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By thecheckpeople_admin
Published 5:21 pm

I Have a Criminal Record: Will I Pass My DBS Check?

One of the most popular myths out there regarding the DBS check is that it is some type of pass/fail examination. It’s not. A DBS check is nothing more than a list of a person’s history with the law. How detailed that list is depends on the type of DBS check being conducted. And the type of DBS check being conducted depends on the type of job a person is applying for. So people thinking “I have a criminal record, will I pass my DBS check?” need to recalibrate their concern. What’s important is not whether they will pass or fail, it is whether their criminal record might disqualify them for the type of position they are seeking. Below we’ll look at what typically appears on the different types of DBS check.

What Appears on a Basic DBS Check?

If you have been convicted of non-capital offences in the past and those convictions are now spent, chances are you have little to worry about from a Basic DBS Check. The Basic Check looks only for unspent convictions. Just keep in mind when applying for a DBS check that capital crimes such as murder are never spent. So even if that conviction is 20 years old, it will appear on a Basic DBS Check.

criminal background check

What Appears on a Standard DBS Check?

The Standard DBS Check is more involved than the basic check and is typically reserved for positions that require a slightly higher degree of responsibility. The Standard DBS Check looks for both unspent and spent convictions. So even if you were convicted of a non-capital crime 20 years ago, it will appear on the Standard DBS Check. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that if you’ve kept a clean slate since then there’s a good chance (that’s ‘chance’ not ‘guarantee’) an employer will not hold an old, spent conviction against you. Keep in mind too that the Standard DBS Check will also disclose any official warnings, cautions or reprimands issued against you by the police. If you’ve never been issued such a reprimand, you have nothing to worry about in that regard.

What Appears on an Enhanced Check?

The Enhanced DBS Check includes everything a Standard Check does with one additional feature. Local police are also queried for any information about you they might consider relevant to the position you are applying for. This might take the form of notes the arresting officer made about you. Or observations made about you while you were in custody.

criminal background check

What Appears on an Enhanced Check with Barred List?

This is the most comprehensive form of DBS check. It includes everything included on the regular Enhanced Check, plus it searches the government’s ‘barred lists’ to see if you have earned a spot on one of them. This type of DBS check is only conducted on those applying to perform regulated activities with children or vulnerable adults. If you have been convicted of a crime or crimes against members of those groups and landed on a barred list, it will show up during this type of DBS check. That will make it extremely unlikely, and in most cases impossible, for you to work with anyone belonging to those groups.


Does a criminal record stop you getting a job? As we said, it largely depends on the type of crime you’ve been convicted of and the type of job you’re applying for. Those convicted long ago of non-capital offences may have little to worry about. However, the more intense criminal record check, the more likely some aspect of your criminal record will make an appearance. If you have any questions or concerns, call The Check People today.