Do Pending Charges Show Up on a Background Check?

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Do Pending Charges Show Up on a Background Check?

Background checks are a necessity when an employer is looking to hire someone. As an employer, you know very well that a background check will return criminal records on the individual. But do pending charges show up on a background check? This can also be a bother to someone who has just applied for a job and is awaiting results on a background lookup process.

A pending charge is a current charge in a court of law for a criminal offence that is yet to be finalized which no sentence has been imposed. Usually, there is an arrest, and then a charge. A pending charge is a charge that is under review. This means that the prosecutor is still to decide the charge. It may have information added to it, be kept as it is, reduced or even discarded. A pending charge is not regarded as official.

Pending Charges and Background Checks

It is common for pending charges to show on criminal background checks. A criminal record check has details such as misdemeanors, convicted felonies, pending charges and all incarceration history. A pending charge is not proof that the individual actually committed the crime or has been convicted of it, unlike an arrest record.

Even if so, just because the case is still ongoing, and a conviction is still a possibility, then the pending charge information can be reported in a criminal background check. Employers are permitted to consider pending charges when looking to hire someone.

Some states do not permit the reporting or use of pending charges. An example can be Kansas, which allows pending felonies to show on background check but not pending misdemeanors.

County Court Records and State Records

Pending charges normally are recorded with the county court. If the person who is conducting the background check searches from the county level (county criminal records search), then the records will show up.

It usually takes time for the records to reach the state level. It maybe weeks and sometimes months before these records get there.

It is also possible for state records to give a charge as a pending charge even after it was resolved and dismissed at county level, thus rendering them irrelevant. The only way to find the real pending charges records on someone is to run both state and county criminal records searches.

Hiring Someone with a Pending Charge

Dealing with pending charges as an employer can be tricky at times as you are dealing with cases that can go both ways (conviction or dismissal). A common tendency for employers in such a situation is to freeze the hiring until the matter is resolved. Take for example someone who is looking to work in a financial institution with a pending money laundering charge. The financial institution can consider hiring someone else or waiting for the pending charge to be sorted out.

Employers may consider not to hire someone who they think is a risk to the business. For example, if the job involves driving, hiring someone with a DUI charge is a risk.

The information above gives a clue on the question, do pending charges show up on a background check. There are many factors that influence the answer to the question as shown above.

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