The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-31-2011, 08:34 PM
Rucksinator Rucksinator is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Do I need to list DUI on application?

I'm filling out an online application for teacher certification. The question asks this:

Quote:
Have you ever been convicted, pled guilty, entered a plea of no contest, or paid a fine for any criminal offense, other than a minor traffic violation such as speeding or driving too fast for conditions; or have you ever been arrested or ticketed for a criminal offense where the criminal charge is still pending? You must answer yes to this question for every conviction, plea or fine paid, no matter how long ago it occurred, unless the record of the criminal charge has been sealed or expunged by written court order. You also must answer yes to this question if you were ever arrested or ticketed and the charge was never formally dismissed, no matter how long ago the incident occurred. If you check yes, you must give the information requested for each criminal charge. Failure to answer this question accurately and/or failure to provide all of the requested information could result in denial of certification.
In 2005 I was arrested for Driving Under the Influence. I pled guilty, did all of the stuff required, and got my license back a few months later.

I have always listed the DUI in response to questions like this, so this is not a secret.

My father is telling me that I don't need to list this, as a DUI is a misdemeanor and not a "criminal offense". I'd rather err on the side of caution and disclosure, but I don't want to have to admit to something that I don't have to.
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 08-31-2011, 08:36 PM
Nefarious Chipmunk Nefarious Chipmunk is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 871
When I worked for the State of California, you absolutely had to include DUI. I am not sure if it varies from state to state, but we had to deny a very qualified candidate for a position because they failed to list it and it turned up when we did the background check.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-31-2011, 08:43 PM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Sure you do

Theft, prostitution, assault, etc. can be charged as misdemeanors - does your father think you could leave those off too?
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-31-2011, 09:07 PM
UDS UDS is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
The wording of the question makes it clear that even a “minor traffic violation such as speeding” is a criminal offence. You’re not asked to disclose all offences, but only a subset of traffic offences which excludes offences which are minor traffic violations. The exclusion would not be necessary if minor traffic violations were not offences in the first place.

And the website is correct. A misdemeanour is not something different from a criminal offence; it’s a particular type of criminal offence.

So the issue comes down to this: is your DUI conviction analogous to speeding or driving too fast for conditions? If you think it is, and if you think the teacher certification authorities would agree, you can leave it off. But if you are not pretty sure about this, put it in. Having an old DUI conviction is unlikely to jeopardise your certification, but having lied in your application certainly could. Besides, the nation needs teachers who are morally virtuous, and telling the truth is a virtue.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-31-2011, 09:08 PM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 30,856
Your father thinks you will not get the job if you list it, and he may be correct. However, DUI is not a traffic ticket, it is a crime.

If you don't list it, and the employer does a criminal background check, there is a near 100% chance the you won't be hired because of lying on your application. If you do list it, the chance of your being hired is much more uncertain.

There is about a 100% chance they will check at least criminal records within the state, so if your conviction is within the same state, there is about the same chance they will find out -- which makes lying entirely counterproductive.

Having just gone through a hiring process at a university -- I can tell you that they hire a commercial service to do background checks.

The best advice I can give is to tell the truth. The second best advice is to look at the material made available online by the state which gave you the DUI before deciding what to do. Wisconsin, where I live, has a website with all criminal and civil court decisions for the past 15 years or so. If the DUI state makes records similarly available, you will almost certainly be found out.

Oops -- didn't see that this was for a state-issued certification. You might get lucky if the DUI was in another state and they don't catch it. Again, if you do get found out, your certification will undoubtedly not be given.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-31-2011, 09:17 PM
Lukeinva Lukeinva is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Is the prospective employer going to do a background check on you? Usually a position with some kind of government agency, or the military they will. A job at Bloomies will not.

So, if they are going to do a background check then yes, admit your DUI. If not then don't admit it because it will hurt your chances.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-31-2011, 09:27 PM
anson2995 anson2995 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 2,720
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyo Jim View Post
There is about a 100% chance they will check at least criminal records within the state, so if your conviction is within the same state, there is about the same chance they will find out -- which makes lying entirely counterproductive.
Not sure what state the OP is from but a glance at their profile suggests it is South Carolina. In SC, as in many other states, you have to submit your fingerprints as part of the application process. They will be submitted to the FBI who will provide the criminal background check. This is required by state law. (cite - pdf)

There is zero chance they will not find out about your DUI conviction, and if you fail to disclose it you will not be hired. Period. And worse, being denied a teaching certificate by SC is something you'll be required to report to other states, which is likely to affect your ability to get a teaching certificate elsewhere.

As part of your certification process, you'll have a chance to explain why your prior conviction should not prevent you from teaching. I have no idea how hard that will be, but you've got a better chance of getting a certificate this way then by lying about your record.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 08-31-2011, 09:28 PM
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
I reported mine, on a job application requiring secret security clearance a couple of years back.

I got the job and got the security clearance, however my charge was in 1987. They told me that they didn't care since this particular conviction was > 10 years ago.

This is in Canada.

YMMV but I asked a number of informed people who all told me that it is always better to tell the truth in these kinds of situations.

Last edited by Leaffan; 08-31-2011 at 09:29 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 08-31-2011, 09:41 PM
Rucksinator Rucksinator is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
I thought so. BTW, I've already done fingerprinting and paid for the background check (although I don't know the results.) I listed it. Certification is pending.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 08-31-2011, 09:45 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 1999
Sounds wise. One of the last events of my college teacher training was a lecture about this, basically saying, "Don't try to fuck us on the criminal background check: it won't work." Only in much more polite language, and in much greater detail. They said you could still get a teaching license with something like a DUI, but you couldn't get a teaching license with a lie about a DUI.
__________________
"In politics, everyone regards themselves as moderate, because they know some other sumbitch who's twice as crazy as they are." -Timothy Tyson
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 08-31-2011, 10:15 PM
CoolHandCox CoolHandCox is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 905
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rucksinator View Post
I thought so. BTW, I've already done fingerprinting and paid for the background check (although I don't know the results.) I listed it. Certification is pending.
List it. Always best to tell the truth. If you don't want the job, don't bother with the application.

Possibly, if you pled guilty and received deferred adjudication, you can get the DUI "sealed" where it would not show up on background checks and you would not have to list it for this type of question question.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 08-31-2011, 10:34 PM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Back in Riderville
Posts: 17,700
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
I reported mine, on a job application requiring secret security clearance a couple of years back.

I got the job and got the security clearance, however my charge was in 1987. They told me that they didn't care since this particular conviction was > 10 years ago.

This is in Canada.

YMMV but I asked a number of informed people who all told me that it is always better to tell the truth in these kinds of situations.
There's no doubt that impaired driving offences are criminal offences in Canada; they're set out in the Criminal Code.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 08-31-2011, 11:45 PM
Farmer Jane Farmer Jane is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 5,785
At the end of my teaching program, it was discovered that the $200 we paid for the background check and fingerprints didn't actually get put to use when we applied! They never ran them. So the university finally followed through with it all months later and guess what? Several kids were pulled from the program because they had DUIs.

Good luck...

Last edited by Farmer Jane; 08-31-2011 at 11:45 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 09-01-2011, 07:07 AM
rbroome rbroome is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 1,899
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rucksinator View Post
I'm filling out an online application for teacher certification. The question asks this:



In 2005 I was arrested for Driving Under the Influence. I pled guilty, did all of the stuff required, and got my license back a few months later.

I have always listed the DUI in response to questions like this, so this is not a secret.

My father is telling me that I don't need to list this, as a DUI is a misdemeanor and not a "criminal offense". I'd rather err on the side of caution and disclosure, but I don't want to have to admit to something that I don't have to.
disclose the information. If it isn't necessary you get points for full disclosure. If it is it will show up in the background check and you had better have disclosed it. As for a misdemeanor not being a criminal offense...IANAL but that is clearly wrong. You broke a law. That is the definition of a crime. It might be minor, though driving while intoxicated isn't minor in my estimation, but it is still a good idea to disclose the information.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 09-02-2011, 09:49 PM
digs digs is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyo Jim View Post
Having just gone through a hiring process at a university...
Hmmm... I was going to ask you about this here, but did so in your MPSIMS thread.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 09-02-2011, 09:54 PM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 30,856
Quote:
Originally Posted by digs View Post
Hmmm... I was going to ask you about this here, but did so in your MPSIMS thread.
Yes, I got the job. I was never asked to list any convictions, but I did have to sign a consent for a criminal background check. I don't have any convictions, so I have no idea that would have happened if I had and they found it.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 09-02-2011, 11:51 PM
digs digs is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyo Jim View Post
Yes, I got the job. I was never asked to list any convictions, but I did have to sign a consent for a criminal background check. I don't have any convictions, so I have no idea that would have happened if I had and they found it.
Congrats! I found your bus-ridin' thread, and rejoiced at your jobfulness. I used to work a few paces off State St., and just loved the energy level downtown.
It should be cooler next week, so you'll be able to walk around on your lunch hour without sweating gallons.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 09-03-2011, 08:16 AM
Crafter_Man Crafter_Man is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
In 2006 I was arrested for DUI, and pleaded guilty to Physical Control While Under the Influence (which is only slightly less serious than a DUI). Two years ago I filled out an application to become an adjunct professor at a local university. They didn't ask about my criminal history, but they did say they would conduct a criminal background check. I got the job with no problem.

You would be amazed at how many professionals have dings on their criminal records. Heck, I think half my coworkers have DUIs. I'm not trying to make light of it. Just that if a DUI is the worst crime you've even committed, most people will look beyond it.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 09-03-2011, 08:35 AM
Stink Fish Pot Stink Fish Pot is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Even though I agree that you should have disclosed it, I'd like to ask folks that have been through this (and others) what would happen if you didn't because you didn't think you had to?

Let's say Rucksinator didn't disclose because of his interpretation of the question. He doesn't get hired. Can he find out why they didn't hire him? For someone who is a great candidate, can they get the benefit of the doubt by asking them about the DUI and why it wasn't listed instead of just tossing the resume?

Seems to me that it would be much easier to list as an example on the application a DUI instead of making it up to the interviewee to self-report something that may not be clear as to its requirement. If, as the hiring company finds it during their background check, why couldn't they ask why it was omitted? If the person explains why they didn't disclose it, then discloses everything about it, why couldn't that be acceptable?

Seems to me that if you as the employer know that you want things like DUI's reported, then there shouldn't be any question. Explicitly stating DUI as an example would remove all doubt. It's not like that description is all that clear.

(just playing devil's advocate here. Like I said, I think he should have disclosed it to remove any doubt).
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 09-03-2011, 09:16 AM
jtgain jtgain is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
The last two applications I have filled out have had similar language to the one in the OP, but at the bottom is a disclaimer:

NOTE: A DUI is NOT a minor traffic infraction.

I agree that the wording is ambiguous. Is a DUI minor? Compared to genocide, rape, treason, and aircraft piracy,of course. Is it a minor traffic violation? It probably the most serious traffic violation.

The confusion of the OPs father probably stems from the fact that most older job applications only cared about felony convictions. They didn't care if you got in a bar fight in college, etc. They were just worried about serious offenses. Today, I've seen applications that tell you to disclosure arrests and charges that were dismissed and even expunged.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 09-04-2011, 12:42 AM
setarcos setarcos is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
It was over 5 years ago, and DUI is a traffic offense, so if I were you I would not mention it and hope for the best. I've had a DUI myself in the past and I no longer mention it, never has it come up in any job I've held over the last half decade since my conviction.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 09-04-2011, 01:29 AM
hajario hajario is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Posts: 13,117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rucksinator View Post
My father is telling me that I don't need to list this, as a DUI is a misdemeanor and not a "criminal offense". I'd rather err on the side of caution and disclosure, but I don't want to have to admit to something that I don't have to.
He is totally full of shit. Not listing it would be a huge mistake.

At places where I have been part of the hiring process, having a DUI in the past would not preclude you from employment. You'd be surprised how many people have had one. Neglecting to mention the DUI when asked about criminal background made you automatically ineligible for employment.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 09-04-2011, 12:14 PM
Reloy3 Reloy3 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
I frequently (10-12 times a week) draft judgment and sentences for municipal courts in which I practice. We spell out "minor traffic violations" to mean those moving violations that "do not affect the liscencee's driving status", i.e. won't get you suspended. In my jurisdiction, major driving offenses are DUIs, driving under suspensions, driving without insurance, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident and having a third moving violation within one year.

I doubt you are applying in my jurisdiction, but I would use the standard - "Could I lose my license?", if so, it is not minor.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 09-04-2011, 12:17 PM
Reloy3 Reloy3 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Also, I know entities who, if they want to get rid of an employee for some reason, will pour over the applications and resumes looking for a lie - then firing is cake, even in a situation when an employee is not "at-will".
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:22 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.