How Criminal Background Checks Impact Pennsylvanians

June 2, 2020

How Criminal Background Checks Impact Pennsylvanians

We know that if you are charged or convicted of a crime in Pennsylvania, a record of that arrest or conviction will likely exist forever unless you have gone through the criminal record expungement process. But for those who do not, having a criminal background can greatly alter your life. At Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano, we will work with you so you understand just what this means for your future.

Types of Background Checks

When you are applying for a job, you may be asked to undergo a background check. While many think that a background check is just one database, the reality is that federal, state, and local records are all up for review.

  • Federal Criminal Records Search: These searches are encompassing of federal white collar crimes typically and are used for those applying for managerial, executive, and financial positions where a criminal record could impact the terms of employment.
  • National Criminal Database Searches: This type of search allows employers to get a glimpse of a criminal history across a large majority of the more than 3,000 U.S. jurisdictions. These databases must be handled carefully as not all jurisdictions update information as accurately from year to year.
  • State-Level Criminal Records Checks: Much like national searches, state-level databases may have limited information that may provide arrest information but not the results of a trial.
  • Local Criminal Background Checks: Local criminal background checks are often the best source of information for employers as this will give a view of their history while living in one area. 

The problem with all of these background checks is that one does not necessarily encompass the other. Meaning, you may have a federal record but not a local, or vice versa. Employers should practice diligence to ask questions if the record is pertinent to the position being applied for as one background check typically does not tell the full story. In addition, employers may request criminal background checks from all available databases to have that full picture.

Other information included on criminal background checks include:

  • Current and past addresses
  • Marital or divorced status
  • Bankruptcy filing history
  • Felony status or serious driving offenses
  • Specific arrests, convictions, penalties such as prison time, probation, and parole
  • Race
  • Tattoos
  • Hair and eye color
  • Height and weight

Why Are Criminal Checks Used?

After you serve your time or pay your fines, you may feel as though that mark on your record should not follow you for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, in many cases it does. While we know that criminal background checks are used for employment purposes for pertinent positions, criminal background checks are also used for:

  • Rental property
  • Military
  • Security clearance
  • Purchasing firearms
  • Adopting or fostering children
  • Certain types of licenses
  • Purposes related to visas, immigration, naturalization, and international travel
  • Law enforcement purposes

Criminal Background Checks In Pennsylvania– Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano

We know that a criminal record can be damaging to your personal and professional life. That’s why it’s important to know how its presence can impact you, and what types of information these employers may be able to find.

If you have questions about the criminal background check in Pennsylvania or would like to begin the criminal record expungement process, let Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano help. Our lawyers know how to navigate the complicated legal system in Lackawanna County and other nearby counties. Call (570) 348-0776 to arrange a consultation at no charge.

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