Having a felony on your record can lead to some major setbacks when looking for a job. Many potential employers run background checks before they hire someone new, and if a felony shows up on the record it could mean the job offer will not stand. It is essential that each person knows what is going to show up on their record so that they can be upfront with a potential employer to avoid wasting everyone’s time if the job won’t work out. Knowing what is on your record is only possible if you understand how long a felony shows up.
When a person is arrested for a felony but not convicted, the felony arrest shows on your record for only seven years. A Non-conviction is any instance where the felony is dismissed, there is a refusal to prosecute, deferred adjudication, or when there is a pre-trial diversion. Any other instance when a person has been arrested for a felony but not convicted will also show up on a background check for seven years.
On the other hand, when a person has been convicted of a felony, the length of time the felony will show up on the record depends on the state the felon lives in. In California, Colorado, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Texas, and Washington, a felony will not show up on a record after seven years no matter what. In every other state, however, the information is present on the record forever. It all depends on how far back the requester of the background check wants to go, but they are able to obtain information regarding any felony convictions during your entire lifetime. Most employers only go back 5-10 years on a background check, though.
Expunged or Sealed Records
If a felon has their record expunged or sealed by the time the background check is requested, a felony will not show up on the record whether there was a conviction or not.