Do You Have Unknown Criminal History?

Checking your criminal history every once in a while might be a good idea. Why? Because it’s easy to forget about certain situations, and if you, for example, apply for a job, this knowledge may come in handy.

Keep in mind that many employers check their potential employees’ background, and may not want to hire a “criminal”. When you know about a crime you committed, you’ll be able to stay on top of the situation and won’t lose your head.

That’s why, if you’ve ever, for example, been charged with affray when you were still a teenager, but can’t seem to remember it, it’s best to get familiar with the situation. In the article below, you’ll find out why, and how you should check your criminal history.

Why Should You Check Your Criminal History?

First things first, your criminal history may be unknown to you, but it doesn’t mean it’s anonymous to the rest of the world. That’s why, to avoid any unpleasant surprises, you should check it when you think you might’ve forgotten about something.

But certain situations demand to ensure that everything is fine with your criminal history. You should give yourself a little background check every time you apply for a job. An employer can even demand you to do that.

What’s more, when you’re applying for a job in healthcare or education, you may need to do an even more detailed check, called Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Keep in mind that some employers may decide whether or not you get the job depending on your criminal records.

But why is it a good idea to check it by yourself beforehand, though? Think about how it looks when you play with open cards from the start, telling that you had some minor problems with the law. Employers will see that you’re an honest person who has left the past behind.

But when they have to do the background check by themselves and find out something about you, they may think that you wanted to hide something from them. You will seem like a dishonest person, even though you’ve simply forgotten about certain situations.

Aside from job-related checks, you’ll also need your criminal record when applying for a visa. You can also check it whenever you want, without any good reason.

How to Check Your Criminal Record?

As you already know why checking your criminal history from time to time is a good idea, let’s find out how you can do that and what the types of DBS checks are. Don’t worry. You won’t need to visit the police station and wait until the old lady finds your file.

First of all, you should know that you have the right to demand access to your criminal record. It’s called a subject access request, and you can file it to the Criminal Records Office (ACRO) whenever you need.

Secondly, when it comes to job-related background checks, as mentioned before, there are a few basic types:

  • A basic check- shows any unspent convictions or conditional cautions
  • A standard check- in addition to unspent convictions it shows the spent ones. It also presents reprimands and final warnings
  • An enhanced check- it adds information relevant to the role stored by the police to the standard check
  • An enhanced check with the barred list- it shows the same information as an enhanced check and reveals whether you’re on the list of people banned from doing the job

To apply for the DBS, you’ll need your National Insurance number, passport, driving license, and every address you’ve lived at in the last five years of your life. After you’ve prepared all the necessary documents, pick the right DBS, and fill in all the forms.

Keep in mind that the DBS check is not free, and it costs 23 pounds. You must pay the fee ten days from the date you submit your application.


It’s a good idea to check your criminal history once in a while, to be sure that everything is fine, and that you haven’t forgotten about any mistakes of youth. Also, keep in mind that your employer can request a background check on you whenever he wants, so it’s good to know a thing or two about the application process.

Nevertheless, even though your employer can check it, it’s better to know if you don’t have any skeletons in the closet. Sharing this kind of information beforehand may get you a job.

As mentioned before, your criminal record may be unknown to you, but it doesn’t mean that the rest of the world doesn’t know about your forgotten adventures. It’s better to be safe than sorry.


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