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Marijuana possession and paraphernalia charges WI: Answer yes or no for criminal convictions on job application?

Redgranite, WI |

Back in 2009 I pled no contest (paid the fines) to a marijuana possession and drug paraphernalia charge (city ordinance violations). After checking my record on the Wisconsin circuit court website next to both charges it says " This is not a criminal offense and results only in a money penalty for this offense." I am currently filling out applications for jobs and some ask questions like "Have you ever been convicted of anything other than a traffic violation?" I am assuming I have to answer yes to that one right? I have another application that says "Have you ever been convicted (including a plea bargain) of a crime?" I have already been told there will be a background check for this job. How should I answer? Will these charges show up on the background check?

I was reading that in WI you cannot be denied employment based on a criminal record unless the conviction is related to the position being applied for. Is this true? Since the job (manufacturing) requires a drug test could an employer use that to deny me a job based on my record even if I can currently pass a drug test? Also is there any process I can go through to have the ordinance violations removed from my record?

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Attorney answers 2


You have never been convicted of anything (as municiple ordinances are not criminal). You can say wouldn't say you have been convicted of parking ticket which is the equivalent. No, they can't discriminate but it is very hard to prove that is why you didn't get the job.
The safest way to answer is "I have never been convicted of any crime"

In accordance with the Avvo community guidelines, this communication does not constitute "legal advice", nor does it form an attorney-client relationship. You should seek counsel in your geographic area regarding any specific questions.


If the job requires drug testing, it seems like the employer would have a good argument that prior drug arrests are relevant to the job you are applying for, and concealing one they can easily find out about doesn't sound like a prescription for success. As you have correctly concluded, you need to answer the questions as asked. Were the charges issued as forfeitures, or did you plea bargain down from misdemeanors? Since the case shows up on CCAP, it's a fair bet that even a cursory background check will reveal it. You may wish to consider a "no, but..." answer that discloses an incident they are likely to find out about anyway. If you do wish to consult a lawyer, this is an employment law question, not a criminal defense question.

This answer is provided for general information only. No legal advice can be given without a consult as to the specifics of the case.



I was never arrested or charged with a misdemeanor. I was simply given a fine for the possession and a fine for the paraphernalia. Perhaps I should list the charges but put next to them "not a criminal offense"?

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