Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), convictions can appear on background check reports regardless of when they occurred. However, some states have limited the scope of conviction reporting to seven years, including California, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, New York, New Hampshire, and Washington.
Under the FCRA, non-convictions are reportable for seven years from the file date and can appear on a background report for seven years.
However, some states entirely prevent non-convictions from being reported. These states include California, Kentucky, New York, and New Mexico.
A "non-conviction" could include dismissed cases, not-guilty verdicts, alternative or deferred adjudications (programs that result in dismissed charges if the defendant completes certain conditions), and nolle prosequi (formal abandonment of prosecution).
Other state- and industry-specific considerations to be aware of include:
- Marijuana Misdemeanors: Non-felony (misdemeanor) convictions for marijuana possession can only be reported for two years from the disposition date.
- Transportation Networks (TNC) or Rideshare Companies: Background checks for TNCs/rideshare companies can report convictions beyond seven years, regardless of when they occurred.
Maryland: Background checks for TNCs/rideshare companies must look back through the "entire adult history" of candidates, including convictions older than seven years.
Kentucky: Pending criminal cases are never reportable.