As part of the licensing process, most professionals are required to submit to a formal background check. This background check, more than likely, was conducted through the California Department of Justice (DOJ), which maintains a statewide criminal records repository that is accessed by each of the respective professional licensing agencies or Boards. Sheriff Departments, police departments, probation departments, district attorney offices and the courts all share their arrest and conviction information with the DOJ. The DOJ then uses this information to collate records of arrests and convictions known as RAP sheets. RAP sheets are compiled and confirmed through fingerprinting along with other information identifying information relating to a subject.

Licensing agencies must ensure the professionals they place in positions of trust meet each agency’s criteria. Each agency is required to conduct background checks of new and renewing applicants to verify their criminal histories and backgrounds. Failure to do so can expose the agency to unwanted liability.

The background check process begins with an applicant’s submission of a BCIA 8016 Request for Live Scan Service form. An applicant completes the form, brings it to a live scan operator, and provides necessary identification. In California, fingerprinting must be performed by a certified fingerprint roller or qualified law enforcement personnel.

The fingerprint is captured electronically and electronically transmitted to the California DOJ database. The applicant is given an applicant transaction identifier (ATI) to verify the transaction. The DOJ will then search the fingerprints against the other fingerprints in its database. If there is a match, the RAP sheet is reviewed by a technician. The applicant agency is sent a delay notice response. Once an arrest and corresponding conviction is confirmed, the DOJ technician forwards the agency-specific requested information. The DOJ must make a genuine effort to confirm the outcome of each arrest. The RAP sheet is reviewed; the agency-specific information collated; and the response to the requesting agency is prepared.

If a federal background check is requested, the fingerprint images are turned over to the FBI to perform a fingerprint-based national criminal history database search.

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If an applicant believes there is a discrepancy in either criminal history record, applicants can obtain a copy of their California criminal history record by completing the form BIA 8016RR, Request for Live Scan Service and send one to the FBI as well for the purpose of verifying and/or contesting an entry or entries on one’s criminal history record.

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