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Deferred sentence and being a teacher

Pueblo, CO |

Had a deferred sentence in the State of Montana for possession with intent to distribute marijuana. This was in 2001. I am now considering being a teacher. Will this show up in a FBI background check?

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Attorney answers 3


The arrest will show up, but no conviction. You may be able to seal the arrest, but check with a Montana lawyer to make sure. In Colorado, a couple years ago, our legislature made it possible to seal low level felony possession cases (not distribution). I was the first lawyer to do this successfully in Arapahoe County. Finally, note, that certain jobs, which have an impact on "public safety," can ask more sensitive questions than a normal company. They can ask if you've ever been arrested for a crime. They can ask if you ever completed a deferred sentence or had a case sealed. So, do your homework before you fill out the application. Good luck, John.


Your first step would be to contact an attorney in Montana and get that case sealed. However, that doesn't solve your issue. Many state employers ask specific questions about someone's criminal background. Without the case being sealed, it will show up on a background check. It will show up as you being charged and the case being dismissed, likely through a deferred judgment and sentence. But the answer you give to the employer is equally important. If the question asks if you've ever been charged with a crime, you have to answer yes. If your case is sealed, however, depending in the status of Montana law, you can likely answer that question negatively if the record has been sealed. In any event, if the employer question is "have you been convicted of a crime, a felony or misdemeanor", you can answer that question in the negative as well, sealed record or not. Pay specific attention to the question being asked, and by no means volunteer any unnecessary information.

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Yes it will as the arrest records have not been sealed. If you successfully completed your deferred, you can petition to seal your records. However there are notice requirements and legal burden you're required to meet. An investment in an attorney to handle this for you would likely be well worth it.

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