Were you arrested, charged with a crime, such as DUI or assault, convicted then served a sentence following a trial in a Louisiana court? If so, you're certainly not the first and will not be the last. No two situations are the exactly the same and there are even situations where police errors or other glitches in the system lead to convictions that should never have occurred.
Regardless of what particular incidents led to your conviction, if you fulfilled your sentence, you have every right to do whatever you can to get your life back on track and moving toward a successful, happy future. Unfortunately, others who have lived through similar experiences in the past say it's not always as easy as it sounds. For instance, many people have trouble getting jobs because prospective employers cut their interviews short or don't even extend invitations for interviews once they learn of past convictions.
Should you be forthright about your record?
It's understandable that being unable to obtain gainful employment might cause you frustration and on some level, and even anger. After all, you paid your dues, did everything the court required and received the go-ahead to resume your daily life routines, leaving everything on your criminal record in the past. This might leave you wondering whether you should even tell prospective employers about your conviction. The following facts might help you decide:
- It is an employer's responsibility to ask about a criminal record. A prospective employee is not obligated to proffer such information unless asked.
- That said, it is illegal to not disclose certain types of convictions when asked in writing or verbally by a prospective employer to do so.
- It is typically a good idea to obtain a copy of one's own criminal record before applying for jobs to be fully aware of what information is contained therein.
- Every conviction has a rehabilitation period attached to it, which typically affects the legalities of disclosing a prior conviction to an employer upon request.
In some situations, an expungement prevents past convictions from public disclosure. Whether you are eligible to file for one depends on various factors. This process does not as much remove text from your criminal record as much as it seals whatever is contained therein from being available to others. Some people, such as law enforcement officers and court officials would still have access to your record.
Most Louisiana employers are looking for honest workers. Lots of people have found that by being forthright and letting potential employers know of any past arrests and what they've been doing since then to improve their situations creates trust between themselves and those for whom they hope to work. While it's not likely necessary to tell an interviewer every detail of the events that led to your conviction, giving the most basic information necessary might convince him or her there is little to no negative risks involved in hiring you.
If a particular problem arises during the interview process regarding discrimination or other personal rights violations, consultation can be sought with a defense attorney for support.