1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Default background checks

    would something on my background that happened 7 years ago hurt my chances? it says on the application to list all contacts with police or courts, but if i get a expungment do these have to be listed too. it says that criminal records go away, but if it's not a public record how can they see it? and i'm pretty sure a expungment takes care of that. anyone help here?

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2004


    If your offense was expunged in the state you are trying to get hired on.....there may be a way for the expungement to come up. It seems unfair because an expunged record is supposed to be erased pretty much, but if it is in the same state you may be found out.

    I do know of folks (several ) who have felony convictions as minors and have had those records expunged and have been able to still pass FBI background checks and other Police Background Checks to become cops , firemen & paramedics??

    You are always better off to be truthfull when applying to become a public servant but my own opinion is that if you did something stupid ( just once ) as a minor...you should not have to be held down for the rest of your life and be held back from a role to protect and serve the public if that is what your heart desires .

    I would say that if it happened as a minor and was expunged I would probably not divulge it if it were me personally. Do not go talking about it though to even your closest companions or it will bite you in the *** down the road for sure. Good Luck !!!

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Default Background Expunged

    Background Expunged

    This is the only information we have on this subject at this time. It applies to California but may contain information that could get you started. Please do not e-mail me asking about your situation and how you can get it expunged. As Bonified recommended, contact the referral service for your local bar association for an attorney who could specialize in this field.

    First many departments state on the applications not to list offenses that have been expunged per penal code 1203.4 of the California legal code.

    Although this does not actually seal the file and is always there, the charge is erased, zip, gone for all intents and purposes. If a potential employer runs a criminal check with DOJ, nothing will appear.

    This law is only in place for people with one time offenses. My former partner was charged by his ex wife of molesting their child so that she could get custody.

    This is a long story, but after two trials that ended in mistrials, he was forced into bankruptcy & plead to misdemeanor registerable sex offense to get this night mare over.

    Three years later he was able to get the charge expunged and I am glad to say he is a firefighter in Northern California.

    The key is to never lie, but if a person's charge is expunged, he is released of all penalties and disabilities pertaining to a crime and is not required to ever list the offense again.

    We all remember LAPD Officer Mark Fuhrman of the OJ trial. He was convicted of a Felony and one year ago he was able to get his charge expunged and now has a clean record and is permitted to carry a concealed weapon again.

    Hope this helps!


    Subject: Expunged Record of Conviction Defined

    Here is the Penal Code Section that is being addressed. If you have questions, visit the State Law
    Page at:

    Here is a summary for an adult conviction - I have done this and now I work on a Fire Department. You only get one chance, this is it. You must list a "yes" response to any question asked on any application regarding past arrests. If the app asks about convictions, consult with your attorney
    and/or human resources, or a labor attorney.

    Technically an expunged record clears the conviction
    off the records, however, it may show up. I almost lost my job because I thought I did not have to answer in the affirmative, I told the Chief how & why I had answered "no", and he appreciated that fact - so much so that he challenged Human Resources and hired against their advice and that of the Police Background Investigator. Consider your answer carefully.

    Some apps ask only if you have a conviction (Misd or Felony) - with expungement you have no conviction, however, it still may show up on the fingerprint check and you will have to defend it, in most cases it is sufficient cause to end the process - & you're out!

    If the app states do not list expunged records, then do not list the conviction.

    Second: If your record is a misdemeanor - the DOJ will purge your record after 10 years. If your record is a felony arrest with a misdemeanor conviction through plea or plea bargain, your record will indicate the felony arrest forever regardless of the expungement. If your arrest is a felony, with a felony conviction, the record will show and is not purged regardless of the court's actions.

    GOOD LUCK> Use good sense, and spend a few bucks with an attorney or expert - your answer is the key to getting a job. A conviction will not bar you from a job, your attitude, ability to communicate, and remain objective (not defensive), will get you the badge. I got mine and was able to prove my worth, and for the Background Investigator - a year later he told me he was wrong about his judgement of my case, we are good friends now and the Chief was right, no one would ever challenge his decision again.

    Penal Code 1203.4a. (a) Every defendant convicted of a misdemeanor and not granted probation shall, at any time after the lapse of one year from the date of pronouncement of judgment, if he or she has fully complied with and performed the sentence of the court, is not then serving a sentence for any offense and is not under charge of commission of any crime and has, since the pronouncement of judgment, lived an honest and upright life and has conformed to and obeyed the laws of the land, be permitted by the court to withdraw his or her plea of guilty or nolo contendere and enter a plea of
    not guilty; or if he or she has been convicted after a plea of not guilty, the court shall set aside the verdict of guilty; and in either case the court shall thereupon dismiss the accusatory pleading against such defendant, who shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he has been convicted, except as provided in Section 12021.1 of this code or Section 13555 of the Vehicle Code.

    Then this update from John:

    Hi Capt. Bob,

    You have an article on expungements (PC 1203.4) that is incorrect. Whatgives? Someone has given you some incorrect information. E.g., "If a potential employer runs a criminal check with DOJ, nothing will appear."Contre my friend, this is not true. If a potential employer runs a criminal check with the DOJ, the conviction will appear, annotated with the phrase(similar) "Case dismissed pursuant to 1203.4."

    Good luck and be careful; your reputation is at stake.

    Let me know if I can be of assistance. John


    What is your opinion on what to do if the application DOES NOT state list all conviction even if they have been expunged. Do you recommend the candidates still list them.

    Hi Bob,

    No, I recommend that the applicant answer "No" if the application fails to
    ask, yet it would be far and few between to find an application that does
    not ask, less McDonalds and such. But the applicant must answer "Yes" in
    regards to any question for public office, licensure by any state or local
    agency, or for contracting with the California State Lottery.

    California state law is explicit on this. California Labor Code Section
    432.7 explains that an employer must not discriminate against an applicant
    for a prior arrest that did not result in a conviction. Under Penal Code
    Section 1203.4, the defendant's plea or verdict of guilty is set aside by
    the judge and the conviction is dismissed. This means the defendant is no
    longer guilty and there is no conviction, but the record continues to exist.
    The DOJ receives the order of dismissal and makes an annotation at the end
    of the defendant's record. So when you look at a defendant's record, all of
    the arrest and conviction information will still exist, plus the court's
    order of dismissal. The records should reflect something similar to
    "Conviction set aside and case dismissed pursuant to 1203.4."

    There are times when an applicant must decide whether to disclose his
    conviction regardless of law. This is a personal choice and can be done
    either on the application or in the interview. The applicant might answer
    "Yes" to a conviction-on an application-but then disclose the conviction was
    dismissed, usually in an area designated for additional information..

    A consumer reporting agency-background reporting company-will, in all
    likelihood, have access to a defendant's application, but they are under
    Federal law not to disclose the conviction due to the 1203.4 dismissal. But,
    lo and behold, they probably will. In this situation a defendant will have
    to seek legal remedy with the Federal Trade Commission, if desired. I have
    experience dealing with the Labor Board and the Unemployment Board, but I
    cannot say for certain (at this time) the steps to take when dealing with
    the F.T.C.

    If an applicant, applying for a job, is terminated due to the dismissed
    (1203.4 PC) conviction, he has remedy with the State Labor Board. If the
    applicant is denied unemployment compensation due to being terminated for
    his dismissed (1203.4 PC) conviction, he has remedy with the State
    Unemployment Appeals Board. There is precedent with the Unemployment Board.

    I hope this helps a little. Please let me know if I can be of any other
    assistance, for there is much more information on this topic, and many are
    unlearned on it.

    Note: There is a distinction between the definitions of expungement and
    dismissals, yet many do not understand and refer to dismissals (1203.4 PC)
    as expungments.


    The defendant shall be informed of the provisions of this section, either orally or in writing, at the time he or she is sentenced. The defendant may make such application and change of plea in person or by attorney, or by the probation officer authorized in writing; provided, that in any subsequent prosecution of such defendant for any other offense, the prior conviction may be pleaded and proved and shall have the same effect as if relief had not been granted pursuant to this section.

    This subdivision applies to convictions which occurred before as well as those occurring after, the effective date of this section.

    Getting the job of your dreams is like winning the lottery!

    Because, "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    "Captain Bob" www.eatstress.com

    This is the only information we have on this subject at this time. It applies to California but may contain information that could get you started. Please do not e-mail me asking about your situation and how you can get it expunged. As Bonified recommended, contact the referral service for your local bar association for an attorney who could specialize in this field.

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