Having a criminal record can make getting a job harder. Low-level offenses like shoplifting might not appear on a background check, depending on how the check is run, but if you are asked about prior offenses or the shoplifting offense involved stealing items of substantial value, the offense might be on your record and might stop you from getting a job. The Salt Lake City theft lawyers at Overson Law explain how shoplifting charges can hurt your chances of getting a job and how to get your record expunged so employers won’t use it against you.
Will Employers Hire Me with a Record of Shoplifting in Utah?
Any prior criminal conviction can hurt your chances of getting a job. Some employers will ask about criminal records on their job applications, and many employers will automatically skip any applications where the applicant revealed they have a criminal record. However, shoplifting – or “retail theft” under Utah Code § 76-6-602 – might be a low-level offense that employers will not ask about.
Typically, when a job application has a question about prior criminal activity, it will specify what kind of convictions the employer wants to know about. For instance, a job application might ask if you have any prior felonies, in which case you probably don’t need to tell them about prior misdemeanors. If they ask about prior misdemeanors and your crime was indeed a misdemeanor, you may need to tell them about your offense.
If a job does ask about prior criminal convictions, they will likely run a background check as well. If they run a background check and find out that you failed to tell them about a prior conviction on your record, most employers will deny your application by claiming that you lied to them. However, telling them about your conviction can seem like shooting yourself in the foot because they might deny you for admitting to a prior conviction. This can be an extremely difficult situation, and you might want to talk to one of our Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyers for help understanding how to answer these questions.
If you are honest and the potential employer does not throw out your application right away, you may be able to explain your prior charges. If your employer understands that an old criminal charge or a very minor case of shoplifting does not reflect who you are, they may be willing to hire you anyway.
Does Utah Have a “Ban the Box” Law?
Many states are working towards enacting laws that stop employers from asking about prior criminal convictions. In many states, job applications have a checkbox that asks you to check yes if you have prior felony convictions. It is less common for jobs to ask about misdemeanors, but this also happens. Utah has a “ban the box” law which makes it illegal to ask about prior felony convictions. However, this law only applies to state employers. This means if you are trying to get a job working for the State of Utah, they will not be allowed to ask. Otherwise, other employers are not banned from asking this question.
Getting Shoplifting Charges Dropped
If you are currently up on shoplifting charges and think that a conviction might hurt your chances of getting a job in the future, your best course of action is to work with a lawyer to beat the charges. While the charges you face might be low-level misdemeanor charges, this might still be something that a potential employer asks about in the future, so it is better to beat the charges in the first place.
There may be options in your case to have the charges dropped or dismissed in exchange for community service, participation in certain programs, and a period of supervision during which you cannot commit further crimes. Agreements not to prosecute or deals known as “pleas in abeyance” might allow charges against you to be suspended. During that time, the prosecutor or the court will ask you to complete programs or community service, pay restitution, and otherwise make amends for the shoplifting. If you do all of this without any issues, the charges might be dropped or reduced.
If your charges are dropped or dismissed in court, you will not typically have to tell an employer about them if they only ask about convictions, and you will not have a black mark against you when applying for work.
Getting Shoplifting Charges Expunged in Utah
If it is too late to beat the charges against you, you may already have a conviction on your record. For some, the conviction might be years or even decades old. If this is the case, it is unlikely that those charges give an accurate look at who you are today. Because of this, many older criminal convictions can be “expunged” and removed from your record.
Expungement in Utah is the process of erasing a criminal record or sealing the record to prevent people from seeing it on a background check. This makes it harder for employers to use your record against you and discriminate against former convicts. Talk to a lawyer about how you can get old charges for shoplifting expunged in Utah and what you need to do to get your record cleared.
Call Our Salt Lake City Shoplifting Expungement Lawyers
If you or a loved one has a prior shoplifting record, it can be difficult to get a job – especially if the record involves high-dollar theft. For help with your case, call our Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyers today. Our attorneys can help you fight pending charges, get old charges expunged from your record, and help you answer difficult questions about prior convictions and arrests on a job application. To schedule your free legal consultation, call Overson Law today at (801) 758-2287.