Reporting Disclosed Criminal Records — Non-Convictions

Previously, we emphasized the limitations that several states and the District of Columbia place on reporting criminal convictions even though a job applicant discloses the conviction during the application process. What about limitations on reporting disclosed criminal records that do not result a conviction? Criminal records of non-convictions include: 

  • Arrest record (no charges filed) 
  • Dismissed charges 
  • Not guilty verdicts 
  • Deferred prosecution (no plea entered, and charges dismissed if conditions met) 
  • Nolle prosequi or nolle prosse (not prosecuted) 

Although the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) permits convictions to be reported regardless of when the conviction occurred, the FCRA limits the time for reporting non-convictions. Records of non-convictions are reportable for seven years from the earliest file date for the record and can appear on a background report for seven years. After seven years, the record cannot be reported unless the candidate is or will be earning more than $75k annually.

The FCRA seven-year rule applies in all states except California, Kentucky, New York, and New Mexico. These states prohibit reporting any records non-convictions, regardless of date of the record. California, New York, and New Mexico provide an exception for records of pending criminal cases. 

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