Criminal History Reporting: The Seven Year Rule
People often inquire about whether a criminal conviction disappears from their record after seven years. Unfortunately, the answer is no.
To clarify, your criminal history record is a list of your arrests and convictions. When you apply for employment, an employer will more than likely hire a consumer reporting agency to investigate your background thoroughly. The report the agency provides, however, is not really your official criminal history; it’s merely what they discovered based on public records.
The Seven Year Rule
The seven year rule pertains to consumer reporting agencies under federal law- in essence, these agencies cannot report an arrest that took place over seven years ago. Although they may report a conviction no matter how old it is. So if you are arrested but the charges eventually get dismissed, the agency isn’t supposed to include this information in your report if the arrest occurred more than seven years ago.
However, if the arrest leads to a conviction, then the agency can report the information forever.
The seven year rule inhibits agencies from reporting arrests to potential employers unless the salary for the position is over $75,000. With this said, anyone with an arrest in their past has little chance of being hired if their desired occupation pays less than these means.
It is essential to remember that a consumer reporting agency cannot report non-public information. If your arrest is expunged by a court or if you have a Deferred Adjudication, the agency can no longer report the arrest regardless of when it took place.