Have you or someone you know recently been or soon will be the subject of a Criminal History Background check? If you have applied for a job or intend to volunteer for your child’s school programs, soccer, baseball or other community activity you more likely than not will be or have been required to submit to a Criminal History Background Check. These checks are meant to protect children, adults and the community. It is important to know that someone who is going to be in our schools, working for you, your company or interacting with the community on your behalf is a safe, sound citizen. No one wants a child molester or convicted felon interacting with our children or handling an organization’s accounts.
Pennsylvania’s Criminal History Records and Information Act (CHRIA) created a repository of information of arrest records and convictions of all persons who come in contact with our criminal justice system. State wide computerization of these records has occurred. As a result, a real problem has arisen having to do with these checks. Good people who years ago had a minor indiscretion are caught up in this background check process.
Here is a good example of that problem. Mrs. Jones, now 35 with 2 children in elementary school, had a lively college life. She had been issued citations at age 20 for partying too hard, perhaps too much alcohol, a bit of marijuana, perhaps a charge of disorderly conduct. She accepted the ARD, which is a non-trial disposition program or maybe the officer dropped the charge when she appeared before the local magistrate. Nevertheless, the citations and non-conviction shows on her record today. The disclosure can have an adverse impact on Mrs. Jones, her reputation, her family and the community organization or job. A Criminal History Background Check can cause a great deal of trouble for someone in this situation. Fortunately there is something she can do.
Taking steps to have the non-conviction erased before the Criminal History Background Check occurs is an excellent step you can take to protect yourself. A petition must be filed in the court of common pleas where the offense citation was issued; a judge will rule on the motion after hearing from the person and the district attorney and other law enforcement agencies. Then obtain the order to expunge and to have it properly served on all criminal justice agencies prior to a Criminal History Background Check occurs protects you and your reputation.
If you have a conviction on your record this cannot be expunged until you are in your Seventies; however you have specific rights to prevent you from being discriminated against for certain convictions; your prospective employer may not be aware of the law in this respect. You will want to know your rights concerning the job for which you are applying.
For more information on Criminal Background Check, expunging arrest records or the law concerning new hires and criminal convictions, call our office for an appointment 215-822-2728 or email us at Schroeder@jrlaw.org.
Visit us online at https://www.jrlaw.org/.