How Long Does a Criminal Record Last in the USA?

Let’s imagine that you want to hire someone that can help you boost your business functioning. We do understand that many entrepreneurs are not looking only for experts. They also want to be sure that the people they hire can easily adapt to a new way of working. Apart from that, their mentality, habits, and personality need to be matchable with the remaining part of the team. That will ensure a better atmosphere and a higher level of motivation.

It is absolutely normal thing to research the person you plan to hire. You can start the procedure with some basic things such as checking social media. However, it is also recommendable that you expand your research. Neither of the employees will highlight in their resume or CV that they have some sort of criminal past. You have to understand their desire to hide such a thing.

Even if they are the best people in the world, that doesn’t mean you do not have the desire to check their criminal record. But, is the information you find online valid? Do you know how long a criminal record lasts? These are all questions that deserve an in-depth explanation. Most people are not even familiar with the law industry. Because of that, let’s start from the very beginning.

First and Formest – What Is a Criminal Record?


We do believe that most people know the answer to this question. But, it would be good to ensure it. The easiest way to describe a criminal record is – a combination of documents that federal or state regulatory bodies control and maintain. In most cases, the information stated in those files is organized chronologically. The employee has the chance to find more information about all the arrests, conventions, and violations that a potential employee has.

It is worth mentioning that checking out criminal record information is typical in a couple of situations. Apart from entrepreneurs that want to check the people that applied for a specific job position in their company, banks often want to check out people that are applying for credit loans.

Is It Possible to Check Criminal Records Online?

The 21st century truly is one of the best periods in human history. We do not want to say that everything in today’s world is perfect. However, the online world has truly made certain things easier. One of the benefits you can use is checking the criminal record of any person online.

There are many websites like where you can find more details about the criminal past of many people. Currently, in this case, all you will have to do is to type the first and last name of a person and state where that person lives. Apart from that, there are also some optional pieces of information you can add. For example, age, sex, and race are also options that you can fill.

These websites also give you one more option to check out the person’s criminal record. If you have the so-called Bureau of Prisons register number then you can add that and see what will appear on the screen.

But, How Long Does a Criminal Record Last?


The answer to this question depends. In most cases, the criminal information will remain on the criminal record files indefinitely. In some states of America, it may happen that some pieces of information get expungement. In other words, it may happen that some pieces of information remain hidden from the public view. It can even happen that information gets destroyed from the state database.

On the other hand, when we talk about federal criminal records, things are a bit different. In that case, the only way to delete something from the criminal record is to get the so-called presidential pardon. But, that does not happen often and it certainly has some specific requirements. You will, for instance, need to do something significant for the environment, participate in some “brave acts”, etc.

What about Arrests?

Believe it or not, arrests are also part of a person’s criminal record. It doesn’t matter if the person is guilty or not after that, this fact remains public as well. Does it expire? Well, it does! The employers will manage to find this piece of information until the moment the entire record is expunged.

However, there is also one excuse here. In cases of so-called order of nondisclosure, things are a bit different. In those cases, the arrest removal from the record is allowed. However, at the same time, law enforcement agencies can access it. The good news for the employees is that entrepreneurs that want to hire them can’t access that piece of information at all. But, people that were arrested in the past will have to hire good lawyers to ensure this outcome. We have to admit the procedure isn’t easy at all.

Do Convictions Stay on the Criminal Record Forever?


The last thing you probably want to know is whether convictions stay on the criminal record forever. Some people believe these pieces of information are not part of these documents. However, they are, and they are present there until the record is expunged.

But, just like in the previous case, there are certain exceptions important for all individuals interested in this subject. If the person was older than 18 when the conviction happened, they will be present there for around 11 years. On the other hand, there are also some other criteria that can prolong or reduce the time. The courts put into consideration how severe the conviction was, whether it happened multiple times, and, as mentioned, how old the person is. It also depends on whether the person went to jail after that or not. If the prison sentence was not given at all, then the time will be a lot shorter.


We have finally come to an end to this “confusing article” If you are not a lawyer, then law topics will always be difficult to understand. However, we tried to simplify the entire process with some clear explanations.

Generally speaking, we are all blessed for living in the world of online technology. The pieces of information that are available to people around the USA can be checked online. You won’t have to visit different institutions to gather all these pieces of information. Everything can be checked in a couple of minutes.