Increase Your Job Prospects by Clearing Your Criminal Record
A prior criminal conviction limits the employment opportunities of virtually any job-seeker. At the very least, it can be the deciding factor between candidates with identical credentials. According to the California Employment Development Department, the number of unemployed people in SoCal currently outnumbers advertised job openings nearly two-to-one. While the unemployment rate has remained relatively consistent, the number of job postings has decreased 9.9% over the past year. With 32,282 less positions available over the last year, it is more important than ever to increase your marketability for future employment.
If a criminal conviction is preventing you from seeking employment, there are legal options available to clear your record and help you put the best foot forward.
The Application: Disclosing Arrests and Convictions
The information required to be disclosed differs between an arrest and a conviction. An arrest is taking a person into custody according to California Penal Code Section 834. A criminal conviction is the act or process of judicially finding someone guilty of a crime; the state of having been proven guilty. Black’s Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014.)
If you were only arrested, you do not need to provide information about the arrest to your current or future employer. California Labor Code section 432.7 says that an employer cannot ask someone applying for a job for information about an arrest or detention that did not end in a conviction. An employer is also not supposed to look for any record of arrest (from any source) that did not end in a conviction. If this information comes to the employer’s attention anyway, the employer cannot use that record as a factor in hiring, promoting, or terminating that person. But this same code section says that the employer may ask an employee or someone applying for a job about an arrest for which he or she is out on bail or released on his or her own recognizance pending trial. A conviction, for purposes of this code section, includes pleas, verdicts, or findings of guilt.
Furthermore California Labor Code Section 432.8 prohibits asking a job applicant (or an employee) about convictions for minor marijuana offenses that are more than two years old.
California employers can inquire about criminal convictions on job applications. If a conviction is on your record, then you MUST disclose it or risk future loss-of-employment.
How Expungement Helps in the Private Sector
Under most circumstances, private employers cannot ask you about any convictions dismissed under California Penal Code section 1203.4. When applying for a job in the private sector, you generally DO NOT have to disclose a conviction that has been dismissed or expunged.
How Expungement Helps in seeking Government Jobs
For questions by government employers or on government licensing applications, if you are asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime, you MUST respond with “YES—CONVICTION DISMISSED.” In California, government employers and licensing agencies (except for police agencies and concessionaire licensing boards) will treat you the same as if you had never been convicted of any crime.
To learn more about the expungement process, download our free e-book here and contact our office today to discuss options for improving your future.
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