Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ithaca Lawyer How to Get a Job with a Prior Arrest or DWAI/DWI Conviction History

It's Inevitable, they will check.  from

These days getting a job or a position that you would enjoy long term can be difficult. You've probably invested a great deal of time, money, and effort in getting an education (degrees, training, internships) and now the hunt is on.

The road ahead is filled with job applications, background checks, and fearing the worst (nobody wants you) of outcomes. Now imagine if you have some baggage to take on your trip. Baggage as in prior DWI or DWAI or ADWI arrests, convictions, and a history of behavior you are not proud of.

First, don't fear. You amongst a large club, those with worldly experience and the scars to prove it. Many employers are used to seeing even the most accomplished (academically) Ivy League grads with tainted histories of marijuana, alcohol, and other drug related convictions.

Three Part Preparation is the Best Plan of Action

ONE: Obtain a Certificate of Disposition

I believe you must plan in advance of your journey to be ready to address any concerns. You should obtain a Certificate of Disposition from any Court you have had a conviction. In New York State following any conviction the Court must file what you began with (initial charges) and the final outcome. Remember that convictions are defined in NYS as both non criminal and criminal offenses. Convictions can be following a Plea of Guilty or a finding of Guilt after a trial (they are the same legally). Get this certified (stamped, sealed, signed) document from the Court of Conviction (where you went for your case).

Why is this important?

Most of the Courts will categorize (classify) using a M for misdemeanor and a V for violation. This is nice to show to prove you do not have either a criminal conviction (as in Violation level) or a misdemeanor that is not a Felony. Felonies are the worst of criminal convictions. Most violations are sealed (shielded) in NYS but not soliciting a Prostitute or DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired).

New York DWAI will show up on an FBI background check. It will not state that it is a non criminal violation. Most people (employers) will think it is a criminal DWI.

TWO: Full Disclosure

I believe with either DWI or DWAI Full Disclosure is the best policy in 2013. It is just too risky to think it won't show up or come up somewhere. Transparency is genuine, authentic, and in my mind a better strategy to winning over a future employer.

THREE: Your Drug/Alcohol Evaluation/Assessment

The name of the game is risk management. Are you a risk? Are they taking a chance investing in you?Allaying fears is in your best interests early on. Showing and proving you are stable and healthy goes along way to calm fears.

Human Resources wants to put this document in your file, why? so that they can say that they did their diligence in checking you out and confirming you are safe. If there is no investigation into prior problems or issues (as to your ability to be responsible) they might be in for a lawsuit based on negligent hire if you screw up later on.

Hypothetical to Ponder: You get a bank job or financial services position. What if in a drunken or stoned haze they claim you released the Social Security numbers of policy holders, financial accounts, or sensitive passwords?

So just three easy steps, two documents, and a simple paradigm. I think you accomplish three things here,

1. establish a connection
2. create trust
3. earn confidence

It just feels good to get that job!  from

All the best in finding the job/position of your dreams (now make sure it isn't also one of your nightmares).

Lawrence (Larry) Newman

Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney and Counselor at Law