What Is Included In A Background Check?

Learn what is included in a background check

Are you thinking about renting out your apartment or condo? Or perhaps you’re in the process of recruiting new employees for your business, or are planning to hire a new babysitter. Regardless, you may want to perform a criminal background check to make sure you’re getting the best people for the job.

On the flip side, if you’re looking at getting hired for a new job or to get yourself a new apartment, it would behoove you to know what information is available for others to see as job applicants and apartment renters are typically asked to submit to a background check.

What is Included in a Background Check?

Background checks can be a simple as doing a check into your criminal history or can be more detailed and include an account of your education, reference verification and even interviews from your neighbors. Additionally, many background checks now aggregate information from social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and others to get even more information.

Here are just some pieces of information that can be included in a background check as many of these sources are public records created by local, state, or federal government agencies.

  • Criminal History: This includes felony and misdemeanor searches that can be conducted by county, state or federal (more information on the various scenarios below).
  • Driving History: This is a mandatory background check item for people looking to get a job as a trucker, Uber or Lyft driver, or any other job that requires operation of a motor vehicle. This type of check will show your license status, accident history, insurance status, and any outstanding tickets.
  • Credit Reports: Useful for landlords who want to make sure that their possible tenants have financial stability. Declared bankruptcies that are older than seven years will not appear.
  • Education: A background check will verify college attendance, degrees and dates that they were earned. This type of check is becoming increasingly popular due to the overwhelming amount of job candidates that falsify this information. There have been well known CEO’s, politicians and celebrities that have made the news for getting caught through a background check with resumes that falsified their education.
  • Social Security Reports: This shows where a candidate has lived the past seven years
  • Court Records: Similar to a criminal history report, court records are available for the past seven years and will show whether the person being check is/was a plaintiff or defendant

The information that in included in a background check will to a certain extent depend on the person who is running a background check and for what purpose.

Criminal Background Screening Scenarios

1. Non-convictions within seven years

In this scenario, let’s assume that the subject of the background report, what the Fair Credit Reporting Act refers to as the “consumer,” has a criminal record that resulted in a non-conviction. Examples of non-convictions includes some of the following outcomes:

  • Dismissed
  • Nolle prossed
  • Deferred adjudication
  • Pre-trial diversion, etc.

In this case, any type of record that has been created within the past seven years from the date that verdict is rendered can be included on a background report.

2. Non-convictions that are older than seven years

Any non-conviction that is older than seven years from the date that the verdict has been rendered may not be included on a background report.

3. Convictions

Any ruling that turns into a conviction, regardless of age, generates a criminal report that can be reported. While it’s still possible to rent an apartment or get a job with a criminal record, if you’re worried about the possibility of a prior conviction ruining your chances you should looking into either getting your criminal record sealed, which would hide it from a public background check, or getting your criminal record expunged, which would remove it from your history forever.

4. When non-convictions become convictions

A “consumer” was given deferred adjudication or deferred sentencing, however they violated the requirements that were laid out as part of the plea deal. In this case, the probation gets revoked, and the record will show as a conviction, making it available in a background report without any limitations.

5. When probation violations don’t result in convictions

A “consumer” was given deferred adjudication or deferred sentencing, however as in the previous scenario they violated the requirements that were laid out as part of their plea deal. Sentencing is revised, however the disposition doesn’t get changed to a conviction. In this scenario, it’s considered a non-conviction and therefore is only available for seven years after the date of the new verdict.

Bottom Line

There are multiple reasons why one might want to run a background check, whether it’s to hire a new employee or rent out an apartment. You may even want to run a background check on yourself to get ahead of employers and clean up your own reputation. Whatever the reason, running a background check allows you to arm yourself with necessary information. The best part is, you can easily run a background check within minutes from the convenience of your home with Records.com.


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