It is very common for employers to use criminal background checks before hiring employees. That is certainly the case here in Carteret County, North Carolina. However, unless you work in human resources or law enforcement or are a criminal defense attorney, you’ve probably never seen what a criminal background check looks like. As a result, you’re probably curious about the information a prospective employer may be finding out about you. In addition, both North Carolina and Federal law put restrictions on how and under what circumstances a criminal background check may be used. Let’s take a closer look at criminal background checks so you can get a better idea of the information employers are receiving about their job applicants.
What information is contained in a criminal background check?
The information contained in a criminal background check can be pretty broad. First, it will list any information on arrests and convictions in your home state, in this case, North Carolina. It will include felonies and misdemeanors, any pending charges, and the dispositions of these cases. This will be broken down further to show the counties where the charges originated. In addition, it will contain any information on federal criminal cases involving the applicant. This will also include felony and misdemeanor convictions, pending charges, and records of arrest.
In some cases, a prospective employer may go further to conduct a nationwide search. This will include any convictions, arrests, dispositions, and pending charges against the applicant in all states, counties, and municipalities across America. This is the most comprehensive type of background check available.
A final area that will appear in most criminal background checks is whether the person is on any sex offender registry. This is the type of information that is needed for someone running a business that involves young children or other sensitive areas. Needless to say, the last thing someone running a daycare center wants is to inadvertently employ a person who is listed on a local or national sex offender registry.
What information will not appear in a criminal background check?
There are two specific areas that are specifically excluded from criminal background checks in North Carolina. The first is expunged criminal history. Under certain circumstances, a person is entitled to have some or all of their arrests, charges, and convictions deleted from the state or country records. The law surrounding this is often very specific and tied to either the nature of the alleged crime or the passage of time since the last conviction. While these records are still available to courts and prosecutors, they are not shared with individuals or businesses as part of a criminal background check.
The second area is juvenile records. In North Carolina, these records are sealed upon the person reaching the age of maturity. Just like expunged records, sealed juvenile records are not available to the public, and are only able to be accessed by the courts and prosecutors.
How can this information be used?
Some employers in North Carolina are actually required to perform criminal background checks before making a hiring decision. This includes jobs that involve mental health, disability, and substance abuse services. Conversely, if an applicant for a job has a sealed juvenile or expunged arrest or conviction, he or she is not required to disclose this when seeking a job. If a person is seeking a license for employment in North Carolina, the licensing board can only use the criminal record within certain criteria that looks at things like the seriousness of the crime, the length of time since it was committed, and any relationship between the crime and the license that is being applied for. Similar criteria apply to most jobs with North Carolina state agencies.
There are federal and state protections for job applicants who may have a criminal record. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides some protections for people with criminal records. Similarly, job applicants have rights under North Carolina and federal laws for misused criminal background checks, and ones that contain inaccurate information.
Call Hancock Law Firm If You Need Criminal Defense Assistance
A criminal conviction can be a lifelong burden. If you or a loved one is facing criminal prosecution or has been the victim of the misuse of criminal background checks, book an appointment with our experienced criminal defense attorney at the Hancock Law Firm to discuss how we can help you with your situation.