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Can an Employer Ask About an Arrest in an Interview?

October 30, 2020 Criminal Law and Procedure

People who have been arrested or have a criminal record are often worried about what a potential employer can ask during an interview. This is a complicated area of the law, and the answer to this question is unfortunately convoluted. An experienced Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney can guide what questions you may be required to answer and which questions you can legally decline. 

Misdemeanors Without a Conviction

Under Michigan law, potential employers may not ask you any questions concerning a misdemeanor arrest that did not result in a conviction. As a result, employers cannot ask you any questions concerning a misdemeanor arrest if your charges were dismissed or you were acquitted. 

There is one important exception – if you seek employment with a law enforcement agency, they can ask you questions concerning misdemeanor arrests that did not result in a conviction. 

Misdemeanor Arrests that Result in a Conviction

Unfortunately, employers can ask you about misdemeanor arrests where you were later convicted, even if you didn’t go to jail. This can include minor offenses such as disorderly conduct, reckless driving, trespassing, or vandalism. 

Felony Arrests and Convictions

Michigan law also permits potential employers to ask you about felony arrests, even if they didn’t result in a conviction. You could face questions about your arrest, even if the charges were dismissed or you were acquitted. And of course, it, therefore, stands to reason that employers could ask you questions concerning any felony convictions that you may have.  

You Have Rights

Thankfully, federal law prohibits employers from denying employment simply because they have a criminal conviction. They can only deny you employment if your arrest or conviction is related to the position for which you are applying. For example: 

  • A DUI conviction may be relevant if you are applying for a position as a delivery driver. 
  • A DUI conviction may not be relevant if you are applying to work as a bookkeeper.
  • An arrest for child abuse would be relevant if you apply for a job that involves caring for children. 
  • An embezzlement conviction would be relevant if you will have access to business accounts or petty cash. 

To avoid the situation entirely, you may also qualify to have your charges expunged. An Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney can help you navigate this process to clear your record. 

Take Action Now if You Are Facing Charges

Charges that are dismissed or result in an acquittal are far less problematic for employment purposes. Unfortunately, people often fail to appreciate the potential repercussions related to their charges. As a result, they may accept a plea agreement or plead no contest, thinking they are doing the right thing.

You should speak with an Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney before deciding what to do about your charges. They can explain your options, evaluate your case, and help you understand the potential consequences of your charges. 

Call Ann Arbor Criminal Defense Attorney Sam Bernstein for Help

Don’t let your charges damage your future. Whether you are facing a felony or a misdemeanor, we can help you get a fair result and minimize the damage to your future career opportunities. Contact us today at 734-883-9584 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.