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S. Huband, Esq.
S. Huband, Esq., Attorney
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1627
Experience:  Experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.
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Approximately 3 years ago i was arrested and charged with Drunk

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Approximately 3 years ago i was arrested and charged with Drunk Driving. The District Attorney dismissed the charges pending community service and attending a class on drunk driving and because i had no previous criminal history. I am applying for a position with veterans affairs. On the job application the question reads, "During the last 7 years, have you been convicted, been imprisoned, been on probation, or been on parole? (Includes felonies, firearams, or explosives violations,misdemeanors, and all other offenses.)

I feel i should answer NO since i was NOT convicted, but part of me feels i should just write that i was charged with a DUI and charges were dismissed. What is the best way to answer?
Thank you for the opportunity to assist you.

Based on the facts you've stated, let's go step by step and see if any of the terms you've used apply:

Convicted: No. You were charged and arrested, but the end result was a dismissal. A dismissal is the opposite of a conviction. You were not convicted.

Been imprisoned: No. I assume you know whether or not you've ever had to serve time! If you've ever been sentenced by a judge to any active jail time, you've been imprisoned. Otherwise, NO.

Been on probation: MAYBE. If the court that did your DUI disposition had you do your community service through a supervising organization, such as a community corrections board, that could be considered probation. The application PROBABLY means probation as in, "I just got out of prison and I was on probation and had to meet with my probation officer the other day..." But, being supervised during the time when you were doing the community service component could be considered probation.

You could always ask what exactly is meant by "probation" because you're not sure what that term means. And that's the truth, too, since you have a general idea of the concept of probation but you're not exactly sure how they're using the term.

Parole: No. Parole only applies when you've been convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment, usually in the department of corrections of your state. If you've never served time, you've never been on parole.

So, what to do now?

Disclose
It may be best to play it safe and say "yes" to the question because of the probation issue. You can briefly explain that you did community service while on probation in exchange for having a charge dismissed. The logic here is to just be up front, spill the beans, and get it behind you.

On the other hand, why raise an issue and red-flag yourself for no reason, especially if you do not know whether or not you had "probation" within the meaning of the application? Ever heard the phrase, "Don't dig up a snake to bury it!" In other words, don't create an issue where one doesn't exist.

Don't disclose
If you choose NOT to disclose this and they run your criminal record or history, it will only show that you had a charge which was ultimately dismissed. They may or may not dig deeper and no one may ever be the wiser.

BUT, the problem is that people don't like surprises. If they DO find out that you did the DUI community service thing, and they DO considered it to be probation, then that could really put a damper on your job prospects because they may view this as something you were trying to hide or cover up.

I hope my response has been helpful. If you have follow-up questions or concerns on this topic, please ask. Otherwise, please rate my answer positively so that I can receive credit for my work. Doing so will NOT cost you any additional fee.

Take care,
Shuband
S. Huband, Esq. and 3 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Hello,

I was notified that you rated the answer I gave positively, and I am very pleased and gratified that I was able to help you. I sincerely hope the matter(s) we discussed turn out well for you.

Please ask for me in the future if you have additional questions or concerns. Thank you very much for the opportunity to assist you.

Take care,
Shuband