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Do pending charges that you have not gone to court for yet show up on a background check?

Pasadena, CA |

If I was arrested for burglary and released on O.R. with a later court date, will this pending charge show up on a background check?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Probably not, depending on who is doing the backround check and how long it has been since the arrest. If it is a governmental agency, perhaps so, as they have more ready access to information and it is more likely that it will show up. If it is your potential new landlord, doubtful. Only convictions should be available to the general public. On the other hand, certain government positions and various licensing agencies have mandatory reporting requirements and do not only rely on periodic records checks. In other words, you would have to report an arrest for certain charges yourself.

    So it depends on the specifics of your situation. Consult with an attorney for more specific advise.


  2. The answer is "it depends."

    It depends on who is doing the background check, what sources they check and by law what they are entitled to use.

    For example, arrests that didn't lead to a conviction cannot be used against you, but a potential employer can ask about pending cases.

    Because you were arrested (and presumably booked), there will be an entry on your record for the arrest.


  3. Employers generally cannot ask about arrests or charges that didn't result in a conviction. However, they CAN ask about pending cases where you are on bail or O.R.

    If the charges haven't been filed yet, a private background company may not find them. However, if a job application asks about pending cases and you lie about this court date, you're likely to get fired when they find out.

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