Sun 19 Nov, 2023 Criminal Defense

Do Arrests Show Up on Background Checks?

Most people arrested for a crime want to know whether the arrest will show up on a background check. A background check that reveals criminal charges can cause problems, from withdrawn job offers to denial of government services.

If you were recently arrested in New York City, contact NYC Criminal Lawyer Cody Warner for a free consultation. He can assess your case to determine the best strategy to get your record clear as soon as possible.

Arrest v. Conviction

An arrest or a conviction can show up on a background check. However, there are differences regarding how long an arrest or conviction will appear on a background check.

Although you are innocent until proven guilty, when you are arrested for an offense, the criminal charge can appear in a background check. That is true even though you have not been convicted of the charge. An arrest charge will remain on your record until the charge is dropped.

If you are convicted of a charge, it will permanently be on your record. However, some charges, like Disorderly Conduct (P.L. 240.20) seal after one year, which means that the public record of the arrest disappears after one year.

Although New York allows you to apply to clear your record after a criminal conviction, the process is very slow and uncertain. You can expect to wait at least 10 years before you can clear a criminal conviction.

Therefore, it’s always better to fight for a clean record before you get a criminal conviction. Convictions are rarely overturned on appeal and waiting 10 years to clear your record is difficult. To be sure, sometimes its more important to take a plea that gives you a criminal record but guarantees that you don’t go to prison. However, it’s always important to do everything possible to preserve a clean record.

If you are facing criminal charges in NYC, contact Cody Warner, P.C. for a free consultation to discuss your options to clear your record.

Arrests that Appear on a Background Check

Not all arrests appear on a background check. For an arrest to appear on a background check, a defendant needs to have been fingerprinted during the arrest process.

When a defendant is fingerprinted, the fingerprints are sent to the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). The DCJS, in turn, creates an entry for the defendant in its database. The entry indicates who was arrested (and that person’s fingerprints) as well as that person’s arrest charges.

Importantly, background checks, which are performed by third-party, private companies, are based on the information those companies obtain from the DCJS. Therefore, if you were arrested but not fingerprinted, then DCJS does not have record of that arrest. In turn, background check agencies would therefore not know about the arrest.

The question, then, becomes whether the charges at issue are fingerprintable offenses. Unfortunately, most criminal charges in New York—like domestic violence, drug possession, and DUI—are fingerprintable offenses.

A good rule of thumb is that if you are charged with an offense under New York’s Penal Law (P.L.), then you were likely fingerprinted, and your arrest would appear in a background check.

However, if you were arrested for violating New York City Administrative Code or an offense not under the Penal Law, then your arrest may not appear in a background check.

Here is a comprehensive list of offenses that are not fingerprintable and therefore will not appear on a background check. If you are charged with one of these offenses, then the arrest should not appear on your background check.

However, if you are charged with a Penal Law offense, then, absent a few exceptions, your arrest likely appears on a background check.

How to Clear Your Record of an Arrest Charge

If you are charged with a crime, then you likely want to get your record cleaned as soon as possible—regardless of whether the charge appears on your background check. The right strategy for clearing your record will depend on the specifics of your case—the charges, the facts, and the stage of your case.

If you want to get your arrest charge dropped as soon as possible, contact NYC criminal lawyer Cody Warner for a free consultation. He can assess your case to determine the best strategy to get your record cleared as soon as possible.