How should I answer a question regarding a felony conviction?

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How should I answer a question regarding a felony conviction?

I was charged with a felony of theft by unlawful taking in 04/03 and completed probation in 07/06 in NJ. I was in violation of my probation and received 30 days of jail (day reporting) in 09/04. On the job application it asks have you been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony in the last 7 years? How should I answer that question? Also what will appear on the background check? The reason I am asking because I was offered a job and in the process of getting my record expunged.

Asked on April 2, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Well, the record expungement is not an overnight process and in most states, if you have been convicted of a felony, you pretty much have little to no luck of getting it expunged. So if the background check occurs at some point before your records are expunged, you need to figure out the exact timeline of the conviction and whether or not your probation violation counted as a misdemeanor or felony. This is something you absolutely need to review with the attorney who is helping with your expungement because it does make a difference on what winds up popping up on your criminal background check. If the felony conviction is expunged, but not the probation violation, it will raise questions. If both convictions are expunged, but not the underlying arrest records, that will raise questions. You certainly don't want to come off as being dishonest but you don't want to give more information than you are legally obligated to give to a potential employer.


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