How far back can an employer check criminal history on a prospective employee?

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How far back can an employer check criminal history on a prospective employee?

In MI.

Asked on January 28, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately there is no time limit for how far back an employer can check into a criminal record.  Some go back 20 years or more.  However, under certain circumstances a criminal record history can be "expunged".  This means that it can be cleared or at least sealed from public view.  Therefore, for most private sector jobs, your criminal record will not show up on an employment background check.  However, eligibility for expungement (setting a criminal conviction aside) depends on the offense charged.  In MI, the rules regarding eligibility can be found at the following site:  http://courts.michigan.gov/scao/selfhelp/intro/criminal/setaside_help.htm

If you can neither seal or expunge your record, perhaps you can get a "Relief From Civil Disabilities" (or MI's equivalent).  Such a certificate will not clear your record but makes it so that your your record cannot be held against you for purposes of employment and/or licensing.

You should consult directly with a criminal law attorney on your area as to your specific situation.


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