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What Is a Criminal Background Check?

A criminal background check occurs when a judge, employer, police officer, or other person checks a person’s criminal record to review any crimes they have committed. Criminal background checks are often necessary to determine a person’s eligibility for a job or to ensure the safety of other persons who may be interacting with the person.

In some cases, criminal background checks can disclose very private information about a person’s history. As such, criminal procedure laws tend to be somewhat strict regarding which persons can access criminal records. Some states allow criminal records to be searched by the general public.

When Are Criminal Background Checks Performed?

Criminal background checks may be performed if the person is:

If a person is found to have a history of committing crimes, they may be disqualified from their application. This is especially common if the person has a history of violent crimes. or is found to have a tendency to repeat offenses. The concern over several of the same offenses is that the individual may continue to repeat the behavior in the future.

What Is Expungement?

Expungement describes a process where a person’s criminal record is essentially cleared. This is available usually after a period of time has passed from the person’s last conviction. The person must have completed their sentences, including probation or parole requirements.

Expungement may be more difficult for felony charges, and is not always available. Additionally, an expungement is not an automatic procedure and must be specifically requested. Furthermore, a judge is under no obligation to grant an expungement.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Criminal Background Checks?

Criminal records can often require legal assistance when dealing with them. You may need to hire a lawyer for help if you have any concerns, questions, or legal disputes involving a criminal background check. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice so that you understand your rights.

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Last Modified: 12-22-2014 08:45 AM PST

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