Posted on 12/2/19

If you have a criminal history in Texas, the seven-year rule is something of which you need to be aware because it applies to background checks. During a background check, your employer or a credit reporting agency may investigate you. A background check may include information about your education, verify your identity, share your employment history, your credit history, your driving record, and your criminal record. 

The Seven-Year Rule and Credit Agencies

When an employer runs a background check on an employee or potential employee, they can look at your history as far back as they wish. However, when a credit reporting agency runs a check, they are limited by the seven-year rule. This means that they can only check your history as far back as seven years. 

This law is provided by the Fair Credit Reporting Act and governs how credit checks can be applied when making a hiring decision. The FCRA states that arrest records, civil judgments, civil lawsuits, and paid tax liens are not allowed to be reported on a consumer report or background investigation after seven years have passed. 

Texas Seven-Year Rule Exceptions

Many states have their own exceptions when it comes to the seven-year rule, and Texas is no different. The following exceptions are applicable in Texas:

  • If the salary for the job is at least $75,000 annually the background can be performed back to when the employee was 18 years old. 

  • If the potential employee is applying for a job at an insurance provider, the background can be performed back to when the employee was 18 years old.

  • If the job will involve in-home services, including electricians and plumbers, or residential delivery, such as FedEx or UPS, the employers must check for 10 years of misdemeanor history and 20 years of felony history.

  • Local and state governments can also perform background checks back to your 18th birthday. 

Exceptions in Favor of Job Applicants

There are a few exceptions that favor of job applicants. For example, if you received probation or a deferred adjudication for a crime and the charge was dismissed, this would not appear on your criminal record even if it was within the last seven years. 

When filling out a job application, many employers ask you if you have been convicted of a crime, or pled guilty or no contest. You have to admit those. The exception would be if you are arrested and not convicted and if you did not plead guilty or no contest. If so, then your arrest is not proof of criminal conduct for the purpose of employment.

Also keep in mind that criminal records for anyone under 18 (minors) are sealed in the Lone Star State. This means if you were convicted of a crime before you turned 18, your employer will not be able to find out about your criminal history prior to age 18.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you have questions about your criminal record and background checks or expungement, contact the attorneys at Abel Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.


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