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Advice on countering a past charge


Andrew Marsh Phoenix, AZ

Over five years ago, I was living in Pennsylvania. I had moved within that state to another location to locate closer to my then current job. To make a long story short, I was invited out to celebrate with my friends and received a DUI later that night. My friends had to leave before I did and I found myself by myself. In that part of Pa, there are no public transportation options and only one taxi for the whole region. According to those state laws, I was stuck with getting a DUI for just sleeping in my car or driving back home. Obviously, I drove home.

I did what was ordered of me. Everything was completed on time and to the last cent. I have had no issues since or after- spare a speeding ticket. The charges were mandated to be expunged, but they still pop up. Especially, with Pa leaving the proof on the DMV records for ten years.

Since then, I have proved myself to be a honorable person and soldier ( Transferred from AD to NG before the issue). Part of the reason why I wasn't discharged in the first place. I have received full time orders consistently and have proved myself at those positions both on orders and on drill status.

My questions is- how do I counter my past transgression when applying for jobs?

This was my first and last criminal charge. Yet, I continue to reap the negative benefits of such. I have been denied regular civilian sector jobs to all levels of government positions because of this. I know what I did was wrong and I preach this consistently to soldiers and civilians alike. I let myself be an example, so others may learn.

20 February 2016 7 replies Career Advancement



Stacey Murphy Denville, NJ

Andrew, I agree with all comments above and especially James Hassett. I think how you explained it in what you wrote above was very to the point (especially your second and third paragraphs). If you do or participate in anything else that shows that you really learned from this experience (such as mentoring at risk youth, or participate in community activities that support positive choices) include those too. Demonstrating your honesty, ability to learn from mistakes, and ability to handle adversity with resilience will overcome this past transgression.
Best of luck, you will do great!

24 February 2016 Helpful answer


Gerald Thomas Tulsa, OK

I agree with James be very honest and do not rationalize it. If it has been a number of years you can consult with a lawyer to see if they can have it removed but this is not easy or inexpensive but I have seen it done.

23 February 2016 Helpful answer


Edward Lupin Sunnyvale, CA

You don't say if you attended AA meetings, or equivalent. I know you are probably not an alcoholic, but being able to state to potential employers that you have been sober for x years would be very helpful. People love to forgive a person who is making the effort to recover. If you still drink, stop, at least until you have gotten full time work, so you can answer truthfully.

22 February 2016 Helpful answer


Ken Bullard Denver, CO

Public and private employers are just a small piece of the work pie. And you may not want the piece once you get it: article: "Record numbers of veterans are getting jobs in the government — but a lot of them quit." In the private sector, employees are considered dispensable these days (companies leaving the US, demise of unions, foreign workers, etc.)

Also (the dirty little secret they don't tell you before you enlist) your military background can hurt you; they may use the scar on your record as an excuse not to hire "the veteran" (avoid women owned/women run businesses). Look at non-traditional ways of making a living (which is more likely to keep you employed anyway).

Look at self-employment, freelancing, running your own little business, that sort of thing. There are freelance jobs for everything from handyman to programmer. Check out this article: "Why Working for Yourself Is the New Job Security". Your workforce center can give you an evaluation to see what kind of work you're best suited for. Good luck.

22 February 2016 Helpful answer


James Hassett Jefferson, PA

As a former Human Resources interviewer the most important aspect of a potential hire was their honesty. Just be stratfirward, forget the details. Simply I made a mistake, completed what was required of me and mDexa commitment to do better. Your record, jobs, performance, criminal history, and references will show how you have led your life since then. Honesty without excuses is the best strategy.

22 February 2016 Helpful answer


LaVera Caston Plano, TX

First be truthful/transparent! Keep it simple! These background checks are overwhelming. Who is perfect? Who is perfect?
Everyone makes mistakes, even their children, or children's children.
If you see a continuous no hire!
Start on your own business and hire yourself. Help others / open doors for others who have made mistakes.


Jeremy Serwer Woodstock, CT

Hello Andrew --

In addition to the great answers already provided, I believe you can fight this: "The charges were mandated to be expunged, but they still pop up".

If it was a court or authority empowered to do it, a good lawyer should be able to help you actually expunge (delete from all records as if it never happened) these records. I want to emphasize that this is not impossible.

It may take time and a good attorney, but if you have records of the mandating authority that directed the record to be expunged, either an attorney -- or perhaps yourself, with a diligent letter writing campaign -- have the right to see those records deleted.

Good luck,


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