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Will being on GA 1st Offender Probation hinder my ability to find work?

Atlanta, GA |

Was never arrested. Had a private warrant issued and appeared in court. Ended up pleading first offender. Received 3 yrs 1st offender probation for felony theft.
1. While on 1st Offender Probation, will this show up on an employment background check?
2. Once 1st Offender Probation is completed, will anything show up on employment background check?
3. Are there any careers/fields that I will have to avoid with 1st Offender Probation?

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

Should you complete your probationary period under the First Offender Act in Georgia, a few things you will be entitled to receive:
1. I written order discharging you from the offense
2. An order directing The Georgia GCIC to screen your criminal record from all except law enforcement.
3. The satisfaction of knowing you have never been convicted of the crime charged.

NOTE: NONE OF THE ABOVE HAPPENS AUTOMATICALLY, NOR WILL ANYONE DO IT FOR YOU FOR FREE. SUCH SERVICE IS SE;DOM INCLUDED IN WHATEVER FEE AGREEMENT YOU MIGHT HAVE HAD WITH YOUR ORIGINAL LAWYER AND DO NOT PRESUME HE OR SHE WILL EVEN KNOW HOW TO GO ABOUT ACCOMPLISHING THE FOREGOING ON YOUR BEHALF.

I am an attorney, practicing throughout the state of Georgia, but primarily in the areas around Augusta, Statesboro and Savannah, Georgia. You may review more information about my practice by going to: http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/30809-ga-elmer-young-540135/reviews.html. The information I am providing you should only be considered for your general knowledge and educational purposes. Consider it as a good first step in your knowledge acquisition, but not as legal advice. Indeed, any information I provide is based on the extremely limited facts you have provided and new facts could substantially alter any answer or reply. My opinion should be understood to apply only to the laws of the State of Georgia. You should always consult with a local attorney about your situation if you live outside of the State of Georgia.

Posted

I have never heard of a defendant entering a plea to a felony without being arrested first. If there is no arrest including fingerprints, photograph, and being booked in, there would be no record of the charge with GCIC and FCIC (the criminal background check sources.) However, assuming there was a plea to felony charges under 1st offender, there would be no "disposition" on your case until you either complete probation or have a probation violation wherein the sentencing judge could decide to revoke your 1st offender status and resentence you. If you successfully complete probation without any problems, the probation officer will send a discharge to the district attorney's office explaining you completed probation. At that time, your criminal history will reflect a "Case Dismissed, 1st Offender Completed." This cannot be expunged. Also remember that while on probation you cannot carry firearms and cannot vote. When you complete probation, your civil liberties are restored.

Asker

Posted

Ok I understand that this cannot be expunged. However, SOLELY for the purpose of employment background checks, will this be visible to them? I was told that record of my First Offender completion would only be available under certain circumstances (law enforcement,etc).

Michael Anthony Edmunds

Michael Anthony Edmunds

Posted

When a prospective employer runs your background check, the arrest and 1st offender completion will be provided to them you cannot limit this to law enforcement review. From my HTC Sensation 4G on T-Mobile. The first nationwide 4G network ----- Reply message ----- ---------------------------------------- This email was sent by: Avvo, Inc. 1501 4th AveSuite 1900 Seattle, WA, 98101-1588, USA We respect your right to privacy - visit the following URL to view our policy. ( http://click.mail5.avvo.com/?qs=e62a9ea28e39261121f3602dbd3262ab5a08642f2c95403d074137c1274b7b6e3598ea77edef8977 ) ----------------------------------------

Asker

Posted

So even with completing the 1st offender felony theft probation, I will not be able to find a professional office type job (accountant, attorney, etc) bc this will show up on any employment background check. Is this correct? I appreciate your help. I was just confused bc my attorney assured me that this wouldn't limit my employment prospects and would only be visible to law enforcement agencies.

Posted

One thing that hasn't been clarified regarding employers vs. law enforcement. Completing First Offender does result in you NOT Being a convicted Felon and while you are on First Offender probation you are not a convicted felon. If you fill out an employment application and it asks if you have ever been convicted of a felony you can honestly answer NO.

The disposition may not even appear on a criminal background check from employers. Different agencies doing background checks have different levels of visibility in GCIC. So someone doing a standard background check for employment does not see the same stuff that say the District Attorney or Police Department would.

However, even without considering all the GCIC stuff, it is still possible for thorough private companies to find out criminal information. Public records are still available that may document your arrest or charges like Jail records (maybe not in your case), court records, news articles, sleezy websites who post about arrests online and then charge you to remove it, etc. So First Offender does not protect you from all that other information that may still be obtainable by 3rd parties. It just means you aren't a convicted felon and people won't see it on your GCIC record.

Legal disclaimer: Brian Tevis is licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia. All information given is based only on Georgia law and is not directly applicable to any other jurisdictions, states, or districts. This response, or any response, is not legal advice. This response, or any response, does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information. Any state-specific concerns should be directed to an attorney who is licensed to practice law in that respective state.

Asker

Posted

The Ga FOA is a confusing law is you ask three 12 lawyers the will only quote the law in actuality from personal experience you are considered a convicted felon until your probation is done it will show up on a background check not on the GCIC website but others cause GCIC your local court house has made it public (sold it !!!) to third part vendors and they even say this on the website and when you call and ask they will tell you you are a convicted felon until your probation is finished personal experience, and even after your finished with probation you have to call your probation officer if he or she still works there and and remind them to file the paperwork which takes another 4 to six months to get threw all the proper channels and then it shows up on a background check first offender so you you can't get it expunged you might want to take a chance and go to trail the GA FOA seriously needs to be revised

Asker

Posted

Sorry about my spelling touch screen phone did what it wanted to do but I'm sure you understand what I typed

Brian Chiles Tevis

Brian Chiles Tevis

Posted

I'm sorry, anonymous, but your comment is 100% INCORRECT. You are NOT a Convicted felon while on first offender probation. The disposition will show as a first offender disposition and NOT a conviction. Additionally, all of the court records (unless sealed) are PUBLIC records. ANYONE can get a copy. They are not "sold" to any third parties. The third parties can gather them on their own just as any citizen may obtain court and arrest records.

Brian Chiles Tevis

Brian Chiles Tevis

Posted

I'm sorry, anonymous, but your comment is 100% INCORRECT. You are NOT a Convicted felon while on first offender probation. The disposition will show as a first offender disposition and NOT a conviction. Additionally, all of the court records (unless sealed) are PUBLIC records. ANYONE can get a copy. They are not "sold" to any third parties. The third parties can gather them on their own just as any citizen may obtain court and arrest records.

Brian Chiles Tevis

Brian Chiles Tevis

Posted

I'm sorry, anonymous, but your comment is 100% INCORRECT. You are NOT a Convicted felon while on first offender probation. The disposition will show as a first offender disposition and NOT a conviction. Additionally, all of the court records (unless sealed) are PUBLIC records. ANYONE can get a copy. They are not "sold" to any third parties. The third parties can gather them on their own just as any citizen may obtain court and arrest records.

Brian Chiles Tevis

Brian Chiles Tevis

Posted

I'm sorry, anonymous, but your comment is 100% INCORRECT. You are NOT a Convicted felon while on first offender probation. The disposition will show as a first offender disposition and NOT a conviction. Additionally, all of the court records (unless sealed) are PUBLIC records. ANYONE can get a copy. They are not "sold" to any third parties. The third parties can gather them on their own just as any citizen may obtain court and arrest records.

Asker

Posted

I beg to differ counselor from my personal experience and every case is different until you get of FOA probation according to GCIC and the chief of probation in GA your are considered a convicted felon who can vote I challenge you and any of your colleagues to do a three way call with a client who is currently serving on FOA Probation and GCIC tells you otherwise once again speaking from personal experience you cannot get FOA expunged because it would defeat the purpose of getting FOA in the first place it would come off your record that you ever had any thing with an expungement tried it! And to conclude counselor I understand that whole thing you say about public records etc etc but I'm sure that compaines that do background checks are not sending out employees to gather this info from every court house in every county keep it real with the people who are asking these questions cause I asked and did the research Background check compaines pay for the information to post on the websites that's how it's gets out so fast your local court house GCIC GBI ETC gets money from compaines that do background checks. What's the purpose of getting the record sealed after they have sold it already? It's out there and once it is all GCIC will tell you is to contact your attorney. Once again personal experience!

Brian Chiles Tevis

Brian Chiles Tevis

Posted

I think what you are trying to say is that as a person who was charged with a felony and then took a first offender plea, you feel as if others still treat you like a felon. There is no remedy for that unfortunately. However, the LAW does not treat you as a convicted felon. You can still vote. You have not lost your rights (other than to possess firearms while you're on probation) and you are not a convicted felon. There is no magic wand that erases the fact you were arrested and information was gathered in that arrest. That information can be obtained showing an arrest, but you will never have a conviction if you complete first offender. There is no expungement for ANY offense if you are found guilty or enter any kind of plea. If i'm arrested for a felony and take a plea deal to a misdemeanor, that arrest still shows on my record. The law is not concerned with arrests. It is concerned with convictions. If you get arrested, and people know about that, and treat you differently because you were arrested, there is no cure for that. But you are not a convicted felon. While it can certainly be helpful to people seeking information on AVVO for you to include your personal experiences (Bad or good), I think it's a bad idea to give LEGAL advice based on your personal experience and it was incorrect to say while you are on First Offender Probation you are a felon. The law says you are not.

Asker

Posted

But to answer the persons question, YES it hindered my job searches and with the way the language is written in the GA FOA it might hinder yours as well most compaines don't just ask if your were convicted of a felony any more they now also ask if you have had any deferred convictions and if so explain. Some other states are rewriting their FOA for this reason Bose speaking company for example ask the same but if you were giving FOA treatment that you you can check no in that box other compaines don't know anything about it they just go to the next appplacation so yes check with your attorney get ready to pay another retainer as well.

Asker

Posted

Glad you commented on that counselor although the GA FOA LAW states that I am not a convicted felon the agencies that are suppose to follow and that are governed by the law say and treat me as if I am???? Hmmm...

Asker

Posted

Case and point I'm making I guess is if the GA FOA did what it was suppose to do I don't think that people would be on this site asking questions about it after they have completed it so to whom it may concern ask your attorney questions !