background check concerns...help??

jd17884

Earning My Ears
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
I was just offered a professional internship with Disney in the spring 2020 semester. I'm very well qualified for the position and was really excited to start working in the area...until I got an email asking me to fill out a "pre-background screening disclosure". A few months after getting out of high school in May of 2014, I fell in with the wrong sort of people and began smoking weed and partying like most other idiot freshmen in college. In May of 2015, a friend and I were detained for a simple possession (less than 1 gram of marijuana) and the possession of drug paraphernalia (a small homemade bong). I was not formally arrested and fingerprinted, and I was let go at the scene of the crime with a ticket and an order to appear in court. I successfully completed pre-trial intervention and both charges were expunged from my record. In other words, I'm fairly certain I was never convicted of a crime, as I was never placed under arrest and my case never went to trial. I have completely turned my life around since this event...I'm graduating magna cum laude from my institution very soon.. I have extensive experience in my field and all of my professional and academic references can attest to this.

But now, this pre-arrival background disclosure has me very worried. The exact verbiage of the disclosure says "Have you ever been convicted of, or pleaded guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) to, a crime (felony or misdemeanor) other than a minor traffic violation? NOTE: A DUI is NOT a minor traffic violation. NOTE: having a conviction dismissed does not necessarily mean it will not appear on your criminal record. NOTE: You must disclose a plea of guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) even if adjudication was withheld".

Like I mentioned, I was never convicted of anything...but I'm still very scared that the fact that I was charged may still appear on my federal RAP sheet. According to my state law, "No person as to whom the order [to expunge charges through pre-trial intervention] has been entered may be held thereafter under any provision of any law to be guilty of perjury or otherwise giving a false statement by reason of his failure to recite or acknowledge the arrest in response to any inquiry made of him for any purpose". From what I understand, this means that I'm legally still in the clear if I respond "no" to the question on the pre-arrival background check.

I've basically spent the last 5 hours reading horror stories on reddit and on the WDW boards, where some people have literally gone to their first day of training and then been dismissed days after starting due to failure to disclose their criminal background. Some people have had the exact opposite happen, where they disclosed petty misdemeanors and everything worked out fine. I am just absolutely terrified of ruining my chances with this position...I don't want to disclose anything I don't have to, but also don't want to screw myself over by not disclosing relevant information.

Anyone have any advice for someone like me??? I am so worried that I'm going to lose this job :( It's driving me absolutely crazy.
 

RogueX

Earning My Ears
Joined
Aug 21, 2019
My advice is yes, disclose it. I Although it was expunged from your record, if this shows up in a background check and you weren't forthcoming, it will look worse.

While not a crime, I had to disclose defaulting on federal student loans for my job or I would not have been able to start my job where I work.
 

marcyleecorgan

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
Expunged means it should no longer be on the books and you dont have to disclose the nature of the expungement.
 
  • Jimmy Mouse

    My other car is the Monorail
    Joined
    Sep 3, 2017
    You can find out the same thing Disney will find out when they pull your record. Just go to your local police Department and purchase a complete criminal history report on yourself. It should cost $5-10 and you can read it for yourself and see if anything shows up.
     

    sethschroeder

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 24, 2013
    Contact a lawyer located in Florida. Possibly see if your university even has access to free legal counsel.

    In certain states its illegal for general employers (like Disney) to access expunged or sealed convictions. Don't take my word for it though get a lawyer to outline the requirements under the law and what Disney would be able to access/review.

    This is a much bigger "issue" than just this application process so it would be good to know how you should handle it moving forward. I personally have 0 things on my record I am just going based on what I have read in the past.
     

    BaymaxFan78

    Childless Millennial
    Joined
    Mar 10, 2019
    I think you're better off putting it on there and being honest instead of not and risking them finding out
     

    Lorip1006

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Sep 15, 2019
    Hey JD, I feel for you. This is a great opportunity. Who of us haven’t made some poor decisions in our youth? Please keep us posted on your decision and how it turns out. Wishing u the best!!
     
  • Beer Me

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 3, 2014
    Not an expert, but I know anecdotally that it’s possible for an arrest can appear on a background check even without a conviction.

    However, the form asks if you were convicted, pled guilty or no contest to a crime. If I understand your situation the answer is “no”. Technically an arrest without conviction shouldn’t matter.
     

    Kaleidodad

    Librarian Mickey
    Joined
    Apr 3, 2018
    The accurate answer to the question as you quoted it above is "no." They can follow up for more information if something turns up in their check, but you are not obligated to do anything but answer the question honestly.
     

    phinz

    Special
    Joined
    Apr 24, 2006
    I was a background investigator for over a decade. If you have an expungement you have no duty to report. That said, if you decide to disclose, I would explain that it was sent to pre-trial diversion and expunged from your record. We never held a person responsible for actions that had been expunged, disclosed or not, and we had a couple of expunged records still show up on the background check, albeit they were recent expungements.
     
  • Donna M

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 8, 2008
    Always be careful with information that you give out. Get your answer from a lawyer. Expunged means it is cleared and Disney shouldn't see it, but I'm not a lawyer.
     

    dtchgrl

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 11, 2010
    In our state when you do a first offender program, you are actually pleading nolo contendre to the charges and then if you complete the program and probation the case is considered dismissed as a final disposition. In my state, it is not fully "expunged". (YMMV). So if your state is similar, the answer would be "yes" you have pleaded nolo contendre, with final disposition of dismissal. In details section you would explain and note what you said about turning things around etc
     

    dsanner106

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 3, 2003
    The entire point to having diversion programs and record expungement is so that people get a clean start with no record. You have nothing on your record so no, I would not report it. If something by chance shows up ( and this happens all the time even when innocent people get someone elses records mixed with theirs) Disney will give you what they found to explain. If you have any fear, go to the local police department and ask to see your record, simply explain that you need to be certain an expungement has taken place. Our police charge nothing for that, others might but put your mind at ease.
     

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