Do Pending Charges Show Up on a Background Check?

Close up of criminal background check

You might be dealing with a current court case where charges are still pending. This can cause a great deal of stress and questioning when it comes to you being hired as an employee for any company. So what can someone do in a bind such as this?

If you currently have problems with pending charges that may or may not show up on a background check, you can do a few things to ensure that you show yourself in the most positive way possible. The key here is to be prepared ahead of time with whoever ends up interviewing you for the position of your choice.

The power and accuracy of reverse search engine tools, such as, can help you look up things about yourself and your previous criminal history to get your bearings and plan an explanation to someone about your current situation in an organized and methodical manner. is an online reverse search engine that empowers its users to take matters into their own hands by giving them access to various public data sources on many subjects. These can cover criminal and arrest records, previous residence histories, and much more can all be uncovered and dissected with these powerful search tools at one’s disposal.

What Are Pending Charges?

A pending charge is a criminal charge that is still under review. It’s a gray area state of being that exists between an arrest and a final judgment of an individual. A few things can happen in this situation. Either the judge keeps the charges as they are, or they are reduced or even completely discarded. Because of this liminal status that pending charges reside in, they can be quite problematic for a prospective job seeker.

How Long Until Pending Charges Come Up on a Background Check?

Pending charges appear first in county records long before they appear in state records. So, feasibly, a county-wide background check will reveal pending charges before a state-based background check.

Unfortunately, sometimes state records might display the pending charges publicly despite said charges having been dismissed at the county level some time ago. Because of this delay factor, it’s a good idea for multiple variations of background checks to be run on a prospective candidate.

Can Companies Use Pending Charges to Make Hiring Decisions?

Pending charges are challenging to deal with because they are open to interpretation. They can lead to a conviction or be reduced or thrown out altogether, and a business might delay a hiring decision based on this. Most of this will be determined by the rules of the state you reside in.

In some cases and depending on the state, a no-hire based on pending charges could also be considered discriminatory.

Steps Employers Can Take for Pending Charges

When pending charges show up on a comprehensive background check, employers have some decisions they have to make to be fair and equitable with the candidate in question.

Make Sure the Information Is Complete

Criminal records can vary in completeness depending on the agency conducting them. If something negative comes up on the applicant’s background check, then run an additional, separate background check with another service to see if the charges match.

Refusing to hire someone just because they have a previous criminal history (without suitable reason) is fertile ground for a lawsuit. Check your state’s employment laws or get the assistance of a lawyer who specializes in employment issues.

Are the Charges Relevant to the Position Being Filled?

If a pending charge comes up on the applicant’s background check, it’s crucial to determine if the charges in question are relevant to the position being filled. For example, was it an extreme crime, like murder or sexual assault? If that’s the case, then that individual is probably not a good choice for most workplaces, especially if the crime was recent.

Another key point is determining how recent the pending charges are. If this is a crime that happened a decade ago and is just now coming to light, yet nothing else shows up on this person’s background check, chances are they are reformed. Again, employer discretion is advised in these cases.

Always Be Fair and Methodical in Judgment

The best thing an employer can do is make sure that they are making a fair and balanced decision regarding hiring. As long as you are 100% adhering to the laws of your state, then ultimately, the decision is up to you on whether or not you think the applicant is a potential hazard to you and your organization.

There are no clear-cut answers here on an ethical level due to the extremely nebulous nature of pending charges. They can vanish in one fell swoop depending on the case ruling. Always contact a legal expert on labor laws when in doubt to determine the best action for your company.


Pending charges coming up on a background check are a hassle for all parties involved, the interviewer as well as the interviewee. If you know that you have some pending charges upcoming on a background check, or can anticipate them because of current legal hassles you are facing, then do yourself a favor and conduct a personal criminal background check with’s extensive tools.

If you happen to see pending charges pop up on a personal criminal background check, then you can be much better prepared to explain to a hiring manager your situation in a way that shows you in a more positive light.