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How to explain my criminal conviction on employment application if business perform a 7 yr background check?

Warrenville, IL |

I was convicted of a felony theft by unlawful taking 3rd degree in New Jersey in April 2003 and completed probation in 2006. This is my only conviction and have changed my life around since it happened. I am working as a contractor at a fortune 500 company as IT support and have passed the background check with no issues. Now I am being considered to be converted as a perm employee. I know that I will have to do another background check which goes back 7 yrs which states in their policy. I have no issues disclosing on the application and will be honest. How do I explain my conviction when asked: "Have you been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor?" and will I be considered for hiring?

I will say this again. My conviction happened almost 10 yrs ago.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. If part of the hiring process is to ask that question, you must be honest. Since you are so close to the 7 year mark and you have mentioned the employer checks background only back 7 years, is there any way you can postpone the application until after April 2013?


  2. If you can wait to apply until it is more than 7 years will it show up?

    You absolutely must be honest. If it asks "Have you ever...?" you need to say "Yes" and explain that you have changed.

    Will it cost you the job? I don't know. I don't know your employer nor its policies. A felony record is a tremendous burden.

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    Confidential information should not be disclosed in this Internet forum. I am a Wisconsin lawyer. The laws in each jurisdiction can be very different. I cannot give legal advice over the internet nor can I establish an attorney client relationship with you. You should NOT assume or otherwise conclude that there is an attorney -client relationship between any reader and this writer or his firm. These comments are only guideposts. They are not subject to any privilege protections. Indeed, these internet communications are neither privileged nor confidential. Accordingly, those using this form of communication need to be guarded in what they write. Because of the nature of these communications the information is general only and should not be relied upon in any specific case. This internet site is public forum, where the communications are not confidential or privileged. There may very well be merit to your defense or position in this type of situation. However, there are hardly sufficient details for an attorney to provide you with some path to follow. It is imperative that ALL of the facts in a particular situation be examined. No conclusion can be drawn from the communication that you have provided. There are some matters that are just better handled by an attorney familiar with the procedures of the courts in your area. Most, if not all, legal matters should not be handled via internet communication. At best, the responders on this site can give you a few hints and guidance. To deal with a legal problem, nothing is better than to consult with a lawyer who will give you some time and advice. If you cannot afford an attorney, there should be agencies in your area that can provide discounted, or even free, legal services. For a definitive answer you should seek legal advice from an attorney who (1) is licensed to practice in the state which has jurisdiction; (2) has experience in the area of law you are asking about, and (3) has been retained as your attorney for representation or consultation. Your question and the attorney’s answer may be used for promotional or educational purposes.


  3. You should speak with an employment attorney regarding your application and criminal history. Depending on a variety of factors, it may be illegal for an employer to refuse to consider your application for employment if the conviction is unrelated to the job you applied for. If the potential for employment is important, you may find yourself making a small investment in legal advice that will pay off in the short-intermediate term future.

    Nothing posted on this site is legal advice. Neither does any attorney-client relationship exist as a result of any communication on this site.

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