How should I answer a job application question when I was charged with stealing but it was amended? 58 Answers as of July 08, 2013

The application asks if I have been convicted of any crimes within the past 10 years. Two years ago, I was charged with Possession of Stolen property but the charge was amended to littering and I paid the fines for it. On the application, I agreed to a criminal background check. I have had one done before and the company said the criminal history report indicated that I was arrested on the charges of stolen property, but not what action did the police take. Should I answer this question yes, because if when they do a background check it will show the arrest, or no because I was not technically convicted of stealing but of littering? P.S. I am trying to work in a pharmacy, I know stealing will not look very good at all, but I am trying to turn it around.

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Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
If you were convicted of a crime which you have not had expunged, the answer of course is yes. You should indicate only what you were convicted of however and not what you were intiallly charged with.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/13/2012
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
That's a challenging question. If littering was a civil infraction, then technically, it's an adjudication and not a conviction. Usually, "convictions" are terms applied in misdemeanor and felony matters. If you need specific legal advice, I'd recommend you retain a lawyer to assist you. Generally speaking, applicants may have more success disclosing some basic facts about the situation that will be found in routine check rather than attempting to be deceptive or deceitful about the situation. Specifics usually aren't necessary. However, it is very difficult to completely seal-out any record of an arrest. Background checks available to the public are becoming more comprehensive. If an applicant explains the basics of a situation, at least that way the employer can make their own determination without suspecting that the applicant is attempting to withhold information from them.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/6/2012
Burdon and Merlitti
Burdon and Merlitti | Adam Van Ho
You should answer that you were convicted of littering and put the case number down. If your employer asks any questions about the original charge, you may want to have a copy of your court paperwork ready to show that you were actually convicted of littering, not possession of stolen goods. The other suggestion for you is to see if you can get the entire case sealed/expunged so that this problem does not keep coming up when you are trying to find a job.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 2/6/2012
Robert Mortland
Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
You can always file an expungement under 1203.4(a) for this case. However, you will have to explain the situation if you are applying for a state license. In your case, you should be as honest with them as possible but it is a good idea to consult with an attorney first.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/1/2012
Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
Truth will not get you the job.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/27/2012
    The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC
    The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC | Patrick J. McDonnell
    Assuming the charge of littering that you were convicted of is only a violation or lesser offense, you may honestly answer "no" to the question "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" A crime is a misdemeanor or felony.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/27/2012
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    What I would do is get a copy of the charging instrument as well as the final judgment and sentence and fully disclose that way because criminal record checks are confusing to most companies.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/27/2012
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    You were technically convicted of littering, so that is how you should answer. However if your background checks are through a law enforcement agency, then law enforcement will always have access to all arrests, so everything you've ever been arrested fro will show up. That will include any arrests for stealing, or arrests for possession of stolen property, even if the prosecutor later changed the charges to something else.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 1/26/2012
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    If the question asks about arrests then answer it as to arrests, but you said the question asks about convictions so then just list what convictions you have.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    Myles Hahn III Attorney at Law | Myles Hahn III
    You and only you make the final decision of whether to disclose it or not. It is possible to check the court file. You could contact the Clerk of the Circuit Court at the court which you went to. You can ask to look at the file. There is usually come sort of record or log of what happened each day. This might confirm the dismissal of the theft charge and the sentencing on the littering charge. You could also get a certified record (you must pay for it). One way to respond would be to state everything on the application (i.e. a theft charge was started at first but was later dismissed). The wording on applications for different employers can vary. Some want to know about "convictions"; some limit their inquiry to a number of years back, such as "Have you pled guilty to a criminal offense in the past 5 years". Some only ask for felonies. It is possible that an employer could receive incorrect information from the background check. State Police and FBI databases usually show even arrests (such as an arrest for theft). The safest way to proceed would be to disclose everything that happened. There is no guarantee that disclosing or not disclosing will work better for you. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    For now I would answer "yes" and explain what happened but you should look into having that conviction vacated and dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    Hammerschmidt Broughton Law
    Hammerschmidt Broughton Law | Mark A. Broughton
    Answer yes, you were convicted of littering. But you should get the exact code section to make sure that this is what you were convicted of, and if it was a misdemeanor or an infraction (like a traffic ticket, fine only), you should be specific so you can accurately minimize the impact.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    Harrison & Harrison
    Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
    Reply that you were convicted of littering. If the employer asks, tellthem that you were charged with possession of stolen property but the charges were dropped.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    You need to go to the County Clerk's office to get a copy of your criminal history to see what is on it. If you were not convicted of stealing, then you can honestly answer no, but is littering a misdemeanor or just a civil infraction? In some places it is a misdemeanor.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    Honesty is generally the best policy. If the arrest will show on your background check, then tell what happened. It will look worse if you say no and they find it on a background check. Also, with some companies, lying on the application is grounds for discharge.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    Many people take their chances and answer "no" in this situation. However, if a previous background check turned up the case then that's a scary chance to take. That said, lIttering is only an infraction which does not count as a criminal conviction. Therefore, you could honestly answer that you have NOT been convicted of anything. If the arrest is found then all you can do is explain that, even though the police arrested you for possession of stolen property, the charge did not stick and hope that is enough.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    Attorney at Law | Dorinda Ohnstad
    You only report actual convictions, if they ask about "convictions." If asked about the arrest you tell them the possession of stolen property charge was dismissed.If application asks about arrests you list the arrest, but note that charges were dismissed or reduced.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Of course, you have to say you were arrested for possession of stolen property, but there should be a space to explain what happened with the case. If not, put an asterik by the question and attach a type written explanation that the case was amended to mere littering. You might think of going to the clerk of court in the county of jurisdiction and filing a motion to expunge or seal this arrest. Because you may have been convicted of a crime, although I am not sure littering can be classified as such, you at least can get this sealed whereby no one but law enforcement agencies or the court system would even know of this arrest. It may be worth your time and the small amount of money to get this erased or sealed off your record.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    H. Scott Basham, Attorney at Law, P.C. | H. Scott Basham
    Get a certified copy of your conviction for the lesser offense from the court where it occurred. That way you can show any potential employer that in the end you were convicted only of littering.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    Your case was not 'amended' to Littering. you may have plead guilty to Littering which is not a crime, it is a violation. Since your case was not dismissed, employers will see that you were arrested for Possession of Stolen Property and assume that you were guilty but were offered a reduced plea. You will be able to explain the circumstances and show that you were not guilty if possible. you can explain why you were not guilty of a theft crime. Your attorney can help you to get the documentation to show your innocence if that was the case. You are going to have a problem since employers are not likely to hire anyone with a history of dishonesty.You need to show that you were not guilty if possible.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Cannot use an arrest alone as a basis for not hiring [I know the proof problem]. You were only convicted of littering.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/20/2013
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    In this matter I would answer that you were convicted of littering. I would also go get a copy of the court docket for the case so that you can show the conviction was for littering, if asked.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Law office of Robert D. Scott | Robert Scott
    You should answer yes, that you have been convicted of littering.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    Your answer should be "no".
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/20/2013
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    If the littering charge that you paid a fine for was a civil infraction (and not a misdemeanor) then you should answer "no" because you would not have been convicted of a crime.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    The Law Office of Cindy Barton
    The Law Office of Cindy Barton | Cindy Barton
    You should answer that you were convicted of the littering. You should also do an expungement so that none of this is an issue.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Robert Valles and Associates P.C.
    Robert Valles and Associates P.C. | Robert Valles Jr.
    You say yes to the littering, but you were not convicted of theft or possesion of stolen property. I would answer no, but was your amended plea to a class c?
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Myles A. Schneider & Associates
    Myles A. Schneider & Associates | Myles Albert Schneider
    I believe you answered the question for yourself, some questionnaires ask about "charges" while others ask about "convictions." Hence, if you were not convicted of a crime, then your answer is no. Be aware, however, that large organizations check the public record, in other words, be ready to answer additional inquiries.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Rogoway Green, LLP
    Rogoway Green, LLP | Douglas Green
    Assuming that the information you provided is 100% accurate, then you can answer the question about convictions, "No.". Technically, a conviction for littering (if it was a violation and not a crime), is not a conviction of a crime. The issue is that if someone performs a background check on you and this case shows up, how will the prospective employer react? If you were arrested for stealing but not convicted , then you have provided a technically honest answer. However, others may see that differently and you may need to explain yourself. The other option is to be up front about the whole situation. The answer to that question is not a legal one per se and one that you have to answer for yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Raiser & Kenniff, PC
    Raiser & Kenniff, PC | Steve Raiser
    Since the application asks, if you've ever been convicted of any crimes within the past 10 years." You can simply say no as long as you were not in fact convicted of any crime. No explanation is required.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    I am not sure how to answer questions on the application, but you do need to look into having this matter non-disclosed. Littering is a Class C offense in most circumstances. If so, an order of non-disclosure will be available, and if it was charged as a Class A or B misdemeanor, we can look into it, particularly if you ended up with a deferred adjudication. An order of nondisclosure will stop any source from putting your this on your record and sharing it with any other source. In other words, it will no longer show up because it is sealed similar to a juvenile record.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    If asked if you were arrested you should advise that you were. If asked if you have been conviced answer that you were not. Always tell the truth on a job application failure to do otherwise will likely prevent you from being hired or may result in termination.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
    You should answer truthfully but amend your answer with an explanation. Not disclosing and then having them find the arrest is far worse than getting out in front of the issue.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    DeVito & Visconti, PA
    DeVito & Visconti, PA | John E DeVito
    You should answer the question asked. If it asks if you were convicted you should state "no". If it asks if you have ever been charged with a crime then you must answer and explain. If they do a background check and then question you, then youshould disclose and explain what happened. You should also have available a certified copy of the Court Docket Sheet which will show the amended charge and the dismissal of the Receiving Stolen Property charge. Your other alternative is to attempt to seal your record.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    You can have the record of the arrest expunged, in which case you can honestly answer the question NO. This process will take anywhere from 30 to 60 days under typical circumstances. If this is not practical to do now, then you should be honest and answer truthfully, you may have the opportunity to offer an explanation.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Law Office of Christopher G Humphrey PC | Christopher G Humphrey
    I would tell them what happened, why it was amended. In wyoming, they go to the court and pull the charging document. if it is ten years old they may still give you the job. Legally speaking, you are only convicted of what you pled to. I tell my clients that honesty is the best policy.
    Answer Applies to: Wyoming
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    Since one is innocent until proven guilty, questions about arrests are unconstitutional and you can honestly state that you have no criminal convictions. More importantly, you should hire a lawyer to Petition to Expunge your old arrest a.s.a.p. so that this is never an obstacle again.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin | Daniel K Martin
    That question should be answered in the negative, or no you have not been convicted because the charge was amended.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Law Office of Richard Southard
    Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
    Being arrested is not the same as being convicted. If you were arrested for a criminal charge and plead guilty to a violation, not a crime, then you do not have a criminal record or criminal conviction and you can answer no. Best to get a copy of the certificate of disposition of the case so that if it does show up again, you can show what the end result of the case was.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    You were convicted of littering, so you must admit the conviction. But if it asks have you ever been charged, then you have to admit the original charge. Kindof a judgment call for you though. If you admit, you don't get the job, right? But if they find out, then they fire you? Really your decision is whether you want to get the job and let them see if they can find anything on you. If anyone asks, tell them it was a big misunderstanding and let them know your side of the story of the charge.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    It is always best to tell the truth. If the questionnaire asks: Have you ever been convicted of a crime, your answer would be "yes, for littering". That conviction should not disqualify you, but if you lie on your application and they find out, that most certainly will cost you your job.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    You would answer yes, you have been convicted, of the offense of littering. You may want to look at trying to expunge the file since the arrest offense does not coincide with the conviction offense.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    Regardless of what you were charged with, if the question is asked what were you convicted of, then littering is the answer. If the original charge comes up on a background check, hopefully you will be afforded the opportunity to clarify that the original charge was dropped or reduced to littering, and that will satisfy the employer.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Meyer & Kiss, LLC | Daniel Kiss
    I have had a lot of clients face this problem. I think you should answer the question by saying you were arrested for the stolen property offense but it was reduced to littering. The employer will find out anyway. If you front the information first, it gives you the chance to appear forthcoming instead of claiming later that you didn't think you "technically" had to answer. In a way, the question is a test to see what you are willing to be honest about in the first place. They might not give you the job. But I think they'll fire you later if you don't divulge what happened and they have to find out what happened from the background check. By then, they'll be less interested in any explanation you might have.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    Littering is not a crime in most (if not all jurisdictions) so it would appear you have not been convicted of a crime. There is, by the way, a mechanism to request to have your arrest deleted from your record so it won't appear on background checks.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    The Rogers Law Firm
    The Rogers Law Firm | Andrea Storey Rogers
    You should answer that you were convicted of littering. You pleaded guilty to a charge of "littering" and that's the only conviction that will be on your record.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    State what you were convicted of (and never what you were charged with as this is irrelevant).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/20/2013
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    If the question asks for "convictions" - you may honestly indicate littering as a conviction. If it asks if you were ever charged with an offense, you may be required to disclose the nature of the original charge.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    You need to answer that you were arrested and plead guilty to littering.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    You could go to the municipal court and get a certified statement of the disposition of the case and keep it in case there is a question raised by the background check. If the question is whether you have been convicted of a crime, littering is not a criminal offense. It is a petty offense which is less than a criminal offense. You might consider expunging your record. It would seem that enough time has passed to apply for an expungement.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    To give you an accurate answer to this query I am going to have to be retained (i.e., paid). I would have to pull the criminal records to see what you were charged with and what you plead to, and take a look as the specific query on the application in order to advise you on how to truthfully answer.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/8/2013
    Law Office of Matt Vititoe
    Law Office of Matt Vititoe | H Matthew Vititoe
    If the application asks whether you we're convicted of stealing or not, then you can truthfully answer "no". If it asks whether you were arrested or charged, you must indicate that you were.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    LynchLaw
    LynchLaw | Michael Thomas Lynch
    Your approach sounds solid. Many people are charged with crimes only to find out the original facts were exaggerated. If the question is about convictions, you can honestly disclose the conviction for mere littering. However, if the conviction was plead as a misdemeanor, and the time for probation has passed, you can expunge that conviction and feel confident in declaring no convictions.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Law Offices of Steven R. Hunter | Steven Hunter
    You should investigate having your record expunged, or at least sealed. Until you do so, your arrest will appear on your record even if you were not convicted.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    The Purnell Law Firm
    The Purnell Law Firm | Simon Purnell
    The truthful answer in this situation is that you have not been convicted. In order to avoid the problems associated with the background check, you should have your record expunged which should be available in the situation you are describing.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/24/2012
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