how far back does a level 2 background check go

If you’ve ever wondered “how far back does a level 2 background check go,” you may be surprised to know that the answer is slightly complicated. In fact, the answer depends widely on which state the background check is being processed. Florida is currently the only state with an official level 2 background check codified in law, but all other states use this form of history search for a variety of reasons. And, how far back it goes depends on a number of factors.

A level 2 background check typically uses fingerprints to check state and national databases for a criminal history search of people in the process of getting a new job. Only certain positions require a level 2 background check. Typically, jobs that require work around sensitive members of the population will be legally required to complete a background screening.

The different time limits for each state occur because there isn’t a set federal guideline dictating a universal standard. This causes a bit of confusion for those who are in the process of having a level 2 background check completed. Understanding how far back does a level 2 background check go, in your specific state, as well as what information is returned, can help you determine if you need to explore how to remove criminal record from background check.

How Far Back Does a Level 2 Background Check Go? (Understanding Background Checks Nationwide)

When answering the question of how far back does a level 2 background check go, the short answer is that it depends. Different states have different rules about what information can be returned on a level 2 check. Furthermore, different states have different definitions of what a level 2 background check comprises, and how the results can be used in a professional capacity.

In other words, how far back a criminal background check goes for a level 2 check will be affected by every state’s laws.

Furthermore, Florida is the only state that has the term “level 2 background check” established in state law. Most other states have fingerprint checks outlined as an equivalent to a level 2 background check. To make things even more confusing, there isn’t a federal law that outlines how far back the check can go. This means that each state has the right to choose its own timeline on how far back do background checks go.

How Many Years Does a Level 2 Background Screening Go Back in Florida? (Florida Background Checks)

There are certain records that will be removed from a background check after seven years in Florida.3 However, this doesn’t mean that everything that is over seven years old won’t be found. For example, if you have a felony criminal charge on your record, that will still be shown no matter how old it gets.

The only way to remove a felony charge is to have it expunged from your record. The process of having a record expunged can be found on most state websites. Keep in mind that not everyone is eligible to have a record expunged.

So what information won’t show up after seven years? If you were arrested but didn’t get charged or convicted, these things can’t be reported after seven years in Florida.

Related Reading: How long does a felony stay on your record?

Which Other States Have a Seven Year Limit?

If you’re wondering “how far back does a level 2 background check go,” the answer will be seven years if you live in one of the following states These states have a seven year limit for some criminal background check history:

  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • California
  • Nevada
  • Montana
  • Texas
  • New York
  • Washington
  • Florida

The states that follow the 7 year rule do so because of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which states that a background check can’t go back to information beyond seven years, in order to make decisions about employment or housing.4

However, there are exceptions to this rule. Typically, if the salary of the prospective position is greater than $75,000 a year, then the history screening can be increased to ten years (see all 10 year background check states). For California background checks, the salary threshold is $125,000.

While this federal law is in place in the states above, the other states don’t necessarily follow it. In fact, the states that aren’t on the list above typically follow a 10 year guideline, which means that arrests that didn’t result in a conviction won’t show if they are more than 10 years old.

It can be very confusing when trying to figure out what will show up on a background check because there aren’t currently any federal laws regarding timelines.

You should also know that not all information found through a background investigation needs to follow the 7 or 10 year rules. Only arrests that didn’t result in a formal conviction are subject to dropping off your record.

A background check goes back indefinitely for any convictions that haven’t been expunged from your record. This means that a misdemeanor or felony charge can show up on your record regardless of the amount of time that has passed.

What is a Level 2 Background Check?

A level 2 background check is a fingerprint based background check that returns criminal history information, identity confirmation, and education. The term Level 2 background check comes directly from Florida, which is the only state that legally uses that term.

However, the term is also used for other states and simply refers to an out of state background check (also known as a federal background check). In contrast, a level 1 background check will only show records from a single jurisdiction, county, or state.

In most cases, a level 2 background check is used to check someone’s eligibility for a position that will be required to work around children or elderly individuals.2 This type of background check typically checks criminal history records in both state and national records. When a level 2 background check is run, it is usually looking for a history of criminal activity that relates directly to the job description. A level 2 background check is not the same thing as credit checks and does not report on your credit health.

What is a FDLE Background Check?

FDLE stands for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Based on their website, the FDLE considers an FDLE background check to be the same thing as a criminal history check. In Florida, they have two different types of criminal history background checks: level 1 and level 2. A level 1 background check is run using someone’s name and checks against state records only. A level 2 background check is run using a name and fingerprints, and is intended to check for criminal history information to confirm a potential employee is qualified for a sensitive job.1 The criminal history check is often run against a Florida computerized criminal history database, but also searches national records.

Are Criminal Background Checks the Same as a Level 2 Background Check?

In most states, criminal background checks are similar to level 2 background checks. Both are usually run using the person’s fingerprint and name, and both return information about the person’s state and national criminal history. The specific title of a level 2 background check involves the search through a criminal history record as a condition for employment around a sensitive population.

In most cases, a level 2 background check is used as a background screening for an applicant for a job at a hospital or around children (like a public or private school), as well government positions. But, a criminal background check can be run for any number of reasons by a variety of different people, including police or landlords.

Why Would You Need a Level 2 History Record Check?

Certain jobs require a level 2 background check before offering employment to a candidate. Jobs in hospitals, government agencies, schools, childcare, or other sensitive areas all typically require a level 2 background check. Furthermore, some positions even have requirements based on federal laws like in the case of level two background checks for healthcare workers.

The reason behind this type of screening is to keep those you would be working around safe. It is also done to prevent potential legal action against the business in the future. If a person has a record that shows a history of violence and is hired on to work in a nursing home or child care facility, there is a potential for legal action to be taken against the employer, should anything happen.

By screening the background before hiring, an employer can also confirm that a potential employee is safe to be around other employees and customers or clients. The information received from the check on your background will likely be reviewed by a panel before a hiring decision is made. All other applicants for the job will be subject to the same pre screening.

What Information Does a Background Check Include? (Does a Phone Number Come Back on a Records check?)

Level 2 background checks return a variety of different information, including a criminal history record check for both state and national crimes. It should also be noted that the answer to “how far back does a level 2 background check go” will influence the information included on the background check.

Criminal records on a background check include warrants and convictions. Here’s a full list of will show up on level 2 background checks:

  • Misdemeanor Convictions
  • Felony Convictions
  • Arrests within the Last 7 Years (Depending on the State)
  • Pending Charges (Depending on the State)

Two items might appear on a level 2 background check depending on the state where it is run. The first item is arrests within the last 7 years. Most states have different rules that dictate how far back a background check report can go regarding previous arrest records.

Moreover, most states will show pending charges, regardless of whether or not they are a misdemeanor or felony. For example, if you have a pending drug charge or non drug charge, this will likely show up on the background check.

There are a couple of exceptions to this. In Michigan, a criminal history background check isn’t allowed to report any pending charges for misdemeanors. In Kansas, background checks can’t report on pending charges at all, but that’s not the case for background checks in many other states.

If charges are dismissed, do you have a criminal record? Yes, and it may be included in the search, depending on the state.

A level 2 record check will not include your current phone number, or any other phone numbers that you have been associated with in the past. A Level 2 background check typically only returns criminal history information in most states. Additionally, it is likely that the person running the background check already has your phone number for contact purposes.

How Do You Get a Level 2 Background Check? (And How Do You Fail a Level 2 Background Check?)

In order to run a level 2 background check, you need the permission (consent) of the person and their fingerprints. You can run a level 2 background check on yourself if you want to see what a potential employer may find. In order to do this, you will need to visit a location that does background check fingerprinting. Fingerprinting can be done using live scan technology or traditional ink and paper.

Once your fingerprinting has been completed, you can submit an application through the state or a federal entity like the FBI. Most state websites will have a section dedicated to walking you through how to get a criminal background check. It should be noted that you can only get a level 2 background check on someone else if they give you their permission.

If you failed background check after job offer, the reasons can depend on a number of factors. Reasons for failing a level 2 background check depend on the person who is running the check and the reason they are running it. There are rules that surround what type of actions can be taken against you because of the results of a level 2 background check.

In most cases, the way to fail a level 2 background check is to have a criminal offense that directly relates to the position in which you have applied. If you have a sex offense on your criminal history report, you will be unable to work in the Department of Health and Human Services around foster children. As another example, if you have several fraud charges, you won’t be hired on to work within a bank or other federal financial institution. Employers who hire someone with a record that directly relates to the job function can be held liable for hiring you if something negative occurs.

If you are notified by a potential employer that you have failed a background check, but don’t believe the information has been used accurately, you have options. Any complaints that relate to background check information being used illegally should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission. Their website offers helpful information and methods to get in touch with them regarding any complaints.

If you are searching for a job around a sensitive population in Florida, or even another state, you will likely need to have a level 2 background check completed. While the level 2 background check is only technically recognized in Florida, there are equivalent checks in all other states.

Information that comes back on a level 2 background check always includes misdemeanor and felony convictions, and sometimes includes pending charges and previous arrests. The real question is how far back does a level 2 background check go? It depends, but you should know that your criminal record is for life.

It should also be noted that only previous arrests that didn’t result in a conviction will be dropped off of the background check when the time period lapses. All other information will stay on your record indefinitely.

You do have the option of running a level 2 background check on yourself if you’d like to see the results before a potential employer. If this is the case, you will need to have fingerprints taken before submitting an application.

When the results come back, you will be able to review what information is on your background check. Knowing how far back does a level 2 background check go can help you identify if you need to work to have certain records removed from your criminal history, but also helps you understand which jobs offer the best options for passing.


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For whatever reason, you may be asking yourself, what is a level 2 background check and what does it show?

Furthermore you might be confused when you read most articles that talk about Florida’s official definition. Does a level 2 background check even apply to other states?

These are both valid questions, and knowing all the facts about a level 2 background check is just as beneficial for the party requiring the check, as it is to the person whose background is being checked.

Did you know that you can run a level two background search quickly with just a name and location?
<h2 id=”what-makes-a-florida-level-2-background-check-different”>What Makes a Florida Level 2 Background Check Different?</h2>
To be clear, Florida may be the only state to have an official definition for a level 2 background check, but the term also applies to background checks that can be run in every state.

Background checks are most commonly conducted for employment purposes, but they’re also used for many other reasons. You may be required to submit to a background check as part of routine screenings for a volunteer position, acceptance into a new apartment building or rental for your business, or even when purchasing a new firearm.

If this happens, how far back does a background check show, and does it mean something different for Florida vs. other states?
<h2 id=”what’s-the-difference-between-level-1-and-level-2-background-checks”>What’s the Difference Between Level 1 and Level 2 Background Checks?</h2>
There are different levels of background checks, including level 1 and level 2. They may vary by state but are usually very similar. Each one is used for different reasons and has their own requirements to be completed.

A level 1 background check is usually the most basic type of background screening that can be completed. It only checks <strong>local public records</strong> and <strong>local criminal records</strong>. However, even these records may be limited depending on who is performing the search. For example, some providers of level 1 checks may only provide information regarding to employment history without touching on other aspects like credit reports, criminal charges, or providing tenant background checks.

A level 2 background check is a step up from a level 1 background check.

A level 2 background check is going to uncover what’s included in a level 1 background check, but it will access more records and dig deeper into your history. It requires your consent and your fingerprints. You also have the right to access a copy of your background check after it has been completed.

The main difference between a level 1 and level 2 background check is that level 1 background checks search only local county and state records, whereas a level 2 check is also going to include national records.

Note: a level 2 background check is considered one of the available comprehensive background check types.
<h2 id=”understanding-a-level-2-background-check-what’s-included”>Understanding a Level 2 Background Check: What’s Included?</h2>
Understanding what’s included in a level 2 background check can give you some peace of mind whenever you’re undergoing a background screening, or if you’re the person requiring it. Both personal and criminal information is included in a level 2 background check.
<h3 id=”personal-information—what’s-included”>Personal Information—What’s Included?</h3>
The personal information included in a level 2 background check will include the local information from a level 1 background check and personal information from a national records check. This can include basic personal information like your address history and your employment history, but it may also include more personal information like your credit history or other financial and tax records.

A few standard items of personal information included in a level 2 background check are:
<h3 id=”criminal-information—what’s-included”>Criminal Information—What’s Included?</h3>
The criminal information included in a level 2 background check will be more in-depth than the criminal information included in a level 1 background check. This makes sense because a Level 2 background check involves submitting your fingerprints to run through national criminal databases, whereas level 1 background checks are most likely only going to include criminal information at the local county, city, or state levels. The criminal information that is included will depend on how far back your background check goes.

A criminal background check in Florida can go back as far as 10 years or more in some cases.

A few standard items of criminal information included in a level 2 background check are:
<li aria-level=”1″>Misdemeanor convictions</li>
<li aria-level=”1″>Felony convictions</li>
<li aria-level=”1″>Pending criminal cases</li>
<li aria-level=”1″>Judgements in civil court</li>
<li aria-level=”1″>Arrests</li>
<li aria-level=”1″>Sex offenses</li>
<li aria-level=”1″>Jail or prison records</li>
<h2 id=”what-is-a-level-2-background-check-looking-for”>What is a Level 2 Background Check Looking For?</h2>
A level 2 background check is primarily looking for any sort of criminal offenses. As we mentioned, a level 2 background check will include the same information as a level 1. Although a level 1 background check does include a criminal background check, it’s only for state and local levels.

On the other hand, a level 2 background check uses your fingerprints to search national records and databases, making the search focus on criminal activity much more in-depth. This can be useful for uncovering background check tax records (liens) and other financial misconduct.

The goal isn’t necessarily to find criminal offenses, but rather to look for signs that might indicate poor personal character, which can include being untrustworthy, habits of risky behavior, or taking advantage of others.
<h2 id=”how-far-back-does-a-level-2-background-check-go”>How Far Back Does a Level 2 Background Check Go?</h2>
How far back level 2 background checks go can be as long as 10 or more years in some cases, but the average is seven years. Level 2 background checks will go further than seven years if the annual employment salary is $75,000 or more.

Laws regarding background check reporting are enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and fall under the rules of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Consumer reporting agencies are not supposed to report any information that’s considered negative if it’s more than seven years old, with the exception of bankruptcies, that is not to be reported if 10 years or older.

A general rule of thumb used by many employers is that jobs paying annual salaries of less than $75,000 will go back an average of seven years. If the job you’re applying for has an annual salary of $75,000 or more, then your background check may include information from more than seven years ago.
<h2 id=”what-does-a-level-2-background-check-show-potential-employers”>What Does a Level 2 Background Check Show Potential Employers?</h2>
A level 2 background check is going to show potential employers several different types of information, reported by different reporting agencies. Here is a list of what employers see from level 2 background checks. Running one on yourself is a great way to see what a level 2 background check is going to show potential employers.
<li aria-level=”1″>Misdemeanor or felony convictions</li>
<li aria-level=”1″>Pending criminal cases</li>
<li aria-level=”1″>Judgements in civil court</li>
<li aria-level=”1″>Arrests, whether or not convicted, and including dismissals</li>
<li aria-level=”1″>Convictions that were expunged or sealed</li>
<li aria-level=”1″>Sex offenses</li>
<li aria-level=”1″>Prison records</li>
<li aria-level=”1″>Domestic terrorist watch list</li>
It is important to note that employers are required by law to conduct level 2 background checks for certain positions, such as those in the medical field and caregiver industry. More detailed information on these can be found below:
<h2 id=”typical-level-2-background-check-disqualifying-offenses-what-disqualifies-you-from-a-level-2-background-check”>Typical Level 2 Background Check Disqualifying Offenses (What Disqualifies You from a Level 2 Background Check?)</h2>
Level 2 background checks help employers look for disqualifying offenses for employment. The full list of potential disqualifying offenses is specific to each state’s laws and the rules for the company or position for which you’re applying.

Here is a short list of some of the most common disqualifying offenses for employment that can be found in level 2 background checks.
<li aria-level=”1″>Murder</li>
<li aria-level=”1″>Manslaughter</li>
<li aria-level=”1″>Vehicular Homicide</li>
<li aria-level=”1″>Felony Assault and or Battery</li>
<li aria-level=”1″>Elder abuse or neglect</li>
<li aria-level=”1″>Fraud and other financial crimes (Common in jobs handling money)</li>
<li>Crimes Against Children or the Elderly</li>
<li>Sex Offender Registry Placement</li>
<li>Violent Crimes and Convictions</li>
<li>White Collar Criminal Activity and Convictions (embezzlement, fraud, etc. )</li>
<li>Felonies and some Misdemeanors</li>
<h2 id=”level-2-background-check-florida-definition”>Level 2 Background Check: Florida Definition</h2>
Florida is the only state that has its own legal definition for a level 2 background check.

Florida statute 435.04 defines a level 2 background check as a security background investigation where a potential employee is required to submit fingerprints to be screened through state law enforcement agencies, as well as a national criminal history records check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
<h3 id=”is-a-level-ii-background-check-in-florida-different”>Is a Level ii Background Check in Florida Different?</h3>
There is technically no difference between a level ii background check in Florida and level 2 background checks in other states. Florida just happens to be the only state with a level 2 background check defined in their state legislature.

A level 2 background check in Florida will require the same information as a level 2 background check in another state, and screen that information through the same type of reporting agencies. If you were to get a level 2 background for Florida criminal records and another state at the same time, both of them should produce the same history records.
<h3 id=”how-far-back-does-a-level-2-background-check-go-in-florida”>How Far Back Does a Level 2 Background Check Go In Florida?</h3>
A level 2 background in Florida goes back as far as seven years on average. Level 2 background checks in Florida follow the same general rules we talked about in level 2 background checks, so items like bankruptcies can remain on a report for 10 years, and background checks for employment positions where the employee’s annual salary is more than $75,000 may go back another seven years.
<h2 id=”ensuring-your-information-is-correct”>Ensuring Your Information Is Correct</h2>
It is up to you to ensure that the information on your background check is true and accurate. If you find something that should be in your background check or anything that shouldn’t be, it’s important to update any missing information or correct any sort of errors as soon as possible.
<h3 id=”can-a-level-2-criminal-background-check-be-inaccurate”>Can a Level 2 Criminal Background Check Be Inaccurate?</h3>
It is very unlikely that a level 2 criminal background check is going to be inaccurate. Level 2 background checks use fingerprints, so the odds of your fingerprints being linked to something inaccurate are most likely not going to happen. However, the same cannot be said for a level 1 check that does not utilize fingerprints and instead relies only on someone’s name or age. It is especially likely to be incorrect if only a first and last name is used (finding someone’s middle name can cut down on errors significantly though).

At the same time, identity theft is real, and if you do find any sort of inaccuracies in your criminal background check, it’s recommended to fix them right away.
<h3 id=”how-can-i-fix-misinformation”>How Can I Fix Misinformation?</h3>
Fixing mistakes on a criminal background check can take time, which is why it’s critical to start the process as soon as you can. The first step is to contact the law enforcement agency that is reporting the misinformation to either get it cleared up or get pointed in the right direction.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces laws regarding employment discrimination. If you think misinformation that is being reported on your background check is being used to discriminate against you, they have several suggestions an resources to help.


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