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Re: plea in abeyance and job applications, if asked about convictions/pending charges, should this be disclosed as conviction?

Lehi, UT |

In Utah where it is unlawful to ask an applicant about arrests on a job application - if the verbiage on the employment application prompts someone to disclose only 'pending charges' and 'prior convictions' - does the law expressly identify a PIA as 'pending' for this purpose? Ideally this would have been disclosed, but I was denied employment and non-disclosure was given as the reason where I believed (or possibly misunderstood) the technicality of what was being asked and how the law identifies the PIA (whether being indicated on a background check as probation during the PIA or if it should be included among pending charges). Likewise, must/could/should there be more specific verbiage on an employment application to more clearly describe where a PIA can be disclosed?

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Attorney answers 2


A plea in abeyance is not a conviction, therefore it does not have to be disclosed on an application which asks about prior convictions.

The whole purpose of a PIA is to avoid conviction. If an employment application is more detailed beyond asking about "convictions" it may need to be disclosed. It really depends on the employer.



Thanks for the quick response, it's very much appreciated. I think the problem was my understanding of whether or not the prospective employer considered the charge as pending or if there was a specific case status that, in whatever verbiage, it was clear I should have or must otherwise have identified it. I wasn't deliberately trying to withhold anything, but my understanding about the job application process is that honesty is the only way to minimize any troubles that already exist with a criminal background. There was also a specific question about currently being on probation, which seems to have been how the reporting service identified the charge during this PIA. Thanks again,



The other thing that I did not mention was the judge not specifically indicating that the PIA was probation, so on the application where I was asked if I was currently on probation I did not so indicate. I simply did not understand if the time for the PIA is considered probation as identified by the law or if the PIA time frame considered the charge 'pending, not yet sentenced' - thanks again,

Kevin S. Vander Werff

Kevin S. Vander Werff


I wouldn't consider a pia agreement probation. There isn't a conviction, therefore no probation. Others may disagree.


As the other attorney mentioned, a PIA is not a "conviction" if it's completed successfully. Before the case is dismissed, I think it would be considered "pending" however. I believe, technically, the PIA period is not considered "probation" but it is very similar, so I wouldn't be surprised if some people even in the court use that term. The best thing to do will be to get your record expunged. You'll be eligible 30 days after it's dismissed. That way you don't have to mention it at all.


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