How to write a letter of explanation for a misdemeanor charge

Written by natalie smith
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How to write a letter of explanation for a misdemeanor charge
A surprising number of Americans have criminal records. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

One out of 15 Americans have served time in prison, and more than one in five has an arrest record. Many employers check backgrounds, and if you have a criminal record you are required to disclose any convictions and offer an explanation for them. In many cases, you will be asked to provide this explanation in writing to human resources or your prospective boss.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Follow the instructions for reporting your criminal background very carefully. You can't change the past, but being professional and forthcoming now can make a difference.

  2. 2

    Format your response. If the employer asked for a letter, research business letter format and make your letter perfect. If you are just asked for a simple explanation, you should still consider formatting your response as a letter or a memo because a well-formatted document creates a better first impression.

  3. 3

    Explain what the charge was, where it occurred and what your sentence was.

  4. 4

    Give background information about the charge. Admit to your guilt, if applicable, and explain any extenuating circumstances, such as a previous problem with drug addiction. Do not try to evoke sympathy from the audience because he may see this as evidence that you have not taken responsibility for your actions. Keep the explanation brief and clear.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not lie on your background check form and claim that you do not have a conviction. The employer will find out the truth and you will not be hired.

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