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Frequently Asked Questions – Background Check

Questions

  1. I just had a background check for my employment. Do I have to do it again for my license?
  2. If I answered “yes” to any questions on the Conduct and Competency form, does that mean I won’t get a license?
  3. How long will it take to complete my background check?
  4. Once my background check is cleared, how long will it take to get my license?
  5. Can I get a copy of my criminal background check from you?
  6. How do I get my own background check?
  7. Do I need to complete fingerprints for my background check?
  8. How do I complete my fingerprints?
  9. What is the code I need for Fieldprint?
  10. Do I need to report things that occurred in another state or just things that occurred in Wisconsin?
  11. I already told my school about an incident from my past and they were fine with it – do I also have to report it to you?
  12. Must I disclose juvenile offenses?
  13. What kind of professional discipline do I need to disclose?
  14. Must I disclose discipline if it was removed from my personnel file after a period of time?
  15. My crime had nothing to do with children. Do I need to disclose it?
  16. What is the difference between a felony, a misdemeanor and forfeiture?
  17. Where can I get copies of the documents you requested?
  18. Can I just provide you with a printout from the Wisconsin Circuit Court access site (CCAP) rather than a written explanation and all of the additional paperwork?
  19. How will I know that you have received my materials?
  20. What if I need more time to get the materials you want? Can I get an extension?

 

Answers

1.  I just had a background check for my employment. Do I have to do it again for my license?

Yes – state law requires the DPI to conduct a background investigation on each applicant for a license or other credential, each time they apply. Employment standards and requirements are completely separate and likely very different from licensing standards and requirements. One is not a substitute for the other.

2.  If I answered “yes” to any questions on the Conduct and Competency form, does that mean I won’t get a license?

No - however if you were convicted of an offense specified in Wis. Stat. 118.19(4), within the past 6 years, the DPI is not permitted to issue you a license. Once the 6 years have passed, the law says that we may consider an application for licensure, despite the conviction. We also are required to deny a license if the applicant has been certified "delinquent" by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue for not paying taxes. This is explained in detail at Wis. Stat. 118.19(1m)(a) and (b). Additionally, the DPI may deny licensure to an applicant if the background check indicates that a person is "incompetent" or has engaged in "immoral conduct" as explained in the Wis. Admin Code PI 34.35(1)(c) and (d).

3.  How long will it take to complete my background check?

It varies, depending on workload. Applications are processed in the order in which they are received. If you do not provide adequate information with your application and additional information must be requested from you, this can significantly delay the background check process.

4.  Once my background check is cleared, how long will it take to get my license?

Again, that depends on the workload of the consultant who will issue your license. Applications are processed in the order in which they are received by the consultant.

5.  Can I get a copy of my criminal background check from you?

No. State and federal law do not permit the DPI to release the results of the criminal background check we conduct to any person, including the subject of the record. Furthermore, the results of each background check we conduct are destroyed immediately after the applicant’s background is cleared. The DPI does not retain those records.

6.  How do I get my own background check?

Click on the following link from the Wisconsin Department of Justice, and follow the instructions. https://www.doj.state.wi.us/dles/cib/background-check-criminal-history-information#request.

 

Fingerprinting

7.  Do I need to complete fingerprints for my background check?

Applicants who have worked, resided, or physically attended classes in any of the locations listed below within the last twenty years (after age 17) must submit fingerprints with their application:

  • U.S. states other than Wisconsin
  • Listed U.S. territories (American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, or Virgin Islands)
  • Canada
  • Great Britain (England, Scotland, or Wales)
  • Applicants, who since their most recent submission of fingerprints to DPI have worked, resided, or physically attended classes in any locations listed above.
  • Applicants who provide an address on their application that is in any of the locations listed above.

8.  How do I complete my fingerprints?

The State of Wisconsin has a contract with Fieldprint, a private vendor, to offer inkless fingerprinting using Livescan technology. Fieldprint captures fingerprints at various locations throughout the United States and submits them electronically to the Wisconsin Department of Justice and the FBI. The results of the background check based on the fingerprints are then forwarded to Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Electronic fingerprint submissions are not accepted from any law enforcement agency or any vendor other than Fieldprint. Information on making an appointment is available on this page:

Electronic Fingerprint Submission

 9.  What is the code I need for Fieldprint?

Enter "FPWIDPITeach" as the reason code/employer ID on the Fieldprint website. You will need this code to schedule an appointment.  

What Must I Disclose

10.  Do I need to report things that occurred in another state or just things that occurred in Wisconsin?

You must report incidents no matter where they occurred.

11.  I already told my school about an incident from my past and they were fine with it – do I also have to report it to you?

Yes – the DPI is a separate entity from your employer, and the standards for licensing are likely different from the standards for employment. Therefore, the disclosure and materials must also be submitted to the DPI.

12.  Must I disclose juvenile offenses?

Juvenile adjudications do not need to be disclosed on your application form. However, if you were prosecuted as an adult for an offense waived into adult court, you must report that information.

13.  What kind of professional discipline do I need to disclose?

Any discipline, whether it was formal, informal, verbal, written or otherwise, should be disclosed on your application. Please be sure to provide copies of all documents that can verify/corroborate your explanation. If you do not possess these documents, it is your responsibility to obtain all relevant copies.

14.  Must I disclose discipline if it was removed from my personnel file after a period of time?

Yes – all incidents of professional discipline must be disclosed.

15.  My crime had nothing to do with children. Do I need to disclose it?

Yes – all criminal convictions must be reported on your application.

16.  What is the difference between a felony, a misdemeanor and forfeiture?

Felony: Any crime that is punishable by incarceration in a Wisconsin state prison is a felony. Every other crime is a misdemeanor. Felony is defined under: Wis. Stat. 939.60.
Misdemeanor: Any crime punishable by a fine and/or confinement in a local jail, but not by imprisonment in Wisconsin state prisons. Misdemeanor is defined under: Wis. Stat. 939.60.
Ordinance Violation: A non-criminal violation, punishable by forfeiture of money.

Providing Documentation

17.  Where can I get copies of the documents you requested?

Court orders, including the judgment of conviction, and the criminal complaint and information are public records, and can be obtained from the Clerk of Circuit Court in the county where your offense occurred. Police reports may be requested from the law enforcement agency that investigated the offense. Also, if you were placed on probation for the offense, and your case was closed less than five years ago, the probation office where you were supervised will likely still have your file, which will contain many of these and other useful documents. Employment records are available from your employer’s personnel or human resources office.

18.  Can I just provide you with a printout from the Wisconsin Circuit Court access site (CCAP) rather than a written explanation and all of the additional paperwork?

No – providing a printout of your offenses is not sufficient. You must provide the requested documentation and a written explanation for every “yes” answer on your Conduct and Competency form.

19.  How will I know that you have received my materials?

During peak times, DPI-Educator Licensing can receive over 1,000 applications per day, in addition to other daily mail. Because of this, we encourage you to send your information/documentation with a carrier that can verify delivery service. You can contact this delivery service on a daily basis to determine if your materials were delivered to the DPI.

20.  What if I need more time to get the materials you want? Can I get an extension?

Yes, an extension of the time limit is not a problem, if you call and request that extension.