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How should I answer the criminal history question on an employment application?

Tampa, FL |

I am attempting to apply for a job with a university, the following question was on the application. "Have you been convicted of, pleaded no contest to, or had an adjudication of guilt withheld for a felony or first-degree misdemeanor? If yes disclose details."

How should I answer this question? If I am required to answer yes, then what of the below must I disclose?

In the State of Florida:

In 1998 I was arrested for two felony charges. I pled NOT GUILTY. The case against me was later dropped and my co-defendants were charged. My records show a disposition of NOLLE PROSSED.

In 2001 I was arrested for felony DUI. I pled NO CONTEST. I believe the result was ADJUDICATION WITHHELD to a lesser charge of misdemeanor wreckless driving. Oddly no record of this case exists.


I found the information above via a free search on hillsborough county clerk of court website. I also checked traffic citations and found nothing, although the traffic search may only be for un-adressed citations. All of the above charges show up as arrests on the sherrif's office records website.

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Attorney answers 3


Anything you found on a records search will be found by others who check up on you, so you were smart to check on yourself, first.

The felony charge you describe was dismissed and not prosecuted. Therefore, it was not a conviction or adjudication withheld, and you do not have to disclose it on your job application.

However, you still have the problem of the fact that a record check will show that you were arrested and initially charged. Be prepared to give a clear explanation of what happened because it's reasonable to think that a potential employer will ask you about this.

The second case - the DUII - involved a plea of "no contest." Therefore, you must disclose it based on how the question on the job application is worded.

I urge you to immediately contact a licensed Florida attorney to ask the following questions:

1. Can your DUI case be expunged? In many states, DUI charges cannot be expunged, by law. Find out the Florida law.

2. Can your record of arrest for the felony charges be expunged?

Be aware: Many job applications, especially for government jobs, include language on an application stating that you swear to the truthfulness of your answers. If you misrepsent your record and your misrepresentation is discovered, you could face new criminal charges.

Good luck.


Your Florida DUI cannot be sealed or expunged by statute. Nor can your felony arrest be expunged since you have a withhold for reckless. The reckless, and the record of your felony arrest, may be sealed, however. Sealing preserves your record but hides it from everyone but government agencies, licensing boards, and others permitted to see sealed records. A sealed record MAY even be visible to a university, but I am not sure.

As for the application, you must disclose the DUI arrest and the plea of no contest to the reduced charge of reckless. Reckless driving is punishable by up to 90 days in jail making it a hybrid charge somewhere between a 1st and 2nd degree misdemeanor. Be safe, and disclose. Just because you can find no record of this charge does not mean others will have the same problem.


You don't have to disclose the felony case, it was dropped. You don't have to disclose the reckless driving conviction either, it is a second degree misdemeanor. Even though you were originally arrested and charged with more serious offenses, the results of those cases is what controls your answer on the application. You had some excellent results on your cases and you should be extremely thankful to whomever your attorney was.

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