In December 2009, the Bexar County (Texas) court granted me a petition for non-disclosure for a Class B Misdemeanor theft charge. I was told by my attorney that I was legally entitled to say I was never arrested. Unfortunately, since most companies use third party private databases, my arrest keeps appearing on my background checks.
I'm currently in the process of applying to a new job. My question is:
In the case that my charge comes up in the background check yet again, and I am questioned about it, am I supposed to say point-blank the arrest never occurred or explain to them that I was arrested, but had it sealed?
-Confused in San Antonio
1 Answer from Attorneys
It is a crime to use a criminal record when a petition for non-disclosure has been granted. There are some exceptions.
What you should do is get the name of the background check companies for the companies that have turned you down in the past. Then, contact those companies and send them a letter requesting that your information be removed from their system.Attach a copy of the order of non-disclosure. You may also want to ask those companies where they are pulling the information from so that you can contact that entity and send a copy of the order of non-disclosure. In addition, I would contact the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Bexar County District Attorney's Office, the Bexar County Clerk, and the police department that arrested you to make sure that they all have a copy of your order for non-disclosure.
In general, once you have been granted an order for non-disclosure you can answer the question regarding conviction and arrest that you have never been convicted or arrested for that offense. However, there are certain government agencies and jobs requiring certain licenses for which you cannot do that.
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