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Expunged Record, Outdated Report


Expungement (record clearance) is a big part of what Mark C. Cogan P.C. Law does for our clients. It’s one of our favorite types of cases, helping people start fresh with no criminal convictions on their record. However, it happens occasionally that after a conviction has been cleared, a background check still shows the conviction.

Expungement starts with the government. Once an order is signed by the court, your record will be cleared in all government-held databases fairly quickly. Problems can begin with private agencies. So what can you do to make sure that background check companies do their job? Well, the first thing to remember is that once a criminal record has been wiped clean, it will take approximately 60 to 90 days for the clearance to take effect in the private databases of these companies; it does not happen immediately. However, if more than 3 months have passed, and the conviction still shows up on a background check, there are some things you can do:

  • Obtain a background check yourself or ask for a copy of the one already obtained by a potential employer, housing provider, or other parties.
  • If an expunged record is found, write a letter firmly stating that your record has been expunged, and provide the agency with a copy of the court order clearing your record.

Writing a letter not only puts the company on notice that their records are not up-to-date, but it also triggers federal law under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Under that Act, once a complaint (your letter) is filed, the company is required to investigate the situation and give a response within 30 days. This way, your criminal record is not hanging in the balance during months and months of investigation; the investigation must be completed within 1 month after the notice is given.

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