Fingerprints: 10-year criminal record checks

By Stephen P. Prentice One of the fallouts of the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center is now a mandatory requirement for fingerprint-based criminal history record checks in the airline industry. Your fingerprints will be or have been taken...


10-year check, what happens?

If your criminal records check comes back with any of the above (and or some others) you are in trouble! Further, the record need not indicate a conviction. A mere arrest is enough to trigger the necessity for your removal from covered areas until an explanation or further disposition of your case has been documented. For a new employee, if there was no further action on your arrest or if the disposition did not result in a conviction or in a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity of one of the listed offenses, then the individual is not disqualified under the regulation. However, for someone already employed, if a records check reveals any disqualifying criminal offense without indicating what happened (dismissal, not guilty, etc.) then the company must suspend that individual’s authority to perform covered functions. In some cases termination may be the result.

What you can do

You can of course contact the court concerned and seek some sort of corrective action. This assumes of course that there might have been some sort of mixup or mistake. There is a procedure to correct the record if there is clearly a mistake as to your arrest or conviction. You should also notify your employer in writing of your intent to correct the information you believe is incorrect. Keep in mind also that most misdemeanors can be expunged via a motion to the court and many felonies can be reduced to misdemeanors after a certain amount of time. You should consult with a local criminal defense lawyer if you are caught up in this problem.

If you suspect a problem with your background, keep in mind that you can, through various commercial means, obtain a copy of any criminal record you suspect may still be outstanding against your name. Consulting with a criminal defense lawyer is your best bet. Armed in advance with what may pop up in a criminal record check by the FBI, you will be better equipped to handle a response to correct or modify a record. Keep in mind also that FBI files may not include records of offenses that you may find locally. There are instances where local offenses did not find their way into the general records of the FBI.

The process

If you have not been fingerprinted yet you will soon note that at the time of fingerprinting, any aircraft operator (air carrier) must provide you a form that includes the following:

1. A complete listing of the disqualifying criminal offenses.

2. A statement (that you must sign) saying you have not been arrested or convicted for any of the offenses.

3. A statement that you have a continuing obligation to notify and disclose to your employer within 24 hours any conviction.

4. A further declaration as follows: "The information I have provided on this application is true, complete, and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief and is provided in good faith. I understand that a knowing and false statement on this application can be punished by fine or imprisonment or both (18 USC 1001)."

The company will state that any criminal record received from the FBI will be provided to the applicant, but you must request the same in writing.

Application overview

The aviation security rules in general apply to the operations of scheduled (FAR 119) air carrier operations, and public and private charter operations, including operations of aircraft with a takeoff weight of 12,500 pounds or more. This weight limitation was recently increased to 95,000 pounds.

This means that any charter operator hauling large groups of people like baseball teams will soon have to comply with the security rules, as written and amended.

Due to pressure from the charter aircraft industry a recent modification pushed back the application of the new regulations to charters from Aug. 19, 2002 to Oct. 18, 2002. Furthermore, the regulations will now only apply to aircraft weighing 95,000 pounds or more and hired for flights not advertised to the general public (non common carriage). The regulations will apply mostly to sports teams, bands, and various corporations who operate aircraft over 95,000 pounds. The goal here was to make private charter flights meet the same regulatory requirements as commercial flights because the threats are considered to be identical.

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