a background check? Let’s take a look at this.
In this blog post, we’ll cover the following:
- What Is in a Juvenile Record?
- What Is a Background Check?
- What About Juvenile Offenses?
- Will a Juvenile Felony Show Up?
- Expunging or Sealing a Juvenile Record
What Is in a Juvenile Record?
Juvenile records are typically the history of a young person’s crimes and convictions. The age limits for a juvenile vary according to the state.
Most states consider youth older than 18 years as an adult. Other states have a cutoff of 18 years old, though it can be as young as 16 or even as old as 19 years of age as in Wyoming.
These are important cutoff dates as penalties for crimes committed as an adult are far more severe, especially for more serious offenses. Having a felony conviction that follows you throughout adulthood is a big price to pay for such transgressions.
What Is a Background Check?
I’m sure you all know the answer to this question, but let’s do a quick review.
While it may not seem like it, a background check is an attempt to verify that you are who you say you are.
That runs the gamut from your basic identity, to your education, job history, residential information, financial status, driving records, and obviously any criminal history.
A background check is just as the name implies, searching for and discovering information about a person. What shows up on a background check depends on the type of background screening and who is conducting it.
Most background checks are run by employers as part of the hiring process because employers want to make certain they make a good decision about who to hire and reduce hiring risks.
The information from a background check allows employers to look at your past mistakes and to get a handle on your character and moral fitness.
There are employers that won’t hire felons because they think felons are dishonest and will commit a crime on the job. Or employers fear the public finding out they hire felons, which could damage the company’s reputation and lose business.
This leaves an employer in a difficult position for which the answer is to conduct a background check.
Some employers may search every record available, but some may only run a criminal background check.
In conducting any type of background check, you must include your full name, date of birth, and Social Security Number. There are checks that look at criminal records, the sex offender registry, and driving records among others.
What About Juvenile Offenses?
As a juvenile, there are temptations that young people may not be able to resist and actions that they take that at the time may seem innocent enough.
However, the results of these actions are recorded as part of a juvenile record. First, how many times have teenagers gone to a party and drank? Not only that, but how often have they driven afterward unaware that the room really wasn’t spinning? They were drunk.
For a first offense of DUI, it likely won’t have a significant impact on their record. But how about the second time, or even the third? Multiple DUIs could haunt them for as long as 10 years.
What about that fight that broke out at that party? No big deal? Well, if the police were involved, it could become a charge of disorderly conduct or even domestic violence if a boyfriend or girlfriend are involved.
Getting involved with drugs can get out of hand and that high may spill over and become a charge of a minor in possession.
A shoplifting charge might not seem like a big deal, but it is still a theft charge that could result in a conviction.
After learning to drive and having a driver’s license, the temptation to speed could end up as a moving violation.
On that first job, just taking something from an employer could turn into a charge of theft.
True, none of these alone may be that significant.
But, the fact is that these can all become part of that juvenile record that can follow a young person for years.
These are all instances that can show up on a background check later in life.
Will a Juvenile Felony Show Up?
The information from juvenile records that shows up on an employment background check depends on the state in which the background check is being conducted. Each state has its own laws that determine how juvenile records should be handled.
Some states do not allow juvenile records to show up on employment background checks. However, if the background checks are being conducted by the government or for a government purpose, the record may show up.
Most concerning of course are any felony convictions. Depending on the state, a conviction for an offense as a teenager could show up, though many believe that it won’t.
Or at least they hope. Some types of felonies, such as those involving sexual offenses or violent crimes, may still show up.
But think about it for a minute. One reason that it is unlikely for a juvenile felony to appear on a background check is due to how long ago that felony occurred.
If you are in your late 20s, mid 30s, or even your 40s, how long ago was that teenage offense?
Most are simply beyond the range that most employers look for anyway. We all know that the conviction is still there. It will be there for life unless you have your record expunged.
To find out what is in your criminal record, you can run a background check on yourself. There are sources that can assist you with this.
Expunging or Sealing a Juvenile Record
Of course, it is possible to have your record expunged, but it depends on various factors, including the state in which you reside.
As a juvenile offender, you can petition the court to expunge or seal your juvenile court conviction.
This would allow you to honestly tell prospective employers, landlords, and licensing agencies that you have never been arrested or convicted.
Some states automatically expunge juvenile records when you reach the age of 18. Often, a juvenile record can’t be sealed until a certain amount of time has passed since that case ended.
Typically, this can be from three to five years depending on the state. Generally, you must wait at least five years before your juvenile record can be expunged.
So, if you committed a crime as a juvenile when you were 17, you will likely have to wait until you are at least 22 to have it expunged.
It will also make a difference as to the seriousness of the offense. Some more serious crimes relating to sexual or violent offenses may not be eligible to be expunged.
Another important factor is whether you had additional charges later as a juvenile or as an adult. Also, if there are pending charges you may not be eligible to have your juvenile record expunged.
If you have maintained a clean record after any juvenile offenses, you will have a much better chance of having your record wiped clean. If any juvenile crimes were later changed so that you would be tried as an adult, you will have an extremely difficult time getting your record cleared.
So, what should you do? It may be advisable to find out if you are eligible for your record to be expunged. There are attorneys you can contact for an answer.
The steps to take will begin by contacting the court in which the offense was tried to start the paperwork.
If your record is eligible, it may be worth the effort and expense to have your record cleared. That way, you can honestly state you have not been convicted of a felony. Then you won’t have to worry about whether your juvenile felony will show up and continue to haunt you.
Take the time and make sure. You made mistakes in the past, but you don’t have to be defined by them. Rather, be defined by how you responded to those mistakes.
Living an honest lifestyle is critical to your future.
So what do you think about this blog post about whether a juvenile felony will show up on a background check? Have you or someone you know had a juvenile felony show up on a background? What was that like and what happened? Please tell us in the comments below.