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Should I list my misdemeanor theft charge on a job application? Was I even convicted?

Austin, TX |

I received a citation for misdemeanor theft 3 years ago but I was not arrested. I completed deferred disposition (16 hours of community service and a class) and now the charge reads as "dismissed" in the court's files. Will that show up on a background check? Would I be better off mentioning it even if the form for the job I'm filling specifically asks for convictions? Is it a conviction if the case reads dismissed in the court's files? Please help.

Exact wording of the application: "If you have been convicted of a crime, describe the nature of the crime, the date and location of the conviction and the sentence. In addition, you must identify any pre-trial or post-trial diversion program you were referred to in connection with a criminal offense involving dishonest, a breach of trust or money laundering. A 'conviction' means a guilty plea, or a plea of no contest, a verdict or any finding of guilt regardless of whether a sentence was imposed by the court. Please be aware that the definition of 'crime' includes both felonies and misdemeanors, no matter how insignificant you consider the crime to be. You need not list or identify any other kind of arrest or detention that did not result in conviction."

Attorney Answers 2


  1. No it's not a conviction. How you answer depends on what you are asked. This sounds like a class C. Many applications ask if you have been charged with anything greater than a class C. Yes, it can show up on a background check. You need to expunge it from your record. Then it won't show up anywhere and you can answer no to all these questions.

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  2. Also it's a theft charge, which they go out of their way to specifically mention that they want to know about. Since it's a Class C, it might not show up on your record if it's out of a court that does a poor job of reporting to DPS. But if you don't want to have to worry about it again (and you don't, it's a theft charge) then you need to get it expunged. If you don't mention it, they might not find it on a background check. If you do mention it, they might not appreciate your honesty as much because the underlying charge is a theft, which is a crime of dishonesty. But if you don't mention it and they do find it, you won't be getting whatever it is you are applying for. This is why you need to have had it expunged yesterday, but certainly shouldn't wait any longer.

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