How To Seal Or Remove A Drug Charge
When you are applying for a job, you may be asked to fill out a form to give permission for your employer to perform a criminal background check. The employer discovers that you have a prior drug charge on your record and declines to hire you. Fortunately, there are ways you can handle this situation in the future to reduce the odds that your employer will refuse to hire you.
Dismissing the Charges
If your case was dismissed, you may be surprised that the drug charge appeared because it should not still be on your permanent record. However, some private companies that record criminal charges may fail to update your official criminal record to reflect that your charges were dropped. The best solution is to explain to the employer that your case was dismissed. Also, you should ask your employer to notify the company with whom they consulted and these companies will usually make the necessary changes after they have been notified.
Explaining the Dismissal
If your employer knows you had a charge dismissed, explain the situation that led to you being arrested for drug possession and explain why your charges were dismissed. If you were innocent, such as if drugs were found in your possession, but they belonged to someone else, your employer is more likely to be sympathetic to your situation. Explain that you do not use drugs. Then, explain what you learned about the situation. For example, if your spouse was a drug addict and you convinced him or her to enter into treatment after being arrested for drug possession, this could further make the employer sympathetic.
Sealing Your Record
If the drug charge was your first offense and you receive a withhold of adjudication, you should contact a lawyer and he or she may be able to have your record sealed. After the record has been sealed, you can legally deny that you were convicted of a drug charge. A withhold of adjudication is when you are placed on probation, but are not formally convicted.
When You Can't Remove the Past
Sometimes, there is nothing you can do. For example, if you took a plead deal, the charge will likely remain on your permanent record. The good news is that a misdemeanor is not considered a serious crime like a felony. Therefore, if you were only charged with a misdemeanor, many employers will be willing to overlook this.