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An Ex-Felon’s Guide—What to Know About Criminal Background Checks

With most, if not all, employment background checks, a criminal background check is generally done to investigate a person's criminal past, if any, before hiring, promoting, or receiving a person's services. Such background checks may reach the county, state, federal, and even national records, depending on the company's type of criminal background check. 

This type of check is done to help employers assess whether the individual they are interested in working with is trustworthy or will become a threat to their team. In other words, it will affect the individual getting checked their chance of getting hired and more!

That being said, here's more information about criminal background checks to help you understand what is being looked for when you undergo one:

What exactly is a criminal background check?

A criminal background check is a type of check about a person's criminal history. It can be done on a county, state, federal, or national court database to pull out criminal history, including any felony and misdemeanor convictions. It can even show any ongoing criminal case the individual is involved in!

How long does a criminal background check take?

Some criminal background checks can last just a few hours, while others may take up to three days. The total time taken will depend on the infrastructure that's implemented. This means that if the whole process is digitized, it is going to take a lot faster than one that still relies on physical documents!

What information are employers looking for in the check?

What employers will be looking for will depend on the goals they have. This goal is generally based on the type of business they are in and the position they are trying to fill. 

With that in mind, the type of search they make will bring out different types of information. For example, a county criminal court record search will search for county court cases, such as charges and dispositions. On the other hand, a nationwide criminal database will pull out state and local crimes in different jurisdictions!

What may show up during a criminal background check?

Criminal background checks can reveal a number of things. It can include active warrants, infractions, incarceration as an adult, felony, and many other types of criminal cases. Even some arrests that did not end with a conviction may still appear, especially if they have occurred within the previous seven years. 

However, some of this information may be excluded from the search depending on the company's goal and the guidelines they follow, such as the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) guidelines.


Through all of this, you may have one thing in your mind: can I get hired if something pops up in your criminal background? You certainly can! While the opportunities you have access to may be limited, you can still definitely find a job even with a criminal history. All you need to do is demonstrate that you have changed, that you are working hard to be a good citizen with no plans to ever go back to your criminal past! 

With that, do not let any turn-downs affect you. It isn't the end of the world, and you will find an employer who can see you as a person who has changed for the better.

Fallen Valor is a business directory for ex-felons, offering opportunities to those with a criminal history to start life on a better foot. If you would like to win a 2022 Chevy Corvette Convertible check out our giveaway!