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What Is an Open Felony on a Background Check?

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Felons leaving prison and preparing to resume their life know how difficult the road is.

In looking for a job, one of the biggest challenges is the background check. Wondering what that check will show.

This blog post will address the question of what an open felony on a background check is.

  • Reasons for a Background Check
  • What Does a Background Check Show?
  • Open Felony on a Background Check
  • Dealing with an Open Felony
  • Supporting a Felon with an Open Felony on a Background Check


Reasons for a Background Check

Background checks are important for employers to conduct for several reasons.

  • An applicant’s resume may contain incorrect information.
  • Different states have different laws regarding background checks.
  • The laws may deal with arrests, convictions, and pending cases.

What Does a Background Check Show?

A background check does more than look into a person’s criminal history.  A background check provides information about education, employment history, civil records, and references.

Information requested to be able to conduct a background includes an individual’s full name, date of birth, and Social Security Number.

Background searches can rely on a database and reveal information like criminal history, credit history, name, address history, national security lists, sex offender registry, and SSN verification.

A live search can also include county, state, and federal criminal history.

A criminal background check typically reveals the following information:

  • Convictions of felonies, misdemeanors, and sex crimes
  • Current home address and phone number as well as those within the past ten years
  • Arrests and court records (Dockets, orders, decrees, judgments)
  • Warrants
  • Incarceration records
  • Federal and state tax liens
  • Federal and civil judgments
  • Federal and state bankruptcies
  • Age and date of birth
  • Any alias’ and maiden names
  • Marriages and divorces

Open Felony on a Background Check

Of course felony convictions show up on a background check.  Many things will show up.

Pending cases do show up on a background check.  However, it does make a difference on the type of pending charges, which state the crime was committed in, and the type of search that is done.

Each state has different laws about the kind of pending charges that show up.

In most states, such as California, all pending charges, felony or misdemeanor, will show up.  In other states like Arkansas, pending felony charges will be revealed but not misdemeanors.

It does make a difference how thorough the search is.  If it is only a county search, then pending charges from a different county won’t show up.

Most employers will do a deeper search than just that county.  Still, if a felon has lived in another state, pending charges from that state may not be revealed.

Dealing with an Open Felony

It can be difficult for employers to know what to make of any pending charges found through the background check.

Then, it can be challenging because many job applications ask only if someone has been convicted of a felony.

So, if that is the case and an employer does a background check, and it shows a pending charge, what do they do with that?  It can be confusing.

Employers should consider several points when an open felony is found.

  • The nature of the offense
  • Length of time since the offense
  • The nature of the job being applied for

Even if a pending charge does show up, the obtained information may not be correct or the charge could be an isolated incident.

Employers need to consider these issues in making any decision regarding an open felony.

Felons can consult with an attorney if there are any questions about an open felony from the background check.

Those completing an application may not be lying if the application asks only about convictions.

For felons, the challenge is in knowing the appropriate way to complete these types of questions.  If they answer the exact question about convictions, then a pending charge does show up, are they lying?

In some instances, there may be an old charge that has never been properly disposed of.  There may not be a conviction or an acquittal.

Felons who undergo a background check when applying for a job should be prepared for the results that could show an open felony.

It is important to be honest about the open felony.  Lying about it will only confirm the impression many employers already have of felons as being dishonest and untrustworthy.

Lying would be against the new honest life they are trying to establish for themselves.

There is a free guide which will reveal tips for success in getting a fresh start after prison.

Supporting a Felon with an Open Felony on a Background Check

For families of felons who have an open felony, encourage them to be honest and ready to answer any questions about open charges.

Being prepared for these types of issues when applying for a job and having a background check can prevent problems later on.

Be there for them and be honest with them in this situation.  Help them tell the truth and give themselves the best opportunity for success in their new life.

After all, honesty is the best policy for all concerned.

So what do you think about this blog post about what an open felony on a background check is?  Have you or someone you know had an open felony?  What was that like and were they successful in dealing with it?   Please tell us in the comments below.

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