Finding a job and filling out a job application can be an intimidating process to someone with a criminal records. Criminal background checks are often a routine part of an employer's hiring process, and knowing that you have charges pending against you can make the application process harder to navigate. If you're applying for a job with pending criminal charges, you need to know what to do.
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First, understand your criminal history. Finding a job with criminal charges pending against you is different only when you are dealing with questions of criminal history. Pending charges are very different than being charged with a crime or being convicted of one. A pending charge is something that doesn’t really exist as far as your criminal record is concerned. Either you have been charged with a crime or you have not. There is no middle ground. Further, being charged with a crime is not the same as being convicted of one. Being convicted of a lesser crime than that with which you were charged, as a result of a plea bargain, for example, means that your criminal history will reveal the conviction, not necessarily the original crime charged.
Know what employers are asking. Many employment applications ask about an applicant's criminal history, or more specifically, what crimes the applicant has been convicted of. Generally, pending charges, or charges yet to be filed, do not count. Further, depending on the jurisdiction, you may not have to include such charges even if they have been filed. Even if you are arrested and charged with a crime, that doesn't mean the arrest and subsequent charges will appear on your criminal history. The main point here is know what the question is asking. If it asks for your criminal history, you won't have to include any charges that have not been filed, nor any crimes of which you were not convicted.
Know the potential consequences. Lying on a job application is never something you want to do, especially when it comes to a criminal background. If you're applying for a job with the federal government for example, by lying on a ob application you can be committing a felony. Lying on any application may be grounds for termination if you do get the job. However, if you believe you are going to be charged with a crime, it may be in your interests to reveal this information in an interview. This is a judgment you will have to make. Being charged with a DUI, for example, may have serious consequences if you are applying for a job that involves using a vehicle. If you are charged and have to go to court, and your employer finds out, you might be terminated.
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