Exceptions to the 7-year criminal history rule

by Thomas C. Lawson, CFE, CII

Well, there are a number of screening companies that ignore California Law, following only the Federal law which has lifted the time requirement.  California is special in that it maintains a 7-year reporting limit on convictions and a violation of that rule is a big deal!

One other thing that is nebulous, as a practice in all states is understanding the “full adjudication” component of reporting criminal convictions.

Generally, it is mistakenly believed that the date of the conviction is what anchors the reporting date limit, but that is not correct.  Actually, what is permissible is the reporting  of convictions that antedate “full adjudication” by the 7-year period, not necessarily 7 years from the date of conviction.

That means, simply that if you are convicted of a crime on January 1, 1990, say for murder, and you serve 20 years, being released from prison, on January 1, 2010 that conviction is reportable since you were released from the court’s jurisdiction within the 7-year statutory reporting period.

Now, that can even extend further, if there is parole involved the way we at APSCREEN interpret the law is that a conviction is reportable 7 years from the date that the convicted party is released form court custody, meaning not only have they been released form prison, but have completed all court requirements including parole, and in many cases not until restitution is complete, IF the restitution is part of the release conditions from the court.

There are pitfalls to that, as well, since many screening firms mistakenly believe that the reporting period can actually be until 7 years from the date that the convicted person’s civil rights are restored, but that is also incorrect, as civil rights restoration is not automatic, it is a function of the person requesting that the rights be restored, and is not tied to any jurisdictional custody dates, or to the full adjudication date, or the date that the person was completely and unconditionally released from the courts custody and jurisdiction.

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