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How to handle application questions about a criminal record

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

A friend of yours may have sent you a job posting from the company where they work, or perhaps you found the opportunity on a popular job posting website. The job seems like a perfect fit for you and offers other benefits, such as a pay upgrade from your current employment or a better schedule.

Unfortunately, however, there is a question in bold at the bottom of the first page of the application inquiring as to your criminal background. You do have a record, maybe for a misdemeanor drug offense or an impaired driving charge from back when you were in college. You want the job, but you also worry about getting caught if you lie?

How do you handle application questions about a previous conviction?

Lying could mean losing your job at any time

Many people make the automatic assumption that hiding their criminal conviction is the best option. They might assume that the business won’t waste any money to perform a criminal background check.

However, background checks are quite common these days, and many businesses have contracts that allow them to check as many applicants’ backgrounds as they want for a set fee. It is worthwhile in many cases for the business to validate whether or not someone told the truth.

Even if you don’t get caught right away, lying on an application is almost always grounds for summary termination. Technically, the law protects those with minor criminal infractions from overt employment discrimination, but they need to be honest about their record during the job-seeking process. Lying out of fear of discrimination will still potentially lead to employment consequences if you get caught later.

Removing a blemish means you don’t have to report it

For some people, it may be possible to seal or expunge certain criminal records after a conviction, allowing them to answer that they do not have a criminal record. Going through the drug court could also mean that you can honestly say that you don’t have a criminal record despite an arrest for an offense previously.

Recognizing how a criminal charge might limit your future options in life can be one of the most compelling reasons to create a thorough defense strategy when facing criminal charges in Florida.


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