What Is a Level 2 Background Check?

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If you are applying for a job or a volunteer position, or you wish to purchase a firearm, you may be required to undergo a background investigation. FBI Criminal Background Checks – one type of background investigation – are conducted via the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or Nics. In Florida, Level 2 background checks rely on information like that in NICS and other databases searched by the FBI. Other states and the federal government do not use the terms Level 1 and Level 2 when it comes to their background investigations.

What Is Included in an FBI Criminal Background Check?

Background investigations check a variety of sources, including local, state and federal government repositories to identify criminal histories. While certain offenses are not reportable under the regulations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, others can be included in the results of the background investigation.

FBI Criminal Background Checks use your legal name and/or your fingerprints to search national, statewide and local law enforcement agency and court databases to determine whether you have any kind of criminal record. Fingerprints are used in an effort to positively identify you and to reduce errors resulting from typos and misfilings.

If you have any civil suits, civil judgments, certain types of arrests or tax records, these should not appear in background check results after seven years, under the so-called “7-year rule” of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. FBI Criminal Background Checks should only return information about your criminal history.

Level 2 Background Check Disqualifying Offenses

The terms, Level 1 and Level 2, are unique to Florida when it comes to background investigations, as they are not used by the FBI or other states in that context. A Level 2 background check generally refers to a fingerprint-based check that scours both state and national records. This clearance is required for individuals deemed to have significant responsibility at their place of employment. If your background check returns certain disqualifying offenses, you will not be given clearance at a Level 2.

In Florida, a Level 2 background check clearance actually has the same disqualifying offenses as does a Level 1 check. Under Florida law, the offenses are numerable:

  • sexual misconduct with developmentally disabled individuals
  • sexual misconduct with mental health patients
  • adult abuse, neglect or exploitation of aged persons or disabled adults
  • murder
  • manslaughter or aggravated manslaughter of an elderly person, disabled adult or child
  • vehicular homicide
  • killing of an unborn child by injury to the mother
  • felony assault, battery and culpable negligence
  • assault or battery of a minor
  • kidnapping
  • false imprisonment
  • luring or enticing a child
  • taking, enticing or removing a child beyond state limits with criminal intent pending custody proceedings
  • exhibiting firearms or weapons within 1,000 feet of a school
  • possessing a weapon on school property
  • sexual battery
  • sexual activity with minors
  • prostitution
  • lewd and lascivious behavior
  • indecent exposure
  • arson
  • burglary
  • felony voyeurism (including on video)
  • felony theft, robbery and related crimes
  • felony fraudulent sale of controlled substances

    Read More: How to Do a Background Check

What Are the Different Types of Criminal Background Checks?

Criminal background checks can be conducted in a variety of ways. Records at the local, state and national levels can be searched to determine whether an individual has a criminal history. Department of Motor Vehicles record searches reveal information related to traffic violations. Most of these checks rely on an individual’s legal name and Social Security number to procure accurate information. FBI Criminal Background Checks, on the other hand, rely on fingerprint searches.


  • In Florida, a Level 2 background check is used for applicants seeking certain jobs with high levels of responsibility. This is a fingerprint-based check, like an FBI Criminal Background Check and examines legal records.