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What to answer for criminal part of job application?

Jacksonville, FL |

I'm filling out a job application and I've come across these questions: "1. Have you ever been convicted of, pled guilty, no contest, or nolo contendre to a crime? 2. Have you ever been charged with a crime and placed on court ordered probation, had ajudication withheld, or entered a pre-trial intervention program?" In 2009, I was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, property damage, and failing to yield making a turn. I was never arrested and went to criminal traffic court and my record states "plea of nolo contendere... adjudication of guilt withheld" (are they different?) and charges were dismissed and I completed traffic school. What exactly do I write for these answers? I understand to be honest but what about if charges were dropped?

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Attorney answers 4


in the State of Florida LSA is a crime. In your case there must not have been any bodily injury and just property damage because that is the only way that it can be a misdemeanor (albeit a criminal traffic misdemeanor). The FTYield is a traffic infraction and not a crime. The fact that you were not physically taken into custody does not mean that you were not arrested (as, technically, you were - but you were issued a cittion / summons / notice to appear rather than being cuffed and hailed off to the pokey).

If you are to answer your question accurately then 1) is a "yes" and 2) is also a "yes" (it appears that you pled no contest and received a withhold of adjudication on the LSA and the FTYield was either dismissed or not, I can't be certain). That said, I would answer honestly and consider adding an explanatory addendum to your job application explaining the situation and perhaps even including a copy of the Court docket. (I suggest this because many employers will be satisfied with open honesty and the fact that your "crime" was, on the sliding scale of criminality, a -1.)

Either way I'm wishing you the best of luck.

First, second and third: No attorney-client relationship exists by virtue of any Q&A with Michael A. Haber, Esq. on Avvo. Fourth: Anything that you post on Avvo (or on similar sites) or on any social media is by its nature public. It is essentially an admission / confession and can be introduced into evidence as a statement against your interest in a subsequent legal proceeding. Once posted you lose any reasonable expectation of privacy, so, as this is an open forum (with no privilege attached), please be extra careful when considering what to post online (forewarned is forearmed.)


I agree with Michael Haber's answer. I would suggest however that if this the extent of your criminal history and the case was ultimately dismissed, you should consult an attorney about having this matter expunged. Once expunged, by statute, you can truthfully answer these questions "No."


You stated that you went to criminal traffic court and that your record states plea of nolo contendere. This means that you were charged with a crime, pled no contest and had the adjudication withheld. The charges were not dropped under the conditions you stated, you pled to them.
My firm handles cases with similar charges and to me it sounds like you attended traffic school in order to receive a withhold. Also the charges seem to be all misdemeanors.
This means if a job asks if you have ever been convicted of a crime, technically the answer is no. You were not convicted, because adjudication was withheld. If a job asks if you were ever charged with a felony, answer is no. However if you were ever charged with a misdemeanor under the facts you stated the answer is yes. Like the other lawyers stated, if this is the only charge on your record, you should get it expunged. If you did that, when a job runs your background check the charged should not show whereas if they do it now (most jobs do background checks these days) it will come up on your record. If you didn't answer the questions regarding convictions correctly, most employers will believe the you were untruthful and will not give your application any further consideration. Many Jacksonville criminal attorneys including the Law Office of Jason Snyder handle expungements. They can range in price, we charge on the lower end however the most I've ever heard of a fellow lawyer charging was $750. Then you never have to worry about background checks again. Also if I or another attorney knew your name we could look you up and know exactly what happened with your case.

The legal information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Being general in nature, the information provided may not apply to any specific factual and/or legal set of circumstances. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. Information provided by me is general in nature. As a result, no answer given is intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney to whom you have disclosed detailed information, especially an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.


I agree that candor is the key, and that you were arrested, you were charged with a criminal offense, you did enter a plea nolo contendri (which mean no contest. No contest was a plea that admitted the charges but for reasons other than admission of guilt.). However, when the court withheld adjudication, that means they declined to convict you of the charge, so you should have no convictions. Apparently the other infraction was dropped.

I write only to say that I do not believe that on these facts you can have the record expunged. You can only petition the court to expunge a charge that was dropped. Since the LTS charge was not dropped but reached a disposition, it is only eligible to be sealed (still a worthwhile thing to do) but not expunged; there is a distinction i can explain if you wish to arrange a free consult.

I would obtain several certified dispositions from the clerk of the county court where this occurred and have one ready to either attach to an application or show to a prospective employer in person, and to bring to a local attorney to get a consult on the costs and benefits of sealing that record.

Good luck.

The above is provided for educational purposes only and is not legal advice nor makes you a client of the Mosca Law Firm, PA. Please consult with a lawyer in order to obtain confidential legal advice that is tailored to your specific situation and facts.

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