Diversion Pleas Qualify As Convictions Under Federal Background Check Law
Date:  07-23-2019

Collateral Consequences Resource Center suggests two ways to ensure that state non-conviction dispositions are not included in background checks as federal "convictions" after seven years
From Collateral Consequences Resource Center:



The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) prohibits companies engaged in criminal background screening from reporting records of arrests that are more than seven years old. But since the 1990’s, there has been no time limit on reporting “records of convictions of crimes.” See 15 U.S.C. § 1681c(a)(2) and (5). It might reasonably be assumed that criminal cases terminated in favor of the accused without a conviction (such as uncharged arrests, acquittals and dismissed charges) would fall into the first category, and so would not be reportable after seven years. But we were recently alerted to a decision of the 7th Circuit from April that defined the term “conviction” in FCRA broadly to include any disposition involving a guilty plea, even if the charges are dismissed pursuant to a diversionary program with no resulting conviction under state law.

In Aldaco v. Rentgrow, a background screening company reported to Rafaela Aldaco’s prospective landlord that she had pleaded guilty to a battery charge twenty years earlier. As a result, the landlord rejected Aldaco’s rental application. Aldaco conceded her guilty plea, but pointed out that the court had deferred proceedings while she successfully completed a brief supervision sentence, after which the court had dismissed the battery charge without a judgment of conviction under Illinois law. She sued the background screener, arguing that reporting her dated non-conviction disposition violated FCRA’s seven-year bar. Continue reading >>>