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Criminal Law Blog

What You Need to Know About Job Hunting with a Criminal Record

July 22, 2022

A criminal record can affect your ability to obtain or keep a job. Depending upon the type and the severity of the charge, you may be permanently prohibited from working in certain professions or with certain demographics. Even if you conceal your criminal history on a job application, it will be revealed when the employer does a background check. 

Why You Should be Honest

Because a background check will reveal any criminal history, you should be honest and upfront with any potential employers about what your criminal past includes. You may have an opportunity to explain arrests or convictions in your own words, including any mitigating circumstances that may make the employer sympathetic. You also have the opportunity to explain how you have learned from the experience, and assure the employer it won’t happen again. If you lie on your application and the employer later finds out you have a record, you likely won’t be given a chance to explain, and the employer may not trust you at that point.

What Background Checks Reveal

Most states make criminal background information publicly available to those who request it. Employers can use a website called PACER, or Public Access to Court Electronic Records, to find court records that reveal any court proceedings that you have been a part of. Companies that perform background checks for employers are also going to quickly and easily uncover that information. In some states, a potential employer will even have access to your arrest records for the past seven years, so even if you weren’t convicted, you may still be at a disadvantage when job hunting.

How to Succeed

While you don’t need to over-explain your past, you should have an answer prepared for questions about your criminal history. Many applications will even give you a chance to explain after self-disclosing. Have an answer prepared that is succinct and assures a potential employer that you have moved on from your past, and won’t repeat the same mistakes.

If you have been charged with a crime in Arizona, you are entitled to representation. Janet Altschuler has 20 years’ experience defending clients from misdemeanor and felony charges, including assault, robbery, drug charges, and more. To set up a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 520-247-1789 or 520-200-5003.

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