December 19th, 2022

Will an Expunged Record Show Up on a Background Check?

Expungement of arrests, charges, and criminal convictions can give you a fresh start. However, if you’re accustomed to being denied employment or housing due to your record, you may be apprehensive about whether an expunged record will still show up on a background check. Our criminal defense lawyers at Gross McGinley, LLP, help clients understand how the Pennsylvania expungement process works and the circumstances in which sealed records may appear on a background check.

What Happens When a Record is Expunged?

In Pennsylvania, when a record is expunged, it is removed from public access and all information is inaccessible. This means expunged records won’t be found during a standard background check run by a potential employer, landlord, volunteer group, or other organizations. Generally, this is also true for records that have been sealed under Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate Law or a governor’s pardon.

However, In some cases, even if the records are sealed or you obtain an expungement, records may be found if you are arrested or involved in a crime in the future. It’s also important to keep in mind that in the internet age, completely erasing your criminal history is challenging. Even if your record is expunged, public information about arrests, charges, or convictions could still be available in an internet search.

Expunged Records May Appear in Certain Types of Background Checks

Although expunged records won’t appear in most background checks, they may show up when an FBI background check is conducted. FBI checks are done when screening candidates for jobs that deal with sensitive information, require security clearances, or involve vulnerable populations. Some jobs that may require an FBI background check include:

  • Teaching or childcare
  • Law enforcement
  • Insurance
  • Banking and finance
  • Casinos
  • Jobs in finance
  • Positions in the federal government

Other scenarios in which expunged or sealed records may appear include certain types of law enforcement searches, when buying a firearm or applying for a carry permit, matters involving immigration, and applications for professional licenses, such as law and medical licenses.

Can FBI Records be Expunged?

When a state court expunges a conviction, in some cases it is also removed from your FBI background check. However, if the FBI does not erase it from their background check, you’ll have to request that it be removed. There are several ways to do this. You may contact the Pennsylvania State Police Operational Records Division and request that they submit updated information about an expunged record to the FBI.

You also may contact the FBI directly, either electronically, or by sending a written request to remove the record. However, it is still at the FBI’s discretion as to whether to remove it or not. It’s vital to ensure that your request is as detailed as possible, so the FBI has all the necessary information to make a decision. Our defense lawyers are well-versed in both state and criminal law, and can help you submit an expungement request to the proper agencies.

Research Your Expungements

If you have expunged records, it’s a good idea to do some research to find out whether they could possibly show up in a background check or internet search. This is particularly important if you plan to apply for a job in law enforcement or obtain a professional license. Our expungement lawyers have the knowledge and resources to conduct exhaustive searches. We can advise you of possible legal remedies for having information about your criminal record removed and assist you with working toward that goal.

Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Pennsylvania

At Gross McGinley, LLP, our criminal defense lawyers are dedicated to helping clients in Pennsylvania understand their rights after expungement. Our collaborative approach enables us to develop creative solutions for clients, regardless of what type of legal challenge they may be facing. If you have questions or concerns about your expunged or sealed records, contact us online or call us at 610-820-5450 to schedule a consultation with an expungement lawyer.

The content found in this resource is for informational reference use only and is not considered legal advice. Laws at all levels of government change frequently and the information found here may be or become outdated. It is recommended to consult your attorney for the most up-to-date information regarding current laws and legal matters.