Here are some surprising and downright startling facts when it comes to Live Scan (fingerprinting) background checks.

Live Scan Surprising Fact #1

California live scan does not report ALL criminal history and it only reports convictions.

The state of California has mandated that Live Scan reveal only records related to the following categories:

  1. Crimes relating to child abuse or elder abuse
  2. Sex Offenses
  3. Convictions or incarcerations in the last 10 years as a result of committing: theft, robbery burglary or any felony

This sounds pretty good, but let’s look at what could be overlooked.

Assault, Accessory to a crime, Aiding and abetting, Bad check writing, Carrying a gun without a license, Contempt, Domestic Violence, False impersonation, Medicare fraud, Stalking, Drug possession, Indecent exposure, Misdemeanor Prostitution, Lewd conduct, Disorderly conduct, Disturbing the peace, Vandalism, Trespassing, Malicious mischief, Public drunkenness and the list goes on.

Live Scan Surprising Fact #2

Live scan doesn’t check for any CIVIL records.

Okay maybe now you are thinking that this California Live Scan doesn’t cover as much as you thought and you would be correct.  It also doesn’t cover any civil court rulings against a person such as Restraining orders, Non-molestation orders, Order for Protection and Injunctions (for things such as stalking). If you don’t think this stuff is important you should review the The Family Violence Prevention Fund, which estimates that up to three million women are the victims of domestic violence each year and restraining orders are one important way that they can protect themselves.

Live Scan Surprising Fact #3

Live Scan does not check the California sex offender registry (commonly known as the Megan’s Law registry).

Live Scan Surprising Fact #4

Missing or incomplete criminal records are not reported

But wait, there’s more…

When Live Scan searches for criminal records, it only searches records where a person was fingerprinted. This means that applicants that were arrested, charged or convicted of minor offenses will not show up if your organization is relying solely on Live Scan as your background source.

Also, if an arrest is found on someone’s criminal history and there is no corresponding disposition such as a trial verdict, plea agreement or sentencing information, they withhold the information from you.

According the California DOJ website,“Unless otherwise authorized by law, where only an arrest record exists but the Department is unable to obtain corresponding disposition information, the Department shall suppress that arrest information and provide the authorized agency with a response that no criminal history information exists.”

YOU HAVE OPTIONS: Many organizations that utilize Live Scan for there background screening are mandated to do so by law. If your organization can pursue other methods of screening it is wise to conduct searches of national criminal databases, sex offender registries (state and/or federal) county criminal courts (counties of residence), driving records, federal criminal courts, credit and civil records.