Ok, sorry for the dramatic headline, but it’s in reference to an article that I thought was worth sharing. One of my pet issues/concerns is the inability of folks who have been convicted to keep others from finding out about it. Not so much other people they may know, but people like apartment managers, licensing boards, the company that has that job you want, etc. Drug charges are a particularly hot topic for screening, and simply having a drug arrest can prevent you from getting a job, even if the drug case was dismissed! This leads up to my larger concern- the inability of those who have only been arrested, but NOT convicted, to keep that record private. Specifically, anyone who entered into a Deferred Adjudication agreement to resolve a case, which is a probation where the offense is dismissed (without a conviction) at the end of probation. Convictions can ALL be found in background checks, but entities have become more and more able to gain access to complete records which show not only convictions but, (surprise!) arrests. And sadly, not many screeners care about the distinction between a conviction and deferred adjudication- where there’s smoke there’s fire… so if you took deferred adjudication to avoid having a conviction, you may still be looked upon differently simply because they know you were arrested. In any event, the article is something good to chew on. Also, sorry for the plug, but it’s a good reason to hire a good drug lawyer or Austin jail release. Aside from a dismissal, or maybe a not-guilty verdict, there are other ways to resolve cases that will allow for full expunction later (which is where a court orders all records of the arrest, bond, booking, etc. to be destroyed). A good criminal lawyer can advise you of your options, and help you make decisions that may well affect your future for decades. Enough jabber, here’s the article: http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/CollegeAndFamily/Advice/WhatIllegalDrugUseCanCostYou.aspx
If you or someone you know has experience with this issue, I’d love to hear your opinion. Should drug crimes really be viewed the same as other crimes, particularly violent crimes? Should you still betreated as guilty even after completing deferred adjudication, or should you be deemed to have paid your debt to society? Just something to think about.