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Is having a criminal history an issue?

Is having a criminal history an issue?

Is having a criminal history an issue?

(OP)
  Hello, I am a freshman working towards a BS in civil. I am really focused and excited about my studies. My problem is four years ago I got drunk and ended up in an old shut down warehouse with a couple friends. Somebody called the police, and I ended up being convicted of burglary and criminal mischief (both felonies). Its the first and only time I've ever done anything like that. Will this affect me getting a job? I know I cant get security clearance, and probably not get into Canada. Any input would be more that appreciated.

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

Depending on the jurisdiction, you might not be eligible for licensing.  Kills a career in Civil.

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

(OP)
Thanks for the reply Ron. I live in Oregon, and I can get a PE here, but not in Washington. Are there other areas within engineering where having a criminal history might not be a deal breaker? You mentioned civil specifically, what about mechanical? Thanks again

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

I had to take my Florida Law and Rules refresher course yesterday.  So I have the regulations in a searchable format.  What it says is that applicants need to be of "good moral character." Plus any lack of moral character must be connected with the practice of engineering to refuse certification. There is nothing specific about felony or misdemeanor convictions.  
You're a freshman now and the "incident" is four years behind you.  By the time you graduate and are eligible for licensure it will be about 12 years past. So it will be old news. When it's time to apply they ask you about it on the application.  You answer yes and explain what happened.  If your record is clean from then until you apply, I suspect that they will be forgiving. I know it's a big gamble, but everyone makes mistakes, especially in their youth.   

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

(OP)
Thats kind of what I was hoping to here Jed. The Oregon rules for licensing ask if you have committed any crimes relating to engineering. Usually an application ask if you have been convicted in the last 7 or 10 years, so I might still be in the good. Thanks again.

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

If I were in your shoes, I would look into approaching a court to have the record expunged.

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

(OP)
Hokie66- I can't. The DA told me that if I pled insanity I would not have to go to jail, and I guess being young and drunk makes you crazy in Oregon. For what ever reason when you plead insanity you cannot get it expunged. I'm not happy about that, or crap I have had to go through. Do you crime you pay the time I guess.  

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

If that's the case, I've been insane in a lot of states.
What do you plead if you're old and drunk?

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

(OP)
Anything but insanity! Are you talking about Dui's?

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

(OP)
Dod is department of development?

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

That's an oxymoron if I ever heard one.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering
Motto:  KISS
Motivation:  Don't ask

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

(OP)
No kidding huh?  

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

You have been given advice that a plea of insanity takes away the possibility of expungement.  The advice may be incorrect or outdated.

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

On a previous job, one guy was walked out after a couple of days because he "forgot" to mention his armed robbery conviction. A bit more serious than the OPs conviction, but he may have had a chance to get the job, and keep it, if he had been honest in his application. The history is an issue, not listing it is more of one.

Peter Stockhausen
Senior Design Analyst (Checker)
Infotech Aerospace Services
www.infotechpr.net
http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=30064526&trk=tab_pro

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

A criminal record does not necessarily prevent you from getting a clearance (Department of Defense, naj), it depends upon the offense.  Armed robbery would probably be a non-starter, but criminal mischief may or may not get you there... what Class was the felony?  If it was a misdemeanor I would say no problem (with explanation), but a felony means you guys did some serious damage while you were in that warehouse.  Without proof that you were not really involved in much of that damage, it speaks to your character and will make it difficult to get a clearance.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

Were you convicted as an adult or as a juvenile.  In some states, juvenile convictions are not available, and the only thing anyone can learn is the simple fact that you have a record as a juvenile.

If you behave for a few years, you may be able to have your record expunged.

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

Were you a minor four years ago?  If so those records shouldn't be accessible to most anyone.   

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

(OP)
I was an adult when I was convicted, and they are both class C felonies. I contacted an lawyer about the expungement thing, and he verified that in this state (Oregon) it is not aloud. Its really a dumb rule. But they are property crimes, nobody got hurt and nothing was stolen. So basically I should be fine (given its been years with no other problems and I did not kill anyone), I just cant work for or contract to the government? Thanks for the input guys!

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

I wouldn't stress too much about the expungement.  Even if you got the record expunged, would you want to risk answering no to the "convicted of a crime" question on the application? So you would answer yes and say the record was expunged. If the record is still there, you emphasize the past history aspect, clean record since, etc.
It's not like you're running for president!  

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

"It's not like you're running for president!"

Running for president (and being elected) can be done with no experience!

 

"Wildfires are dangerous, hard to control, and economically catastrophic."

Ben Loosli

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

Don't have a joke with yourself.

It will always be an issue, it will always be something you will need to deal with and be judged on.

You will always need to disclose it up front to any employer in the future.

For security clearance an expungment will still need to be disclosed. However this crime may or may not bar you from a secutirty clearance as you did not commit the crime for personal gain (this makes a huge differance), when I worked at a job requireing a security clearance the persanal gain issue resulted in a denial, being stupid in youth or even a helraiser was not such an issue.

That being said, most older folk will understand the stupidity of youth. In thier day the cops would have sent em home with a kick in the pants instead of a criminal record for a one time offence.

In short, always disclose, and don't worry too much about it. Also make sure you do some interships and get some good referances while you are still in college.

Just my two cents worth.

A question properly stated is a problem half solved.

Always remember, free advice is worth exactly what you pay for it!  

http://www.ap-dynamics.ab.ca/

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

See if you can dig the hole a bit deeper....first you are charged with a felony and you plead insanity?  Neither of those will ever endear you to engineering employers or the public.  I think you got some bad advice along the way that will likely haunt you for a very long time.

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

Call my brother the lawyer (any good criminal lawyer) - I am the engineer in the family.  For a few hundred bucks - he can research your case and let you know what your REAL options are.

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

I used to work on security clearance approval.

I would deny someone with an insanity plea. Do you want crazies holding national secrets? (not that you're crazy)

I would not deny someone with a drunk and disorderly (depending on the actual incident).

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

Gump,

Would you deny the person out of hand, or would you take into account the reason behind the insanity plea?  It seems to me in this case the plea was used as a sentence reduction tool, not as a "The voices in his head were screaming" defense.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

If you wanted to have a employer overlook an insanity plea, you would be insane not to claim the reason for the plea as a "sentence reduction tool"

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

Wouldn't it also depend on the level of clearance being sought?  The lowest level of clearance is relatively benign from an investigation perspective.  Even character reference interviews are rather pro forma.  As WikiLeaks demonstrates, there are tons of people with clearances that probably already shouldn't have them.

However, Special Access and higher clearance requests get more scrutiny.  As the probable damage level for a leak increases, those custodians of such information have to have correspondingly better bona fides.

TTFN

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Chinese prisoner wins Nobel Peace Prize

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

Take MiketheEngineer's recommendation and talk to a lawyer about gettng an expungement or pardon.  If you were a minor there(now) may be some compassionate youth grounds to have the record removed.  

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

There should be plenty of jobs outside of the govt. by the time you graduate.  If you were to graduate right now, the bigger hold up would be there aren't many jobs available.

B+W Engineering and Design
Los Angeles Civil and Structural Engineering
http://bwengr.com

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

MacGyverS2000,

I would likely have rejected it out of hand, without considering the background information.  The liabilities are just too high, and there are plenty of willing applicants to choose from.   

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

najanaja,

So why didn't you try to get the conviction expunged?  At least make the attempt, even if it's denied.  You can always try for a pardon.

"Gorgeous hair is the best revenge."  Ivana Trump

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

I would work to get as much as you can removed from the public records as I could.

Insanity is a question that can come up on things that require medical certification for fitness, like a pilots license.  You may be found OK eventually, but only after spending a lot of money and enduring a lot of hastle.

Realize, that if you faint one time and proceeded to act on bad advice you may never drive again.

In the age of computers, as old records are harmonized into single shared databases that last forever, it can seem scary.

A lot of older records for minor stuff, once only on paper, simply got lost with time.  I suspect not any more.

You can get an idea how your records look by paying for a background check.  I know the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will run one for $35, bucks.  Also maybe a good idea if you are thinking of moving in with someone or marrying them.  There are limits to what a google search reveals.

Also, maybe try applying for a handgun permit and see what obstacles they uncover.

Maybe try voluntering to be an aux or volunteer police officer in your community, that might generate feedback that helps you understand where you stand.  Folks in the law enforcement trade may have connections that enable you to clean things up.

Also, if you are ever arrested again, I wouldn't rely on legal advice from the DA.  Maybe find someone that knows criminal law and has only your best interests at heart.

 

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

I have never had any of my private jobs do a background check on me.  From what I know they never even checked my degree or my past jobs.  I wouldn't lie about it, but I would also mention it to whoever is interviewing you.

From everyone that I have ever met in the Engineering field, they are pretty lenient and very understanding.  I would be pretty hard on who I hire, and your situation wouldn't bother me as long as you honestly told me what happened.  Honesty is key.

B+W Engineering and Design
Los Angeles Civil and Structural Engineering
http://bwengr.com

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

Quote (brandonbw):


I have never had any of my private jobs do a background check on me.  From what I know they never even checked my degree or my past jobs. ...

   How do you know?  
 
 

               JHG

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

I've read, heard a long time ago that if the crime is non-violent and done at a young age, you can get your criminal record expunged:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expungement

Tobalcane
"If you avoid failure, you also avoid success."
"Luck is where preparation meets opportunity"  

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

I would strongly recommend hiring a lawyer, and reviewing the State law for requirements for education, registration and practice as a medical mental health professionl. In many States it is illegal to have a diagnosis for mental health other than from a trained and registered mental health professional. Did the court have a pyschiatrist/psychologist verify the condition, or was this something done by a lawyer, DA or Deputy DA? If the State does not allow a lawyer or judge to make medical mental health care diagnoses, and no Court shrink involved, then you might have a basis for overturning and a BAR complaint against those involved.

I had to go to court for nearly the same matter for a relative-court, without benefit of licensed medical metnl health care provider performed diagnosis and attempted to handle prescription through Court order. That hearing lasted about 15 minutes, apologies and reprimands handed out, and done. Got everything I needed done, but would have been a lot less tense, and 10 minutes less, with a lawyer on hand with summons already written up for everyone in the court room.  

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

I also recommend getting it expunged. I've given a character witness to authorities for a reprieve, on behalf of a fellow engineer, despite the fact that I consider his crime highly offensive to me. I have a clean record and nothing in common, but don't think it should continue to keep him from continuing in life and trying to do the right thing, due to the stigma.

We are engineers and are paid to deal in objective matters. Our subjective and sometimes irrational conduct in our personal lives has no bearing on our performance in our work, and should not be considered by employers. That said, some of the most upstanding, church-going, upstanding engineers that I know are dogs once you get to know them. And they have no record. I trust the criminals more, because they are a known quantitity. :)

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

Quote (indme):

We are engineers and are paid to deal in objective matters. Our subjective and sometimes irrational conduct in our personal lives has no bearing on our performance in our work, and should not be considered by employers.
I strongly disagree... irrational conduct in someone's personal life cannot be completely removed from our business lives.  We're human, some crossover is to be expected.  What about that whackjob astronaut from NASA who drove for a day and a half straight (using Depends adult diapers so she wouldn't have to stop for bathroom break) to kill her lover's other lover?  Would you want that unstable bit working on your shuttle?

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

BTW - I am licensed in 42 states - not bragging - only asked twice to show proof when I went to get my rubber engineering seal!!

 

RE: Is having a criminal history an issue?

Given some of the drug dealing wife beaters that manage to get clearances to work on the Navy Research base where I live, then I'd say it wont by itself stop you getting a clearance though it may make it more difficult.

I know someone in another profession that got caught up with a bad boyfriend in her early 20's  Anyway, when he got busted for stealing some appliances & managed to plead down his punishment by blaming her (She's like 5'4" and may have been about 100lbs soaking wet at the time so the idea of her walking off with a full size refrigerator is pretty silly).  So the ever just/competent Bakersfield Police/DA locked her up for nearly the full 24 hours with no rest etc. then managed to persuade her to confess as 'for a first offense there would be no jail time'.  Well I guess the judge didn't agree, she got something like a month + and then a bunch of probation and had to pay for the home monitoring.

Anyway, most of her jobs have required a background check as she often works around kids and with the exception of one temp gig with the census folks it was never an issue.  

Not sure how directly relevant this is as she's no engineer but hopefully it gives you some hope and at least in your case you actually got the fun of doing the chrime you are now paying for!

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