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Will an arrest show up on an employers background check prior to any conviction? If so, how many days until it shows up?

Jackson, MS |

I was arrested 2 nights ago by accident. Police were called to the house because 2 neighbors were in a bad fight and by the time the cops got there, they had driven off. The dispatcher failed to tell them that it was the neighbors, and not me and my husband. The police officer was very cocky and would not hear anything I had to say. I have no prior arrest history at all, nor does my husband. I am getting a new job in finance and they are doing tomorrow a background check and I hope this does not show up. I plead not guilty as I did not do anything wrong so I should not be convicted until October 2011. I now feel different about the "system" and who it actually protects.

Thank you for the information, it is greatly appreciated. Our court dates are not until October and I will be planning on hiring a local attorney to assist with this sometime in May when I can afford to get this taken care of.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Best answer

    I agree with the previous answer provided and would add the following. Every agency is different as to the timing it takes from being arrest to the time it actually shows up on any background report. Also, all background reports turn up different results. Depending on what company is used for the report determines how much information is provided to the employer. Based upon the information provided, there is only two to three days from arrest to background check; therefore, it may not be enough time to put all the necessary information into the system for it to show up on the report.

  2. When you're arrested on misdemeanor or felony charges, police departments will insert the information into the NCIC database (the national criminal history repository) when you are fingerprinted. Any background check will show charges -- regardless of whether you were convicted or not. For now, it should only show "disposition unreported", but a potential employer will see the charges.

    You need to speak with an attorney to determine if you have a valid defense to the case and whether you may be eligible to get the record expunged.

  3. I concur with attorney Kevin Stewart's answer from above.

    I will add that there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of privately owned and operated "background investigation" agencies out there. Just run a quick Google search for "background search" or something to that effect and you will see for yourself. An arrest is a matter of public record - but knowing how to actually look that up is something that can sometimes be difficult. Unfortunately, there is little to nothing that can be done to prevent any of these private companies from acquiring this information, if they seek it out. However, as Kevin stated, the time frame that you have referenced here makes it unlikely that these types of agencies can "put it all together" prior to your employer's background check. Having said that, if (and I stress IF) your employer does its own "background check" and knows how to properly seek out an arrest docket in your jurisdiction, then the employer may learn of your incident.

    Finally, please note that some media outlets (for example, newspapers) will publish an arrest docket. The Madison County Herald calls theirs the "For The Record" section. They are legally able to do this under the First Amendment protections.

    Lance O. Mixon
    Flowood, MS

    This communication is for informational purposes only, and does not establish any attorney-client relationship, pursuant to the applicable Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct.

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