How Far Back Does a Background Check Go in Arizona?

Employers, weapons dealers, the Department of Motor Vehicles, financial lenders, landlords, and individuals may request and conduct background checks before making decisions in Arizona. A background check may look into the person’s criminal, employment, driver, or another history for black marks that may impact the investigator’s decision. As someone with a criminal history in Arizona, find out how far back most background checks go to better understand your odds of getting a job or other type of approval.

Arizona Background Check Laws

In Arizona, background checks can serve to confirm Social Security numbers, confirm home addresses, check driving records, obtain a credit score report, and provide an overview of criminal history. An Arizona background check can surface criminal record information from different states, not just in Arizona. Crimes you committed in a different state, therefore, could appear on your Arizona background check.

The information an investigator requests during a background check depends on the point of the investigation. Someone checking the background of a caregiver job applicant, for example, may express most interest in a criminal history and Social Security check, while a landlord may need credit and employment information. Most investigators will provide a list of information they will be checked prior to conducting the background investigation.

There are no limits to who can request a background check in Arizona. Individuals and non-professionals can access background information on a person through many different online resources, often for a fee. Neither state nor federal law requires someone to have a badge or be an employer to request a background check. However, the information available may have limits a professional investigator can surpass.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It governs background checks throughout the nation. The FCRA only legalizes background checks of an individual’s past seven years – although states have the option to pass their own statutes permitting checks that extend further back. Many states expand the seven-year rule when checking the backgrounds of people applying for a child or senior caregiver positions. Arizona, however, abides by the rules of the FCRA. This means background checks in the state won’t go back further than the seven previous years.

In Maricopa County, a criminal background check will look at the past seven years, providing information relating to convictions and deferred judgments. A standard criminal background check will search the Superior and Justice of the Peace courts, coming up with a felony as well as misdemeanor cases naming the individual as a defendant. A typical Maricopa County background check will also scan state sexual offender lists in all 50 states, as well as a Most Wanted search.

Most background checks take one to four business days to complete, although some may take longer if they involve court procedures. A court has the right to request other records in addition to standard checks as needed, but this may delay the results. Anyone can order a Maricopa County Criminal Search for the price of $24.95. Other counties in the state have similar systems in place for criminal background checks, available to individuals, employers, and others. You may need varying information about the individual to start an investigation depending on your county and the types of records you request.

Get More Information About Your Criminal Background

A criminal conviction can follow you for the rest of your life, appearing on background checks and making it difficult or impossible to find employment or housing. A lawyer may be able to help you clear your record or at least make it harder for employers to uncover criminal information about you, through pleas to the courts after you do your time and go a certain number of years without additional convictions. Speak to a lawyer about your criminal history and expungement options in Arizona today.