Job Offer and Background check question


I am in a predicament and I am honestly freaking out a bit. I just got a dream job offer coming out of college. The offer is contingent on a background check. Now on the original application that asked if I had plead guilty or no contest to any crime other than minor traffic violations, I answered no. In 2011, I got arrested for DUI, completed a pretrial diversion program, got the charge amended to reckless driving and had the adjudication of guilt withheld. Looking back at county records and paperwork, a guilty plea was actually entered. I was under the impression that it was just amended and that was that. I am now worried that the employer might retract the offer because I mistakenly answered no and now the back ground check will discover otherwise. Is there anything I can or should do guys? I am freaking out as I do not want to lose this opportunity. Does anyone have any advice or experience with this? Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

Moderator Action

Welcome to the SDMB, jay4545.

The General Questions forum is for factual questions. Since this question is looking for advice and opinions, it belong in our In My Humble Opinion forum. I will move the thread there for you.

Moving thread from General Questions to In My Humble Opinion.

thank you. I was unaware of that

If “guilt withheld” is the same as “no contest,” it’s a guilty plea. It just means you refuse to admit it.

But in my experience, it’s worth fighting a DUI no matter what the outcome is.

In terms of background check, you should just tell the employer and let them know you didn’t understand the original question on the survey. Make sure you get it in writing that the HR person either changed it or said “Oh everybody makes that mistake, don’t worry about it.”

It also means there was no conviction, on paper at least. After doing research and looking at files, I NOW understand that a guilty plea was entered. I am wondering what will happen after the background check results come back. Should I contact HR on my own and tell them about answering the question incorrectly? I filled out the application nearly a week and a half ago, I just recently realized the discrepancy.

Yes, contact them. Where I work, a finding on your criminal records check won’t automatically disqualify you. Lying about it (which is what your potential employer will assume you did if this comes back different from what you told them) will disqualify you, though.

Yep contact them, explain, and get their decision in writing. If the decision is against you, talk to the person who interviewed you or upper management.

One thing I wish people told me right after college is in the real world, you have fight tooth and nail for what you want.

If this is truly a dream job, don’t let some minimum wage HR person decide you can’t have it.

Guilt withheld is not the same as no contest; it allows a decision on whether or not to convict to be held until after certain conditions (usually probation) are met. Once the conditions are met, the defendant can apply to have their record sealed, and eventually expunged.

Definitely contact HR and explain, but be prepared to hear bad news. This day and age, it really is an employer’s market. The former Mr Kitty did something very similar about 10 years ago, but he went back and told them that he had a full pardon for a felony he’d committed 20 years beforehand. They withdrew the job offer. But it’s worth a shot if it’s your dream job.

At least where I live (I have no idea where you are) successfully completing a pretrial diversion program means your case is dismissed.

You say a “guilty plea” was actually entered. Do you mean a guilty plea to reckless driving, or to DWI?

Reckless driving is a traffic violation.

Go back and check on the paperwork.

A guilty plea to the reckless driving was entered, but the final disposition of the case was that the adjudication of guilt was withheld. In other words, there was no conviction. In FL, reckless driving is considered a misdemeanor traffic violation. Upon searching records using all variations of my name and my DL number, the reckless driving only shows up in traffic records. Nothing whatsoever shows up in the criminal database of the county in which I received the ticket in.

EDIT: that being said, do background checks for financial analyst positions generally include driving records?

So you entered a plea to reckless driving (a traffic offense), the case was dismissed, and you were convicted of nothing. You answered the question (as I understand it) correctly.

There are records of everything that happens in the criminal justice system. You know that: you’ve got a copy of them yourself.

Whether they are able to get the same information you have depends on how hard they look. Some companies pay a lot of money and do very thorough checks, others pay less and get less thorough results.

I’m sorry I can’t be more reassuring than that, but there’s no way to know.

My advice would be to say nothing. If they ask you about it, tell them the truth: you were charged with DWI, and it was dismissed. You entered a plea to reckless driving, which was also dismissed.

In the future, you might look to see if Florida has a law that allows for expunctions. If they do, and it’s similar to the law in my state, ALL records relating to both cases will be destroyed and deleted, and nobody will be able to find out about them.

One more piece of advice. Talk to several local lawyers about their fees for expunctions. If you just google and go with the first result, you’re going to pay thousand of dollars more than you need to.

I will say one other thing: George Bush had one DWI. Dick Cheney had two.

So if you had been convicted (which you weren’t) you could still be president. If you get two more DWIs, the best you can hope for is VP.

This is why I’m annoyed with the general background check process. They want you to provide your background beforehand, then they run a background check and see if it matches. Just run the damn background check already! I saw a grad school application that required the applicant to list every incident of discipline ever imposed against them in any academic institution, including public and private schools attended as a child. Dude, I think I once got yelled at for having a dirty cubby in second grade and had to stay in during recess to clean it out. Sorry I don’t remember the date. Wait a minute, maybe it was first grade, or was that the time when I had to write “If I keep acting like this I will be a garbageman for the rest of my life.” 50 times? Let me call Mrs. Spickle at the retirement home and ask her what the details were. What, she doesn’t remember?

That the records are there is one thing. That you can find them is something else. It’s not like CSI where they just put your name in and everything comes up.

In my state, for example, county records are kept at a county level. There are 254 counties.

DPS keeps a statewide database, that costs $2. But it only shows convictions and probations. And only for cases that are higher than class “C” (the same level as traffic citations). So, for example, if the OP’s company paid a company $25 to check the DPS website for them, there would be no results. The OP was never on probation, and was not convicted of anything. His record would be “clean”.

The closest thing to a national database is NCIC, but it’s restricted to prosecutors and police; and for very good reasons. One of them is that it’s filled with mistakes and inaccuracies: aliases that are not true aliases, people with similar names and dates of birth who are not the same person, etc. Also, NCIC is dependent on counties, which don’t always send the right information, or any information at all.

An additional question for anyone that has received a copy of their own background check: is the plea entered included in the check or only the disposition? I have seen samples online (not sure how valid they are) that show only dates, charge, and disposition. I was wondering how accurate it is.

This is a very good question. I am from Boston MA, and have been in the same place. I got into a little trouble when I was young and stupid. They said the charges would be dropped or “continued without a finding”. This was 30 years ago. I have no idea if I should list this on things, such as jury duty questionnaires.

I have taken some criminal justice classes in the past also. You think I would be smart enough to ask this question to the instructors, many in law inforcement, but I always forget.

I always wondered if I ever applied for a security job, should I list it? I never do.

One thing I would love is to see if they still have my mugshot, I would love to see a picture of the stupid teenager I was.

Also, they took my fingerprints. Do you think they are is some database somewhere for criminals ? This was all thirty years ago.:confused:

In my experience unless we are talking about a Fortune 500 firm or the company is doing work with the federal government, the matter won’t show up on a background check. Most companies use the least expensive search firms that they can and I have seen them miss federal convictions that were online (the person’s name was on the Bureau of Prisons web site).

If they ask later, then honestly explain the matter and see what happens. If they don’t, then never talk about the matter again and move forward with your life.