How Far Back Does a Background Check Go in Florida? vs Level 2

Background check repair icon.Written by Background Check Repair

Background Checks | December 30, 2022

Man with his hand on his chin and a question mark beside his head wonders how far back does a background check go in florida and how far back does a level 2 background check go in florida while looking at a Florida background check report and the state of florida on the right.

Those wondering, how far back does a background check go in Florida, might be confused about Florida background checks vs level 2 background checks.

Luckily, the differences are not nearly as complicated as some people might suspect and mostly have to do with which record databases are checked during the screening process.

Florida is the only state (so far) to have legally codified laws concerning level 1 and level 2 background check processes, as well as which jobs and actions require which level of check.

So, when considering how far back does a background check go in Florida, applicants should first understand what the Florida Level 2 check entails as well as how far back does a level 2 background check go.

How Far Back Does a Background Check Go in Florida?

When it comes to how far back does a background check go in Florida, some individuals might be under the impression that the type of background check will play a role in how far back the check can go.

However this is not the case, Florida currently has no state laws regarding how far back a background check can go which means that a criminal history check will likely cover the individual’s entire life.

This may come as a surprise to individuals who have heard of the seven-year rule. The seven-year rule is a law adopted by several states that prevents how far back employer background checks are allowed to go when performing criminal history checks on existing or potential employees.

This is done to limit the impact a criminal record can have on an individual when they are trying to find a job.

Screenshot of FDLE website page with yellow arrow on criminal history/LiveScan.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement issues criminal history checks and live scan screenings which are used for level 2 background checks in the state.

Once 7 years have passed since the crime was charged, the information will no longer appear on background checks in these states.

There is a common misconception that background checks can only go back in 7 years in every state. However this is likely due to a slight misinterpretation of the FCRA,8 which is currently the only federal legislation regarding background check laws.

The FCRA includes a law that states that arrest records can not appear on a background check for the past 7 years. However this does not actually extend to all arrests that may be present on an individual’s criminal record.

Instead, it only applies if the charges related to the arrest did not ultimately end in a conviction.

If the individual was eventually convicted of a crime that was the reason for the initial arrest, then the crime will be able to appear on background checks beyond 7 years at the federal level and in states that do not follow the seven-year rule.

With that being said, individuals worried about a crime that is older than 7 years appearing on a background check in Florida might not have anything to worry about. With more and more states adopting the seven-year rule, more and more private background check services are incorporating this into their own policies.

Most private background checks will only check criminal records as far back as 7 years unless the employer specifically requests they do a full criminal history check.

Individuals who are worried about this situation should try and figure out which background check service their potential employer uses and reach out to the company to find out what their policies are when it comes to criminal background checks.

How Far Back Does a Level 2 Background Check Go?

How far does a level 2 background check go, is a common question for individuals who have heard that level 2 checks are more intensive and thorough than a standard or level 1 check.

However, in Florida, individuals should expect most background checks to cover their entire life, regardless of if it is a level 2 check or a level 1 check.

This includes the level 2 background check for healthcare workers.

What Is a Level 2 Background Check in Florida?

One of the reasons that the length of a level 2 background check is a common source of confusion is because level 2 checks in Florida are often somewhat misunderstood.

In every state except for Florida the term “level 2 background check,” is primarily used as a marketing term by background check services to indicate a background check service that includes additional and more comprehensive checks. In Florida, the terms level 1 and level 2 background check are legal terms used to indicate different kinds of background checks.

All background checks in Florida are either level 1 checks or level 2 checks. What determines the level is the kind of checks that are performed, specifically the databases and method of search to perform the criminal history check.

A level 1 check will only involve state databases and lower for the criminal history check. Although this will involve a basic national criminal history check, it will not be as thorough as a true national criminal history check that is performed by the FBI.

This is the type of check that most individuals will be familiar with and may have undergone as part of the application and hiring process for their current job.

Screenshot of FDLE website page for criminal history records with yellow arrow on criminal history search overview.

The Criminal History Services uses the central repository held by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which provides public criminal history information by request.

On the other hand, level 2 background checks are slightly more thorough.7 Instead of a name-based criminal history check at the state level, a level 2 background check includes a fingerprint-based check performed by the FBI as well as several other checks that are performed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).4

Part of the reason for the legal distinction is that Florida has slightly stricter laws than most states when it comes to what kind of background checks certain kinds of employers must run on their employees.

In Florida, Level 2 background checks are required for individuals “holding positions of responsibility and trust.”3

Although this may seem confusing because one could argue that every job requires a certain level of responsibility of trust, the law is referring to public trust. This mainly applies to positions that work with vulnerable individuals such as the elderly or children.

Even high-ranking jobs in private companies will only require a level 1 background check per Florida state law.5 

Applicants can learn more by searching the level 2 background check disqualifying offenses Florida list.

How Far Back Does Fingerprint Background Check Go?

Some individuals wondering how far back does a fingerprint background check go, might have heard that fingerprint background checks will go back forever.

Technically, all background checks regardless of if they are name-based or fingerprint-based will be subject to the laws where the background check is taking place. This means that technically a fingerprint background check that is performed in a seven-year state, such as California,1 will only be able to go back seven years. However there is a pretty major exception to this rule.

The vast majority of individuals who are undergoing a fingerprint-based background check will be doing so through the FBI as part of the Identity History Summary Check that is required for many jobs in the state and federal government.2

Since this check is performed by the FBI they do not need to abide by state laws and only need to follow the regulations set by the FCRA, which does not have any limits when it comes to how far back conviction information can be found.

Screenshot of FL HealthSource website page for background check with yellow arrow on background screening process.

The Florida Department of Health offers tips for fingerprint processing, which is used in all Healthcare background checks.

Essentially, a fingerprint background check is very likely to cover an individual’s entire criminal history, regardless of what state the individual who is undergoing the check is in.

What Shows Up on a Background Check?

When it comes to what shows up on a background check, it will depend on the type of background check being performed. Background check is a bit of a broad term that encompasses all of the checks that employers perform on applicants to ensure they are fit for a job.

Many people use the terms background check and criminal history check interchangeably, however a criminal history check is only one part of a background check. A typical pre-employment background check will include the following at a bare minimum.

  • Identity verification through the SSA6
  • Local and National Criminal History Check

Many entry-level jobs will only run the above checks however most jobs will at the very least check for a few additional pieces of information.

When it comes to a pre-employment check individuals can also expect an education verification and an employment verification for most jobs. Both of these are done manually by contacting the previous employer and place of education, often using information supplied by the applicant on the application itself.

Screenshot of St. Lucie County website page for drug screening with yellow arrow on link to workplace drug testing.

Many professions require drug screening as part of the employment process and official screening labs are located throughout the state, serving specific areas.

Outside of entry-level jobs, the checks will be much more job specific. Other possible checks based on the positions and other factors are listed below.

  • Driving Record Check (For jobs that require the operation of heavy machinery)
  • Drug Test
  • License and Certification Verification
  • Specialized Database checks (Such as Child abuse and neglect registries)
  • Credit History Check (for jobs with access to sensitive financial data or large amounts of money)
  • Reference Checks (Especially common for jobs that involve public trust or security clearance)

Many people will be mostly concerned with the criminal history check as it is likely the most important aspect of the background check.

Individuals should be aware that in most cases, an individual’s entire criminal history will appear on the background check report. This will include convictions, arrests, and dropped charges.

How Long Does a Background Check Take?

Those trying to determine how long does a background check take, should know that different kinds of checks will take longer than others.

A typical pre-employment check that is performed by a private background check service will be a name-based check that only takes 3-5 business days in most cases.

Screenshot of St. Lucie County website page for fingerprint and background checks with yellow arrow on how long criminal background checks take.

Online access to background checks and criminal information can also be requested in Florida at the county level.

Generally, the more intensive the check the longer it takes, this is especially true for reference checks and certain verification processes that must be done manually without the help of a database.

In this case, the background check investigator will be required to reach out to the school or employer directly which means they will be at the mercy of the institution.

How Long Does a Fingerprint Background Check Take?

In regards to how long does a fingerprint background check take, fingerprint-based background checks will take longer than name-based checks.

However, even these checks will rarely take longer than two weeks to complete from the time the fingerprints are sent to the investigator.

How Far Back Do Background Checks Go: How Far Back Does a Background Check Go in Florida?

Those wondering, how far back do background checks go, should know the main factors will be where the check is taking place and who is performing the check. If the background check is being performed by a private background check service, they will need to abide by state laws which means that in many cases they will be limited to seven years.

However, in states without a seven-year rule, they will be allowed to check back on the individual’s entire life.

The confusion over seven-year states leads many people to ask questions about how far back does a background check go in Florida, however Florida is not a seven-year state so background checks will not have any limits when it comes to the time they are able to cover.

On the other hand, the FBI is always able to perform criminal history checks of the individual’s entire life, regardless of where the checks are taking place.

How Do I Know if I Passed My Background Check?

When waiting for the results of a background check it is normal for individuals to have doubts and start to wonder, how do I know if I passed my background check, however it will usually be pretty obvious what the results of a check are.

In most cases, the background check service or the employer will reach out directly to the individual regarding the results of the background check. In fact, they are actually required to provide the results of the check by law.

If the check is passed, it is likely the employer will reach out to the individual regarding the next step in the hiring process.

However, if the check is failed the employer will likely email the applicant with the specific information that was found on the check that led to the disqualification.

Screenshot of FLDE website page for forms with yellow arrow on application form for personal review of criminal records.

The Application for Personal review of a Florida Criminal History record can also be conducted online, by providing detailed information about the person being screened.

Individuals should always perform a background check on themselves before applying for a job so that they can be better prepared and fix any mistakes. Individuals can perform a background check on themselves using the search bar at the top of this page.

How Far Back Do Federal Background Checks Go for Employment?

Individuals applying for jobs in the federal government might be wondering how far back do federal background checks go for employment, and will want to know that federal checks will always go back forever.

Regardless of the reason for the federal background check, criminal history checks performed by the FBI will always include an individual’s entire criminal history, even if the records are sealed.

How Far Back Does an Employment Background Check Go?

When it comes to how far back does an employment background check go, individuals should prepare for the likelihood that their entire criminal history will be searched.

Unless the background check is being performed by a private agency in a seven-year state, it is highly likely the individual’s entire criminal history will be present.

How Far Back Does a Level 2 Background Check Go in Florida?

Individuals wondering how far back does a level 2 background check go in Florida, should know that a level 2 check will go back forever.

Since Florida level 2 checks are federal checks performed by the FBI they will be able to search an individual’s entire criminal history, regardless of age.

How Far Back Does a Level 1 Background Check Go?

The level 1 vs level 2 confusion has many individuals wanting to know how far back does a level 1 background check go, but there isn’t any difference between the two checks when it comes to how far back they can go.

Both level 1 and level 2 checks are able to go back forever, due to a lack of state laws in Florida regarding how far back criminal history checks are able to search.

How Far Back Does a Background Check Go in Florida?

When it comes to how far back does a background check go in Florida, there are a ton of misconceptions. Put simply, all Florida background checks are able to search for conviction information for an individual’s entire life.

There are no limits to how far the check can go.

However, there are limits for how long a level 2 background check is good for, because certain positions require the check every few years.

Not knowing what to expect from a background check is a tricky and scary situation to be in. Individuals wondering how far back does a Florida background check go should learn what kind of check is being performed to get a better idea of what to expect.

Frequently Asked Questions About How Far Back Does a Background Check Go in Florida

How Far Back Does a DOT Background Check Go?

Employers will generally conduct a DOT background check on you if you are applying to be a new driver for commercial vehicles. Most DOT background checks will go back forever unless the position is in a seven-year state.

How Far Back Do Employment Background Checks Go?

Most employer background checks will only go back seven years, however in states that do not follow the seven-year rule they are able to go back more, usually at the request of the employer.

What Is a Background Check For Employment?

A background check for employment is a series of checks performed by an employer to ensure an applicant is not lying on their resume and has not been involved in a criminal activity that could make them a liability.

How Far Back Does a Criminal Background Check Go?

People who have been associated with crimes in the past are concerned and curious about how far back does a criminal background check go. Most criminal background checks will only go back seven years, however most states allow checks to go back forever.

How Far Back Do Criminal Background Checks Go?

Criminal background checks performed by private companies usually go back 7 years. However those performed by official agencies such as the FBI will go back forever unless state law prohibits this.

Do Background Checks Show Out of State?

People who have active cases in another state are asking, do background checks show out of state? These days, most private background checks will perform national criminal history checks which will show charge, arrest, and conviction information for every state.

How Far Back Do Employment Background Checks Go?

How far back an employment background check goes depends heavily on the state where the check is taking place. Some states have adopted the seven-year rule which prohibits checks exceeding seven years while most states allow checks to go back forever.

How Far Back Does a Federal Background Check Go?

People interested in applying for positions in government agencies want to know how far back does a federal background check go. A federal background check does not need to abide by state laws regarding how far back a criminal history check can go and will include an individual’s entire criminal history record.

Will a 20 Year Old Felony Show Up on a Background Check?

A 20-year-old felony could show up on a background check in most states. Unless the check is being performed by a private agency in a seven-year state, individuals should expect their entire criminal history to be present.

When Does the 7 Years Start on a Background Check?

The seven-year period for a background check will begin the day that the charges are filed in the courts, rather than the day the individual is officially convicted of the crime. This is a common legal practice that can also be seen when individuals are sentenced for a crime, as they will often have the time they have already served incarcerated factored into the sentence.

How Far Back Does a Fingerprint Background Check Go?

Most fingerprint background checks are performed by the FBI which does not have any limits when it comes to how far back they can search someone’s criminal history.


References

1California Legislative Information. (2022). CIVIL CODE – CIV. California Legislative Information. Retrieved November 25, 2022, from <https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=1786.16.&lawCode=CIV>

2FBI. (2022, October 26). Rap Sheets (Identity History Summary Checks). FBI. Retrieved November 25, 2022, from <https://www.fbi.gov/how-we-can-help-you/need-an-fbi-service-or-more-information/identity-history-summary-checks>

3FDLE. (2022). Definitions. Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Retrieved November 25, 2022, from <https://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Background-Checks/VECHS-FAQs/Definitions.aspx>

4FDLE. (2022). Home Page. Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Retrieved November 25, 2022, from <https://www.fdle.state.fl.us>

5The Florida Legislature. (2022). The 2022 Florida Statutes. Online Sunshine. Retrieved November 25, 2022, from <http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0400-0499/0435/0435.html>

6SSA. (2016, October 20). The Social Security Number Verification Service. Social Security. Retrieved November 25, 2022, from <https://www.ssa.gov/employer/ssnv.htm>

7University of Florida. (2022). What Is Level 2 Screening? UF Human Resources. Retrieved November 25, 2022, from <https://hr.ufl.edu/manager-resources/recruitment-staffing/hiring-center/preparing-an-offer/what-are-fbi-livescan-and-435-livescan-background-checks/>

8US Government. (2022, October 27). Fair Credit Reporting Act. Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved November 25, 2022, from <https://www.ftc.gov/legal-library/browse/statutes/fair-credit-reporting-act>

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