What is a Level 2 Background Check?
Linda Collins - October 13, 2021
When seeking information about someone, there are several different types and levels of background checks that an institution can perform. Background checks help people find information about someone in their lives. For instance, a person may want to research a potential roommate before agreeing to let them move in. Alternatively, a seller may want to check out a buyer before arranging a meet-up to make sure they’re on the up and up.
The reason for running a background check will determine what level and type of check is performed. For example, a company may not need to run a credit check on an employment candidate, but one will need to be run on a loan applicant. Furthermore, depending on the type of employment being offered, a company may only need to run a level one background check, which checks records only in the jurisdiction of the person’s residence. However, if the institution offering the job involves a great deal of trust and responsibility, they may need to perform a level two background check.
Confused? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. The different terms and requirements can be confusing, but this article will help you better understand what you need to know about level two background checks.
What Does a Level 2 Background Check Mean?
When someone performs a level two background check, it means that they’re checking to ensure that a person hasn’t been arrested for a criminal offense.
State-level regulations differ in terms of what kind of employment requires a level two background check. For instance, in the state of Florida, level two checks are required for people who work in high-responsibility positions or with vulnerable groups such as the elderly or minors.
Although level 2 background checks are comprehensive, there are some things they don’t show. For example, they won’t show warrants unless they’ve been executed. Additionally, some background screening services will omit arrests if you were charged but not convicted. However, misdemeanors do show up on a level two check, and pending charges also show up.
What Records Does a Level 2 Background Check… Check?
A level two background check looks at a person’s criminal history. This can include murder, sexual misconduct, negligence, healthcare-related crimes, domestic violence, etc. This background check level uses fingerprinting to check statewide criminal records through the Department of Law Enforcement and national criminal history checks through the FBI.
The Department of Law Enforcement check only provides a criminal history check, whereas the FBI offers a background summary of a person that includes:
- Criminal history
- Federal employment
- Military service
How Far Do Level 2 Background Checks Go?
When searching for convictions, how far do background checks go? There is no limit to how far the search can go at the national level. However, there are some restrictions. For instance, a controlled or drug abuse prevention offense will only show up if it happened within the past five years. Furthermore, although felony convictions will always come up in a level two screening, you can apply for an exemption within three years of serving your sentence, so it’s no longer a disqualifying offense. Additionally, there are disqualification exemptions for:
- Crimes that were previously felonies but are now only considered misdemeanors.
- Delinquency that would be a felony if committed by an adult.
- A misdemeanor where you completed your sentence.
However, it’s important to remember that the head of the relevant agency must grant these exemptions, which doesn’t happen very often.
What Jobs Require a Level 2 Background Check?
Florida is one of the few states that require that a level two background check be performed on applicants who are applying to work in a job that involves dealing with vulnerable populations such as children or elderly persons. Additionally, the level two check is necessary for jobs at the state level and jobs that involve handling sensitive data or materials. For example, the following places of employment require this level of screening:
- Law enforcement agencies
- Fire departments
- Financial planning services
- Insurance companies
However, a person is worried about what might come up on their background check, they may want to consider jobs that don’t require a background check. For example, most private sanitation companies don’t run level two checks.
What’s the Difference Between Level 1 and Level 2 Background Checks?
Level one background checks are name-based screenings for a person’s employment history and criminal record. However, unlike level two checks, these searches are limited to state jurisdictions. State and local law enforcement agencies conduct level one background checks, and they only use the applicant’s name to perform the search. This is in contrast to level two background screenings which use fingerprints. Under Florida law, all employees must undergo a level one background check.
What Are Some Other Levels of Background Checks?
There are four principal levels of background checks and various types of screenings that you can perform. Let’s take a quick look at the other levels of background checks:
- Level 1 Background Check
This is a name-based background check that covers one jurisdiction. This jurisdiction is typically the area where the subject lives. It involves a criminal history check and employment history verification.
- Level 3 Background Check
This is the most common form of background screening. It consists of looking at a person’s criminal history, education, previous employment, and checking a person’s references. Additionally, this level of check sometimes involves the results of pre-employment drug testing.
- Level 4 Background Check
Generally, level four background checks are only performed when a company is hiring an executive. Like the level three screening, level four looks at a person’s federal criminal history, but they also look at national bankruptcy information and perform a media search of the person.