Background Check - Past Arrest

Schadenfreude's picture
Rank: Chimp | 3

This question is specifically for those who have had a similar experience, or for someone working in HR at a BB. Thank you to everyone in advance for your answers

In 2005, I was arrested and charged for a possession of marijuana in the state of Maryland (less than 1 gram). My attorney reached an agreement with the prosecutor and the case was settled as "nolle prosequi". I am currently in the final stages of the interview process for an internship position at a BB. I spoke with HR this past week and they basically said they can extend an offer to me once my background check comes back. One of the questions on their application form was the typical: "Have you ever been convicted of, pled guilty or no contest to a crime...." It makes no mention of whether or not you've had a previous arrest.

I answered 'no' on the application form and returned the document to the HR department. However, I am unsure whether or not I should have disclosed my arrest, as I'm pretty sure this information would be revealed anyways. So here are my questions.......

-Do most companies expect you to disclose arrests voluntarily even though they do not specifically ask about it?
-Should I call the HR department first thing Monday morning and ask them to clarify the question for me?
-Am I fucked?

Comments (46)

Jun 11, 2011

Schadenfreude.

I win here, I win there...

Jun 11, 2011

Was also reccently arrested in Vegas for trying to fight a bouncer and drinking underage in a club; my charges were dropped by DA, would also like to know the answer to this...

Best Response
Jun 11, 2011

Brick, I've been meaning to talk to you about that. You should find yourself a safehouse or a relative close by. Lay low for a while, because you're probably wanted for murder.

Patrick Bateman would eat Eddie Morra's lunch (and probably his brains).

    • 2
Jun 11, 2011

arrested for and convicted of are very different things. OJ Simpson was arrested for murder but he was not convicted of it.

Jun 12, 2011

If it's a misdemeanor or over, they'll find it. If you were charged and not arrested (ie, accused), then it's easy to argue. If it was dropped, easy to argue as well. If they're still on your record and you said you have no record, that is a bad sign.

This happened to a buddy of mine, and he hired a lawyer. If you have cash in the bank, hire a lawyer and ask him/her and how you should act.

I'm not a lawyer, so these are "suggestions". I hope this helps!

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Jun 12, 2011

Thanks for the comments thus far everyone.

Just to be clear on my situation, I was arrested, charged and fingerprinted for a misdemeanor offense. However, since the prosecutor declined to prosecute, there was never any conviction or guilty/no contest plea. Based on a strict interpretation of the question on the application, there's no doubt in my mind that I answered truthfully. My question more has to deal with whether or not I should address the arrest and charge even though it was not specifically asked for.

Thanks again.

Jun 12, 2011

Schadenfreude-

Based on your latest post, I would say you are in the clear. It sounds as if you were "looked at" for a misdemeanor, and they eventually realized that it was not you. That is what I would say, if asked (and only if asked).

Patrick Bateman would eat Eddie Morra's lunch (and probably his brains).

Jun 12, 2011

A friend of mine works HR as an intern for a company... they did a background check on an employee who was convicted of murder (not sure what type). When she called and ask him about it he said "oh it skipped my mind" haha. Just dont be that guy.

Jun 12, 2011

Well at least it's not a felony. Just remember that Bill Gates has a misdemeanor on his record, and look how he turned out. So anything is possible I suppose. I would assume that BB firms would perform more extensive background checks in comparison to a boutique firm. But describe the "circumstances" that led to your lawyer believing you will be convicted.

    • 1
Jun 12, 2011

@354231
Well even if I get the maximum possible sentence, it will probably be expunged in 5 years (like a year after I graduate), so would a BB firm hire a person in their mid twenties with no experience?

Jun 12, 2011

Canadian working for a BB her as an intern here at a regional office but I only had to disclose if I committed any financial crimes so USA background checks could be different

Jun 12, 2011

I don't think anyone will be able to give you a definitive answer as I think different banks / people will look differently at it. I don't think there a blanket ban from hiring anyone with a criminal record so it's really on a case by case basis. Pot has been legalized / decriminalized in so many states now and let's be honest, the vast majority or finance professionals have smoked in their life so I would be hopeful that's not something people would hold against you.

Jun 12, 2011

Some laws prohibit disclosing Marijuana misdemeanors in a background check. Move to SF and you'll be fine... Won't even come up. Otherwise they may or may not hold it against you - will depend how seriously they take BG checks and how willing they are to get sued for potential discrimination against a candidate.

Jun 12, 2011

depends on the BB. it will come up so you you're going to have to disclose it because they will undoubtedly ding you for lying if you don't. Even if the question is "have you ever been convicted" to which it sounds like you can honestly answer "no" (as you got a probationary type deal), this can still come up on a criminal background check. You may want to answer "no" but disclose it to HR before they happen across it.

Good luck - it's a crappy situation. Keep us posted.

Jun 12, 2011

When would I need to disclose it? Looking at my offer letter they only required me to disclose criminal activity involving theft or fraud. It had no mention of other stuff. They gave very specific criteria of what I have to disclose.

Jun 12, 2011

There is no "correct" answer here.

Word to the wise...make your dumb friends hold your drugs for now on

    • 2
Jun 12, 2011

It will come up on the background check. Depends on how you want to handle it but I think it may be wise give HR a call and explain everything, you can spin it in a more positive light.

Jun 12, 2011

is this grounds to revoke the offer? what do they usually care about?
The main thing that my case will be dismissed in April like no conviction.

Jun 12, 2011

be a man... start doing blow

    • 1
Jun 12, 2011

what was the outcome of this?

Jun 12, 2011
justaguy:

I just graduated from college and am currently interviewing with firms. Throughout my four years at school I had four convictions, all for "underage possession/consumption of alcohol by person under 21."

I was never arrested or put in jail for these. They were petty misdemeanors in which I just called in and paid a fine for them. Will these be bad enough to have an offer rescinded? Thanks in advance.

This is like a parking ticket dude... Nobody gives a *****

Jun 12, 2011
16rl:

This is like a parking ticket dude... Nobody gives a *****

Yes, but if you had like 20 parking tickets, people would start to raise questions.

Jun 12, 2011

The nature of the "crime" isn't as severe. However, FOUR convictions?? That's more disconcerting.

Jun 12, 2011

yes. it will be a big problem

Jun 12, 2011

It's gonna raise a red flag but I don't think it's going to destroy your chances

Jun 12, 2011

You should be fine man.

Jun 12, 2011

I know it's a lot and the thing that sucks even more about it is that one of them I shouldn't have, our parents beer cooler was still on the boat when we took it out (the possession). The other three I got when we had team parties/events on Saturdays at school (I.e. rookie party, end of the season party, etc.)

I'm hoping that it helps that I was an NCAA athlete and was involved in EC like the Investment Fund so they can see I'm not a complete boozehound like some students.

Extremely bullish on Heidi Klum, currently.

Jun 12, 2011

your campus PD do this? or out in public? either way, that sux

Jun 12, 2011

If they ever ask, just say u where "enjoying your college years in a foolish way". Case closed.

Jun 12, 2011

I have a couple MIP's like you're describing and a couple open containers as an adult, I've always been fine. I don't think anyone really gives a shit about alcohol related violations, especially misdemeanors.

Don't lie but don't answer a question they're not asking either. If they ask if you've ever been convicted of a felony or something and you've got like, a couple misdemeanor delayed summonses, no need to put that in your background check papers.

Just keep in mind that when you have to drop piss, and you will have to drop piss if you're in NYC, make sure it's not your first piss of the day, but don't fuck with it. You fuck with it and they'll take hair.

Jun 12, 2011

Thanks for your responses, I appreciate your feedback.

NYCbandar what if it says "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" That's where I get confused because a petty misdemeanor isn't considered a crime since there is no jail time and the fine is under $300... Should I list them?

All the help, the better. Thanks again, people.

Extremely bullish on Heidi Klum, currently.

Jun 12, 2011

If it asks if you've been convicted of a crime without specifying felony, And you have been, I think you're better off saying it than not. They're going to pull your record, and if it's on there it's on there. Lying about it is just going to make you look like a liar. Won't make anything better.

Just say you got a ticket for drinking when you were X years old. I have a couple of those and it wasn't a deal breaker. Maybe depends on the bank, but you can't really get away with lying about criminal record anyway, thats one of the only things they definitely check.

Look, they'll most likely just ask for felony convictions. Make sure you know exactly what your ticket is, and admit it if it falls under the question. Don't admit it if it doesn't, but don't worry if it does. Nobody cares.

Jun 12, 2011

Cool, sounds good. Thanks again for the feedback!

Extremely bullish on Heidi Klum, currently.

Jun 12, 2011

Better call Saul.

I know there are certain exceptions for listing misdemeanor marijuana charges, but I'm not sure about the semantics. Call or e-mail an employment attorney. This should not cost you anything and be as painless as a quick phone call or e-mail.

Or

Do some Google searching.

Jun 12, 2011

Assuming you haven't gone through the background check process yet? If you haven't get a lawyer to get it expunged, better not worry about it for this job/the future.

Jun 12, 2011
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Jun 12, 2011
Jun 12, 2011