Is the LiveScan program beneficial? Yes it is, but it is not all that it could be or that it appears to be. Here are four surprising facts that most participants in the LiveScan program are not aware of.
SURPRISING FACT #1: CA LiveScan DOES NOT report all criminal history
The state of California has mandated that only records related to the following categories are revealed by LiveScan:
1. Crimes relating to child abuse or elder abuse
2. Sex Offenders
3. Convictions or incarcerations in the last 10 years as a result of committing: theft, robbery, burglary or any felony.
That leaves out: Assault, Accessory to a crime, Aiding and abetting, Bad check writing, Carrying a gun without a license, Contempt, Domestic Violence, False imprisonment, Medicare fraud, Public Assistance fraud, Stalking, Drug possession, Drug use, Indecent exposure, Prostitution, Lewd conduct, Public drunkenness, Disturbing the peace, Vandalism, Trespassing, Malicious mischief, Driving under the influence, Driving with a suspended or revoked license, Hit and run, Receiving stolen property, Probation or Parole violations, Resisting Arrest, Solicitation and more…
SURPRISING FACT #2: LiveScan DOES NOT check the CA Sex Offender Registry
It is possible for someone to have their sex offence crime expunged after serving their sentence, but they would still be required to be registered as a sex offender. That is one more very convincing reason to check the Megan's Law list on everybody.
SURPRISING FACT #3. LiveScan only searches fingerprint records
For a minor, non-violent crime people are sometimes issued a notice to appear, just like a traffic ticket. People who are arrested in that way are not fingerprinted. For instance, when big cities run prostitution sweeps they sometimes use that method for both the prostitutes and their "clients".
SURPRISING FACT #4. Incomplete or missing entries are withheld
If an arrest is found on someone's criminal history and there is no corresponding disposition such as a trial verdict, plea agreement or sentencing information, they withhold the information from you.
The following quote is off the CA DOJ website:
"Unless otherwise authorized by law, where only an arrest record exists but the Department is unable to obtain corresponding disposition information, the Department shall suppress that arrest information and provide the authorized agency with a response that no criminal history information exists."
Only a proper background criminal record check conducted at the county courthouse level in all of the jurisdictions that someone has lived in will reveal an accurate history. LiveScan is a useful tool, but it falls short of the perceived level of protection that it promises. Our children and Elder Adults deserve better.