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CRIMINAL RECORDS SEVEN-YEAR RULE

General Law

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I’m often asked whether a criminal conviction falls off a record after seven years. The answer is there is no criminal records seven-year rule. However, consumer reporting agencies may not report specific types of non-public information.

First, let’s clarify what a criminal record is. A criminal history record lists a person’s arrests and convictions. When you apply for a job, an employer usually hires a consumer reporting agency to run your background. The agency’s report is not your official criminal history. Instead, it is what they found in public records.

The Criminal Record Seven-Year Rule

Where did the criminal record seven-year rule originate? Under federal law, consumer reporting agencies cannot report an arrest over seven years old. But these agencies may report a conviction no matter how old it is. Thus, if the police arrest you and the State dismisses the charges, consumer reporting agencies are not supposed to report the arrest if the arrest is over seven years old. The agencies can report the information forever if the arrest results in a conviction.

The seven-year rule has an important exception. Agencies can still report the arrest if you are applying for a job and the salary is over $75,000.

Overall, the seven-year rule does not protect job applicants with prior arrests.

Remember that consumer reporting agencies cannot report non-public information. For example, suppose a court expunges your arrest, or you have a deferred adjudication sealed with a nondisclosure. In that case, the agency can no longer report the arrest, regardless of when it happened.

Contact me for a free case review if you want to clear a criminal record in Comal County or other Central Texas counties such as Hays County, Guadalupe County, Travis County, or Bexar County.