Will an Underage Drinking conviction appear on a background search?
Different Government Databases Contain Different Information
While Underage Drinking in Pennsylvania is only a summary offense, meaning NOT a misdemeanor or felony, it may appear on a background search report that is provided to employers. Many people believe that there is one criminal record history or one background search report that includes information about a person’s entire criminal history. That is not how government records and databases often work. Instead, there are various government databases that contain different information. For example, in Pennsylvania there are two primary government databases that are searched for record purposes, the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) and the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC). Summary offenses are often not included in the PSP database, but such charges are found in the AOPC docket sheets. Therefore, if an employer hires a background search company that only views the PSP records, a summary conviction of Underage Drinking would not normally appear. However, if the background search company searched the AOPC, a summary conviction would be noted on the background search report provided to the employer. Background search companies often do not search every database because access to each database costs money, so the more databases that are searched, the more expensive the process becomes, and employers do not want to spend lots of money on such searches. Many private employers and landlords seem to hire background search companies that search the AOPC database, and because that database contains information about summary convictions, an Underage Drinking conviction will often appear on a background search report.
Avoiding or Expunging an Underage Drinking Record
Because an Underage Drinking conviction could appear on a background search and thereby be considered by a potential employer, it is often a good idea to try to avoid an Underage Drinking conviction or to take steps to expunge a conviction if eligible. Many first time offenders of Underage Drinking can participate in a diversionary program to have the charge dismissed. If the charge is dismissed, it can then be expunged. A person convicted may also be able to expunge an Underage Drinking conviction and thereby have records of the incident removed from the government records so that it does not appear on a criminal background search.
The attorneys at the State College criminal defense firm of JD Law have represented hundreds of Penn State students and former students charged with Underage Drinking. To discuss current criminal charges or expungement eligibility, you can call the experienced criminal defense attorneys at (814) 954-7622 or via email for a FREE CONSULTATION.