Criminal Record?

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dragonguy
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:09 pm

Criminal Record?

Post by dragonguy »

I have a misdemeanor DUI (driving under the influence) on my record, from the states, which does show up on an FBI background check . It was from my college days over 20 years ago but still embarrassing and something I know, as long as I’m in education will follow me forever. Luckily it’s never cost me a job I’ve wanted but here’s my question...

My Search Associates Rep. told me not to put it on my Search profile and let the hiring school know about it once I’m offered a job. Good advice? I’m not sure but I did take that advice and it worked out fine for me on my first IT go around. Sucky way to start a relationship, though.

I’ve read about similar threads on the forum; there have been some topics about “state or local level background checks”. My arrest was from a different state than my current residency, not sure if it would be worth getting a state or local background check, that will come back 100% clean. I have heard some schools/countries don’t require that it comes from the FBI. True? Untrue? I’m OK with being a little dishonest as long as I’m not doing anything illegal. Are there countries and regions where this infraction would be a deal breaker, I’m think the middle east perhaps? I don’t want to waste my time if I wouldn't be able to get hired or get a visa. Any admin or principles that see background checks like this on a prospect, which causes you to hesitate?

Thanks for your time and feedback.
sand_fan
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2015 7:17 am

Re: Criminal Record?

Post by sand_fan »

See if the state you got the DUI in has a program suppress the conviction. I am familiar with a similar situation that was wiped clean. Involved going back to the courts where the conviction happened and then taking the approved form to the state and whoosh away it went and within a few days it was gone from the FBI report. The state said the incident no longer needed to be disclosed. Your mileage may vary depending on the state.
sid
Posts: 1277
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:44 am

Re: Criminal Record?

Post by sid »

Excellent advice from dragon!
If that doesn't work, I recommend disclosure in advance, perhaps during the early minutes of an interview. Some countries (many in the Middle East for a start) will not issue visas to anyone with a record, including even a DUI, and there's no point in wasting your time or theirs going through interviews and reference checks when the result is a foregone conclusion. I've been the interviewer in similar situations, and fully respect the prompt disclosure of a youthful indiscretion, presented briefly and plainly with clear (but not histronic) regret.
Good luck.
PsyGuy
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Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:51 am
Location: Northern Europe

Response

Post by PsyGuy »

I wouldnt agree with your associates advice, i understand their position and it is a risk. If you dont disclose it and its discovered you just gave your IS a free, use at any time dismiss you for cause at any time, not because of the offense but because of your failure to disclose it. Federal FBI criminal clearances werent available to the public until relatively recently, and they are not intended for anything other than personal review. I would advise getting a state and local background check (and one from the state your certified in) and not disclose. Many ISs will accept basically whatever you give them as long as it looks official and meets their time requirements. If a savvy IS does insist on a federal (FBI) background check just tell them it will take 6 months. Many ISs wont wait that long and will just accept what you give them.
ISs care about two things when it comes to CRB/DBS checks they want to make sure you arent a threat to children and that you meet the visa/work permit requirements.

Expungement is also an idea, but procedures and availability vary greatly by state. You may be able to get a true expungement but you may only be able to get a "restriction" which means the offense is still available to LE and since the FBI check is personal review it may still list the offense. You will also likely need to have the court records, arrest and jail records sealed. ISs are using online CRB agencies that can be very in depth.
lostintranslation1
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2015 1:07 am

Re: Criminal Record?

Post by lostintranslation1 »

As a Head of School, in 4 different countries, I have encountered this twice.

1, A new teacher was honest and said he had a criminal record upfront, it was for a drunken binge on his graduation night and he smashed a window. Fine was accepted and no further issues.

2, Was a bit more complicated, it came to light that one of my staff had not supplied a full Disclosure only Basic Disclosure, which only gives unspent convictions. On investigation, it actually showed that this person had three convictions for Fraud and had spent a number of years in her majesty's prisons. Although many of the convictions were to run concurrently, the total number of years was in double figures. I fired that person immediately, what would parents say if they found out, should it come to light. Also the person tried to cover it up with a basic Disclosure.

Best advice, be upfront and admit your error, better that way than waiting to be caught.
Nomads
Posts: 152
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:08 pm

Re: Criminal Record?

Post by Nomads »

Given the recent events around the world, more and more schools are requiring FBI fingerprint checks. All the new teachers this year at my school are required to get one. Their contract is contingent on the report coming back clean.

I would agree with the others who are advising you to come clean with the school. I would wait until you know they are very interested or even offered the job and then explain the situation.

As an administrator, if a 20 year old DWI was the only issue, it would not be a problem. If I learned about it later, I would have a significant problem and would probably terminate the contract due to non-disclosure. It is an integrity issue for me.

Alan
PsyGuy
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Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:51 am
Location: Northern Europe

Discussion

Post by PsyGuy »

@lostintranslation1

The issue I have with your examples in case number 2 is that no amount of advance disclosure would have mitigated the seriousness of those convictions. Even if the applicant claimed to have reformed they were for fraud, meaning the applicant could just be lying to you. This applicant probably had no practical recourse but to attempt to conceal the previous convictions. The reality is their career as an IT is over.
teachbynumbers
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2015 12:22 pm

Re: Criminal Record?

Post by teachbynumbers »

I too have a criminal history. My local police department gives a printout of my history and it doesn't look good. My history relates to driving when I was in college. I had two Driving Under the Influence convictions along with several Driving Without Privileges as I kept driving while I had a suspended license. No excuses and no stories. I've been lucky I guess because I have been teaching overseas for almost 15 years without any incidents in the countries I lived in. So now there is significant time between my last offense. I've checked to see if a Google search turns up anything and nothing appears. But after these charges in Jakarta, IS are ramping up their background checks and I'm looking to move schools.

Any ideas of getting around this or do I have to look over my shoulder for the rest of my teaching career for some stupid acts in my college days?
PsyGuy
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Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:51 am
Location: Northern Europe

Reply

Post by PsyGuy »

@teachbynumbers

Its the same as the above advice, in your scenario after 15 years with just driving convictions and a solid background its better to just disclose. ISs dont request your CRB until the point that they have either offered you a vacancy or are in the process of doing so. I wouldnt disclose until that point.
teachbynumbers
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2015 12:22 pm

Re: Criminal Record?

Post by teachbynumbers »

Agreed, I won't disclose. However, I am in the process of interviewing for a decent school that is affiliated with Western embassies. I am afraid that If I do accept even after disclosing I will be cut loose because of these convictions.
PsyGuy
Posts: 10053
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:51 am
Location: Northern Europe

Reply

Post by PsyGuy »

@teachbynumbers

You may be dismissed when and if the convictions become known. If you disclose you become very unmarketable at anything that isnt a bottom tier 3rd tier IS, you may get lucky, but you will need a lot of luck (the good kind). At a certain tier level its not about finding the best candidate but about reducing the applicant pool from a large number of very indistinct candidates who are very similar, at which point trivial differences such as 20 year old traffic convictions become nothing more than a rational for making the interview list manageable. If you have 500 qualified and competitive candidates for one vacancy, who are all very similar, if one of them comments in their cover letter they once took a cookie out of the cookie jar when they were 8 behind their grand mothers back, then Im binning that candidate, because 1) I cant trust them around cookies, and 2) I cant interview 500 candidates.

You should also be aware that once you disclose you can never take that back, you may well get hired and then find out that your HOS mentions your criminal record in your reference letter or in a followup referal, and it would have no malice or ill will, they would be reminiscent and potentially liable if they did not divulge known criminal activity and something were to happen.
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