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Will my arrest (without charges) be visible to future employers?

Seattle, WA |

If I am arrested and held in jail for 72 hours, but not charged and they let me go, will this be visible to future employers in a background check? If so, will they be able to see that I was not charged? Also, in this case, if a job application asks if I was "convicted", does that encompass being arrested and put in jail or can I just say that I have no convictions?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Best answer

    If you were finger-printed in connection with the arrest, it is likely that the arrest info (including the charge on which the arrest was made) is in the state and FBI criminal records data-base. Those records will show that no charges were brought. Not all potential employers have access to arrest records and many are prohibited by state law from asking about arrests not leading to conviction. Be very exact in reading and answering specific questions on job applications. You can order up a copy of your own criminal history records from both your state's data-base and the FBI.

    My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.


  2. There is a huge difference between being arrested, charged, and convicted. You can check the court records online on the Washington Courts website. http://dw.courts.wa.gov/index.cfm?fa=home.home

    [In accordance with the Avvo community guidelines, this communication does not constitute "legal advice", nor does it form an attorney-client relationship.]


  3. Private employers will only be provided "conviction data" by the Washington State Patrol Identification section. This is the typical "background check."
    However, some employers hire a private firm to check court records, which can show charges that did not result in conviction.
    The term "convicted" means having been found guilty by a court, or having entered a plea of guilty. Clearly an arrest, or even being charged, is not a "conviction."

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