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  1. #1

    Lightbulb Will an Expunged or Sealed Record Show Up on a FBI Background Check

    My question involves criminal records for the state of: NYC

    One of the things that has bothered me and has been a source of much confusion pertains to the question of sealed and expunged records appearing on FBI background checks for employment. There is a lot of misinformation on the internet and based on my personal experience I've realized that many people believe that the FBI and the FBI background checks (CJIS) will reveal sealed and expunged records to employers. I argue that this is untrue based on my personal experience as I've been able to have my sealed records omitted from my FBI rap sheet which is sent to employers.

    In 2007, I was charged with a misdemeanor and this was reduced to a disorderly conduct which is a violation in NYC. Under rule 160.55 in NYC, after a one year conditional discharge period, I was eligible for the 160.55 partial sealing and this was supposed to happen automatically but more often than not errors happen and the sealing order may happen at the local level, but the state and FBI never catch wind of this.

    My goal was to prevent my record from appearing on any state or FBI rap sheet for employment purposes. I obtained my FBI rap sheet (if one can spend $50 to $75 they can get a copy of their FBI rap sheet within a week using FBI approved channelers vs. 3-4 months if one requests one directly from the FBI themselves) and saw that my NYC record appeared. So I decided to test if I could remove this from my FBI rap sheet by having the sealing done properly. I got a copy of the sealing order from the local courthouse in NYC and then sent this to NY State's records dispute department in Albany along with a challenge form and request to properly seal the record on my state rap sheet and also to request that the FBI do the same.

    Once Albany sent me a notice in the mail that the sealing was done at the state level (I also received an updated copy of my state rap sheet showing that my record was sealed at the state level) I decided to check my FBI rap sheet again. I got another copy of my FBI rap sheet and VOILA! My record didn't appear anymore. The FBI rap sheet I received is the same exact one that employers will receive and this includes any of the private sector employers who use FBI criminal background checks.

    So the conclusion? The FBI does honor sealing and expungements, but due to the volume of records they handle daily there are errors that occur like in my case and as long as one is proactive about fixing them then it can be done. My understanding is that the only time the FBI will release a rap sheet with sealed and expunged info is when the employer is law enforcement or gov't position requiring high level security clearances.

    Can we confirm 1) the FBI rap sheets released to employers will exclude sealed and expunged info as long as the sealing/expungement was done properly and 2) that the FBI will exclude properly sealed and expunged info to all employers except those in law enforcement and special gov't jobs requiring high level security clearances?

    It would be great to settle this issue once and for all because I know there are people out there who are concerned that their sealed / expunged records may appear on a FBI background check when it shouldn't if the sealing was done properly. If we were able to qualify for the sealing or expungement then we deserve to be free from any potential burdens associated with having a criminal record of any sort when seeking a place in the work force.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Will an Expunged or Sealed Record Show Up on a FBI Background Check

    If you have read this forum, you should know that we've gone over this issue many times. As state court orders do not bind the FBI, the FBI's removing information from its files based on state orders that expunge or seal a record is entirely discretionary. While the FBI generally will respect such an order, and may be responsive to a request that it update its records if it is found to be reporting sealed or expunged criminal records, it is under no obligation to do so. In some cases it may choose not to act on a state order, and the defendant will have no further recourse.

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