How to Get a Job if You Have a Criminal Record
Are you seeking employment, but worried that your criminal record may be an issue? You’re not alone. The National Employment Law Project suggests that 65 million Americans (that’s 1 in 4) have arrest or conviction records that may haunt them when they apply for a job. While you have no control over past mistakes, you can control how you conduct yourself and how you conduct your job search. Knowing your rights, as well as hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you, can help you get the fresh start you deserve.
Know what employers will consider. Generally, employers will look negatively at any criminal activity including arrests or convictions for misdemeanor or felony crimes. However, some crimes can be looked at with greater scrutiny such as:
Read the application carefully. While you are required to be honest about your background, you do not need to offer more information than necessary on a job application.
- Does the application ask if you have been arrested or convicted? If the application only asks for convictions, then you do not need to disclose arrests that resulted in a dismissal. In addition, if you received a withhold of adjudication on a plea, you do not need to disclose that fact because it is not considered a conviction under Florida law.
- Does the application ask if you were arrested or convicted of a felony? If so, you do not need to disclose arrests or convictions for misdemeanor offenses.
- Does the application give a time range for criminal arrests or convictions? If so, you do not need to disclose arrests or convictions that occurred prior to the time range they are requesting.
- Did you previously have a charge sealed or expunged? If yes, then you do not legally need to disclose that on the application.
Know which offenses are on your record. You can search your record in several ways:
- Local criminal records searches are generally public records and can be found at the county clerk’s website. For example, if you are located in Miami, you can search your criminal records for free at https://www2.miami-dadeclerk.com/cjis/casesearch.aspx
- State of Florida criminal records can be searched through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement at https://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Criminal-History-Records/Obtaining-Criminal-History-Information.aspx. The cost of a search is $24.
- Nationwide criminal records are required to be searched through the FBI at https://www.fbi.gov/services/information-management/foipa/requesting-fbi-records.
If you can seal or expunge your records so they don’t come back on an employer’s background check, do it.
In Florida, you can expunge, seal or otherwise "hide" your criminal record. Once your record is sealed or expunged, it's as if the crime never happened. Afterward, you can legally say to your potential employer, that you were never charged or convicted of a crime.
- If your criminal case resulted in a nolle prosse, dismissal, no action, judgment of acquittal, or not guilty verdict, then you are eligible to expunge or destroy your records.
- If your criminal case resulted in a plea of guilty or no contest and you received a withhold of adjudication, then you are eligible to seal your records.
- Not every crime is eligible for sealing or expunging. The list of eligible or prohibited crimes can be found under Florida Statutes 943.0585 http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0900-0999/0943/Sections/0943.0585.html and Florida Statute 943.059 http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0900-0999/0943/Sections/0943.059.html.
- You are also not eligible to seal or expunge if you have been ever adjudicated guilty for any offense at any time in your life or previously been granted a petition to seal or expunge at any time in your life.
Contact an attorney to ask whether or not an offense can be sealed or expunged from your record. You are more than likely not a lawyer. The law is complicated and sealing or expunging criminal charges can be the difference between you getting a job or not. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Call Hubbs Law in South Florida
At Hubbs Law, we have a proven track record of success is having previous convictions sealed and expunged from criminal records. If you would like more information or would like to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorneys, please contact our Miami-based law firm at 305-665-9040.