COVID-19 UPDATE: Virtual and Phone Consultations Available in All Cases - We Offer Payment Plans - Learn More

Avvo Rating
Expertise
OCBA
State Bar of California
Featured in huffpost Live
Super Lawyers
Best Attorney

Who can Check Your Criminal History?

Criminal history, criminal background, or criminal record checks can be performed in a multitude of circumstances. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) limits the individuals who may perform a consumer report check on you. This includes criminal records, in addition to credit and employment history. Most employers use a Consumer Reporting Agency to acquire such reports. Regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the FCRA allows consumer reporting agencies to report arrests that go back seven years. The FRCA makes sure that they are only reporting the most accurate information that is not excessively outdated or incomplete. If there is information found that is inaccurate, you have the right to report it and the agency will investigate your claim to make sure that all information is as genuine as possible. Fortunately, some states have enacted legislation that prohibits potential employers from considering arrests that did not result in a conviction when evaluating an applicant for employment.

A consumer reporting agency is an organization that collects information on people, and then sells that information to businesses or landlords when they make an inquiry. For the most part, consumer reporting agencies collect data and maintain databases by acquiring information through paid access. The criminal record information that can be contained in this type of file are arrest records, convictions, geographic information, time served, other records maintained by law enforcement, sex offender registries, and even down to minute details like theft reports made by retail stores.

An employer will generally warn you ahead of time if they are going to perform a pre-employment background check. Usually, you will be given the opportunity to disclose any past crimes, arrests, or other legal troubles you have experienced in your past. Most experts agree, this is the time to be honest about your past. Even if you have been granted an expungement or dismissal, it may be in your best interest to disclose what you know is on your criminal record. This is especially true for professional licenses (e.g., real estate, insurance sales, etc.) that require public trust. Although an expungement may have cleaned your record, it can take years, in some cases for consumer reporting agencies to update your file.

Private citizens also have access so some criminal record data. The easiest way to access criminal records through your local government's website. California, for example, has an entire website dedicated to public record searches. The criminal portion of this site, Crime and Courts, allows users to search through all California courts, crime reports, features an inmate locator by county, allows users to search through California Supreme and Appellate Court opinions, and search for registered sex offenders.

Private investigators are also an effective way an employer or landlord can check a criminal record. PIs often have pay for subscriptions to various private and government-sponsored programs that allow them to find very personal information on individuals. Their prices are generally reasonable and they can contract with anyone, including large companies. For this reason alone, it is best advised that you disclose all known information related to your arrest and criminal record.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Lauren Johnson was amazing. She explained everything in ways that were easily understood, & answered all of my question. She was respectful, but also open & honest. She started work on my case the first day we met & got results quickly. She demonstrated passion, concern, and showed true feeling for my situation. My expectations were greatly exceeded. I would say she has an incredible attention for detail, & has a real dedication to her work. Lauren Johnson would be my first recommendation to any of my family or friends similarly in need of legal assistance. - Heather
★★★★★
I researched a lot of attorneys and had met with two attorneys before speaking with Ms. Johnson and retaining her. I was facing serious charges that could not be on my record, due to my job and was really scared. I felt hopeless & thought my life was ruined...until I found Ms. Johnson... - A criminal defense client (drug case)
★★★★★
She is on point. She knows her field well. I have to give credit where credit is due, you deserve it Lauren Johnson... - Anonymous, Victim of Domestic Violence
★★★★★
Lauren K. Johnson was my saving grace. I naively thought you were innocent until proven guilty. However, I soon discovered that CPS and family court does not see things that way... - Mrs. G, a CPS client
★★★★★
Thank you Lauren for your help and support in a very scary, bad time in my life! You were a ray of sunshine in a very dark place. I didn't have to step foot in a court room once, Lauren was there for me... - JB A criminal client