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Do sealed court records show up on a background check in Washington?

A sealed court record will not show up on a FBI or Washington State Patrol (WSP) background check.  And the good news is that most employers and landlords and owners run their background checks through these state and federal agencies.  

However, an FBI or state background check will reveal limited information:  your name and the case number associated with your case.  

Example #1:  You were convicted of robbery in 1998 and spent time in prison.  You ultimately go back to court several years later and get your robbery court records sealed.  If a prospective employer ran a background check on you, he or she would find your name and a case number associated with the robbery case but nothing else—not the name of the charge, the facts of the case, or that you went to prison for the charge.  

Do sealed court records show up on private background checks?

Not necessarily.  Sealing your court record does not automatically result in the deletion of records in the hands of a private company.

Example #2:  Same facts as above, but you applied for a job before getting your robbery conviction sealed.  At employer's request, Private Company A runs a background check on you and stores all the records on its electronic servers.  You don't get this job,  

You then apply for a different job after getting your robbery conviction sealed.  If new prospective employer uses Private Company A to run background checks, the new employer will have access to all the records surrounding your robbery based on its previous search, regardless of the fact that the court has now sealed these same records.  

You will need to contact private companies directly and have them update your legal status showing a sealed conviction. 

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