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Question about dismissed assault and background checks

Fort Worth, TX |

a little over a year ago I was arrested for assault bodily injury-class a misdemeanor family violence. my mom and I got into a arguement and the whole thing just escalated.. I truly regret that day but have been trying to put it past me. I do hope to get it expunged once the 2 years has run up.

Anyways, I was wanting to know what I should put when filling out job applications. Most of the ones I have filled out are just asking about felony and/or misdemeanor convictions.. nothing about arrests yet. I haven't been applying for schools, government agencies or criminal justice agencies... mainly retail and office jobs. Should I keep answering no to the question about convictions? What jobs do you think will absolutely not hire me??? Even though my case was dismissed without deferred adj or

(continued) probation. Again, I know that I probably would ahve trouble getting a job with the fbi or any type of police department, but what about at a school or library or doctors office? I am really a good person and hope I can prove myself. I was going to major in social work but I am just scared I won't be able to find a job.. Well thanks for any help!

Attorney Answers 3


You are absolutely right about the deleterious affect this may have on employers. Most will not hire folks with this type of arrest because of insurance. I had a decorated Vietnam veteran precluded from visiting Canad because of a similar incident. The Canadians position was that the states drop these charges all the time even though the charges were valid.
The single most improtant thing is to get a lawyer in Texas to handle expunging the that time you will be ordered to deny the existence of this arrest if it is the same as Florida statutes.

I have often advised my clients to answer only those questions which are asked but in an abundance of caution you could write down that you were mistakenly arrested for an incident which involved parent and adult child disagreement and when it was sorted out the State felt no crime had occured...this would accomplish what you want by not having had to participate in any programs before the charges were filed...but domestic violence has kept police officers and other agents out of the field of law enforcement. Beware of family problems...they stay with you forever as you have found out.

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You can continue to answer "no" when asked if you have been convicted if the case was dismissed or you were found not guilty. Since you indicate that the charge was dismissed, you are absolutely entitled to deny a conviction for this offense. Keep in mind, most employers do criminal history searches for convictions only. However, if they asked if you have ever been arrested or charged with a misdemeanor, you should be advised that they are likely checking more deeply into criminal histories and disclosure would be a good idea.

(If you received deferred adjudication probation and successfully completed that, then the specific language on the job applications is important; most of the time when the employer is trying to get you to disclose a DA probation, they will specifically ask if you received DA probation. If you did jail time, received regular probation, or were adjudicated on DA probation, then you have a final conviction for this assault and need to answer "yes" when asked if you have been convicted of a misdemeanor.)

An employer has the right to deny someone a job because of that person's criminal history. That's just a fact of life. Generally, they are more concerned with convictions than accusations because those folks have been found guilty. However, many law enforcement and government agencies require you to take a polygraph as part of the interview process. They will most likely ask about arrests and you better be honest in those situations. I don't think you will be automatically excluded from any job because of the dismissal, but you never can be sure. I would be skeptical of anyone who tells you otherwise.

Get the expunction done as soon as you are eligible, and this will be a less important factor. Keep in mind that the expunction only covers government agencies, and that companies like Public Data may keep and sell expunged information long after the judge signs the order. Good luck.

Disclaimer: This answer is provided as a public service and as a general response to a general question, it is not meant, and should not be relied upon as specific legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

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Your question really is not about law, but a request for suggestions on what to do with your history so that you can still get the job. Clearly you understand the need to expunge your record when the statute of limitations has run - so that your record is clear. In the meantime, be aware that when you expunge a record, only governmental bodies are required to clear the information. So, for example, if you apply to work at X & they obtain the information about the charge, they will not be required to clear their records of the charge even after you have the case expunged.

My suggestion, which is really not a law answer, is to be up-front when you apply. Answer the question as it is asked - if it says have you ever been convicted or received probation - you put no. This is honest. However, on the back or somewhere, I would write that you were once charged with assault involving your mother. It was a minor situation, and you were arrested because it is police policy to take someone out of the situation via arrest so that it does not escalate. However, once the prosecutors' office reviewe the case, they determined that it should be dismissed, and it was. I am eligible to clear my record when the statute of limitations runs on X date, and it is my intention to do so. For now, a criminal record check will reveal an arrest and a further check will reveal a dismissal.

How you handle this is really a matter of personal choice but that is my suggestion. Be aware that the law prohibits a person from working with the elderly or children if they have an assault conviction. Even though you do not have a conviction, if you were, say, to appy to work at a daycare or home health care, they probably would choose not to hire you over another candidate simply because of the charge - at least for now. On the other hand, most jobs do not have this restriction and I think a lot of jobs will consider your honesty as an asset & be more willing to hire you.

Best of luck!

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