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I live in Maryland and have a second degree assault charge but its on step doc. will I get declined for a job when they run the

Elkton, MD |
Attorney answers 3


That's not really a legal question. Sure, you can get a job, but it may not be easy.

In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.


A background check will show it, but a stet (not "step") disposition is NOT a guilty finding or conviction. You are innocent of the charge; it simply means the charge will not be pursued and is on an inactive docket. How an employer might view that charge is anybody's guess, but if the job involves a lot of customer or client contact or working with kids, it may pay a big factor compared to, say, a construction job. Usually the prosecutor places a charge on the stet docket in exchange for your performing community service or taking an anger management class (which would be appropriate for an assault charge), but there may be other reasons, such as questionable evidence. If the charge has been on the stet docket for three years or more, then you are eligible to have it expunged, and then the charge will no longer show up in a background check (unless the employer is a federal agency using the FBI to do the background check--then an expunged charge can still be found). If it has been less than three years, and you have complied with all conditions of the stet docket agreed to with the prosecutor, then you may be able to get an early expungement by filing a motion and showing "good cause" why you should be allowed expungement sooner than three years. "Good cause" is not always easy to establish, but it is not a defined term. Simply avoiding it coming up on a background check would not, by itself, qualify as good cause in my opinion.


Whether you are an appealing employee to any potential employer depends on a myriad of factors, none of which are purely "legal." Depending on the nature of your prior criminal record, the sensitivities of the employer, and the nature of the position, your charges may be weighed heavily against you, or ignored entirely.

It is important for you to know that you have not been convicted. The "stet" docket is an inactive docket, where cases that have not been adjudicated are placed by the State's Attorney (after the defendant waives his/her right to a speedy trial). Relative to this "stet" you can and should tell potential employers that you have not been convicted.

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