What to put on the “background” section on a resume if I was given deferred adjudication?

UPDATED: Oct 11, 2011

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What to put on the “background” section on a resume if I was given deferred adjudication?

I was charge with credit card abuse 6 years ago. I was placed on deferred adjudication and completed this 3 years ago with no problems. On the “background” section of a job application, what should I be putting there? Also, during a phone interview, what should I say when asked about my background? I have read several things and all these things have different answers.

Asked on October 11, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You’ve probably read different answers to this question because the answer varies depending on how the question is worded on the job application or the interview.  If the job application asks you whether you have ever been convicted of a felony, you can honestly answer “no”, but a deferred adjudication means that a finding of guilt was withheld and never actually convicted.  If the job application asks for arrests and any results of arrests, then you should honestly answer:  that you were arrested and placed on deferred adjudication.  Many job applications used to limit their inquiries to “have you ever been convicted of a felony,” but more now also specifically include:  “….or been placed on deferred adjudication for a felony offense.”  So the most correct answer to your question is:  it depends on how the employer asks the question on the application or during the interview.  Another factor is how your case was eventually disposed.  You mention that you were on deferred and completed the deferred.  If the judge entered an order of dismissal, you can also answer that your case was eventually dismissed—but only if the final order was actually entered.  You should also consider running a criminal history check on yourself through the Texas DPS website—this is the data base that most employers will rely on to check your answers.  A criminal history is very inexpensive and you’ll know for sure what information is being distributed about you.  You want to make sure that the criminal history actually reflects what happened so that you will not be accused of falsifying your application/responses.  If you are concerned that this arrest and deferred will hinder job opportunities, you should really consider an order of non-disclosure.  The history does not go away for law enforcement purposes, but employers will not be granted access to that part of your criminal history.  To successfully complete a felony probation is an accomplishment.  The laws have recently been amended to actually make it easier for you to recover from haunting criminal histories through non-disclosure orders or expunctions.

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