Q:

How do you pass a criminal background check?

A:

The only way to pass a criminal background check is either to have a clean criminal record or to have existing criminal records expunged. Any convictions that appear in state or county public records can show up on a background check.

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An individual convicted of misdemeanor crimes may be eligible to have his criminal records expunged, which means that they are permanently sealed. In particular, drug and juvenile convictions may be easier to expunge than other types of misdemeanors. Once a criminal record is successfully sealed, it is no longer available to potential employers conducting background checks.

Eligibility for expungement varies depending on state and county laws. One thing many jurisdictions have in common is that they don't allow expungement of felony convictions. In all cases, an individual must check to see if his offense is eligible for expungement. If so, there may also be a waiting period before paperwork can be filed.

Expunging a conviction involves filling out the necessary paperwork and filing it with the appropriate court. This can be done without a lawyer. Legally expunging a record does not mean that criminal convictions are completely erased from all records, as they can still turn up in searches conducted by state licensing boards or law enforcement. The highest level of expungement is a Certificate of Actual Innocence, which essentially validates a person's innocence of any wrongdoing.

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