If you have a criminal record, it can be difficult to truly hide your past from employers and other inquiring eyes. Expungement is one solution that allows your criminal record to be wiped from the public database, giving you a fresh start, so you can move on with your life. Yet, even when expungement works, your criminal records can still live on in digital warehouse in the private sector for a period of time. Now, a lawsuit has been filed to fight expunged criminal records from showing up in background checks.
When a criminal record is expunged, it is said to no longer exist – therefore, individuals are free to obtain employment, housing, and education unhindered by their past. But consumer advocates say that background check companies can still pull up these records – even once they have been expunged.
Background-Checking Agencies Face Heat
Since 2009, the Federal Trade Commission has brought eight cases against some of these background-checking agencies. They claim these companies violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by reporting information that has already been expunged. Private plaintiffs have also filed lawsuits in recent years claiming that they have been discriminated against and denied opportunities because their expunged criminal records were revealed. Some of these companies have paid millions to plaintiffs, yet their actions continue.
Consumer advocates believe that it is the responsibility of the screening companies to ensure that the data they uncover is still accurate and conveys the most up-to-date information on file. This may mean going one step further and going to a courthouse or state agency to verify the records.
How Do Expunged Records Get Exposed?
Oakland expungement lawyers believe that the appearance of expunged records is based on timing. For example: an expunged record may be reported after a record is expunged but before the background-checking company's annual purchase of updated data. This gap in technology can significantly and adversely affect an individual's life.
One encounter with the law should not derail your entire life. If you have been convicted of a crime, it is important to have your criminal record expunged as quickly as possible. The longer you wait to have your record expunged, the harder it is to obtain employment and housing. In fact, many employers will not hire someone with a criminal record – regardless of how long ago the infraction occurred.
Have a criminal record? Find out if you are eligible for expungement. Our Oakland criminal attorney can review your case today when you call (510) 907-6600.