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LiveScan (digitally scanned fingerprints)

Only specified groups are eligible to use most state digital fingerprinting LiveScan systems. Applicants must get instructions and the forms required for fingerprinting services from the agency requiring their criminal history background check.

Since different forms are used, individuals seeking a "clearance letter" from the department for visa, immigration or foreign adoptions purposes should refer to the Visas, Immigration, and Foreign Adoptions departments. Fingerprinting for employment suitability is generally limited to state and federal licensing agencies, along with specially mandated groups such as child-care and elder-care providers.


 The REAL facts about the California LiveScan Program

Is the LiveScan fingerprinting 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 fingerprinting 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 moreā€¦

: LiveScan DOES NOT check the CA Sex Offender Registry

It is possible for someone to have their sex offense 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 fingerprinting is a useful tool, but it falls short of the perceived level of protection that it promises. Our children and Elder Adults deserve better.

Common uses:

  •  Specifically mandated at-risk groups
  •  State and Federal licensing purposes (SEC, FINRA, etc.) 

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