Howdo Ianswer a felony question on employment applications, if the disposition shows “judgment deferred-no conviction”?

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Howdo Ianswer a felony question on employment applications, if the disposition shows “judgment deferred-no conviction”?

In 2005, I was arrested on a class C felony drug charge for possession. I pledguilty and under TN code 40-35-313, placed on 3 years probation with the opportunity for expungement. My probation is complete and the County Clerk’s Office shows my case as closed with a disposition of “Judgment deferred – no conviction”. I know my case will still show up on background checks, because I haven’t been able to pay off the court fees. How should I answer employment applications when asked if I was convicted of a felony? Can I assume now that probation is over I can answer no?

Asked on November 25, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can truthfully answer, "No" to any question regarding a conviction.  However your employer will still see that you were arrested and charged.  This will not increase your chances of being offered a position to say the least.  While typically it is illegal to use an arrest against a prospective employee, it does in fact make a difference in getting hired; an employer can just find another excuse as the reason that you were not offered employment.  Proving that your record was the reason may prove difficult, if not impossible.

You really need to get this notation expunged.  However, until you finish all terms of your probation - and this includes paying off any fines - you will not be able to do so.  I suggest that you borrow this money if you have to.  Until you can show a clear criminal history, obtaining employment will be difficult for you.


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