This page will give you an overview of what might happen after record clearance.
To get specific information about what will happen after your record is cleared, contact the public defender or legal aid in the county where the case occurred. You can also read more about the types of record clearance.
Frequently Asked Questions
What shows up on a background check?
There are two types of background checks: commercial background checks and fingerprint-based background checks.
Commercial background checks are done for most employment, housing, etc. Generally, these background checks will detail arrests and convictions that have occurred in the last 7 years. Any cases that you have had ‘dismissed’ and/or sealed should not show up on these background checks. However, certain industries will still have access to these cases, ask an attorney if you have questions about whether your case will show up on a background check.
Fingerprint-based background checks are usually used for jobs that require licenses (for example government, health care, and teaching jobs). These background checks look at your California DOJ RAP sheet or FBI RAP sheet. Fingerprint-based background checks will show more of your conviction history and may show sealed or otherwise cleared convictions.
How can I get a copy of my background check?
You can request a copy of your background check for free from the employer who runs it when you apply for a job, housing, or anything else that requires a background check.
You can also get a copy of your California DOJ RAP sheet which should have all California arrests and convictions that will show up on most fingerprint-based background checks.
Will anyone still be able to see my conviction after record clearance?
If you got your conviction “dismissed” and/or sealed, it will not show up for most commercial background checks.
In most cases, law enforcement and the courts can still see your past convictions, even if they have been cleared. This means that if you ever get stopped by law enforcement, they can still see your convictions. Judges can also use any cleared convictions for any future sentencing purposes.
Additionally, if you are looking to get a license for a particular field (for example teaching, health care, etc.), they may have a background check process that looks at cleared cases. However, many of these licenses also have exemption processes that allow you to still get a license with a conviction. It may be useful to look up the particular requirements for the license you’re looking to receive. Read more about how to apply for licences with cleared convictions.
I got my record cleared but the conviction is still showing up on a background check. Why?
Unfortunately, sometimes a cleared conviction still shows up on a background check. It usually takes at least 90 days for your record to be fully cleared by both local courts and the California DOJ. If the agencies that hold a copy of your record have not fully reflected changes to your conviction(s), when background check companies look up your case(s), they may still show up. If you want to see if your record has been fully updated, you can get a copy of your CA DOJ RAP sheet or your local court records by going to the courthouse.
If your conviction is still showing up after being cleared by all government agencies, you can request that the background check company removes the cleared conviction(s). It is best to find out the company that conducted the background check. Most background check companies have a process where you can contest a case that is showing up. You should always keep a copy of the order that the judge signed at the outcome of your case as this can be used to ensure background check companies take cleared cases off of your background check
If you are still having trouble with cleared cases showing up on a background check, we suggest contacting the public defender or legal aid.
Can I say that I have never been convicted of anything on a job application after record clearance?
California has a law called “Ban the Box” which means that employers are not allowed to ask you about any convictions before they give you a conditional job offer. Additionally, in general, most employers cannot ask about expunged convictions. If they do, you can file a lawsuit against the employer.
If they ask you about your conviction after offering you a conditional job offer, they must make an assessment about whether your conviction is relevant to the type of job you’ve applied for. If they take back the job offer after running a background check, they must provide written notice as to why. You then have 5 days to contest their decision.
Read more about your rights and how to talk to employers about convictions.
My conviction is still showing up online. Can I get rid of it somehow?
Even though you have gotten your record cleared, it may still show up online through google searches or news articles. It can be difficult to remove these online articles because there is very little regulation on how to do so. We suggest contacting the website that has your conviction online to ask them to take it down. There are also certain organizations that may help you take down online instances of your record.