Fingerprints and Background

Discussion in 'General Education' started by LisaStruggles, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. LisaStruggles

    LisaStruggles Rookie

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    Aug 9, 2015

    I was hoping someone could offer some advice...

    I'm in the process of obtaining my license. I know you have to be fingerprinted and that is what has got we worried.

    I was arrested a few months ago for shoplifting (I walked out of a store with a pair of pajamas in my cart to answer a call about my car being towed away). It was a stress thing but the LPO guy at the store didn't want to hear it and so...to the slammer I went. My charge was misdemeanor theft by concealment (although I'm not sure what I was concealing...?)

    I went to court the next day and the prosecutor looked at my history and spoke with me for a moment. He said he thought it was an honest mistake and threw the case out. I was never arraigned and so it won't show up on a background check. However, my fingerprints were taken so it's going to show up when I get them done.

    Would this bar me from student teaching or subbing? How about actually teaching? Does anyone know anyone with an arrest record and no conviction? :(
     
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  3. bros

    bros Phenom

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    None of that would bar you from teaching.

    The case being thrown out means it never happened, pretty much. The court will most likely destroy the record of it within the next few years.

    Even if your fingerprints were to show up on a background check as being taken at your local police station, they could assume a variety of reasons.

    The background checks are there to highlight offenses, not to show "This person got fingerprinted on xx/yy!"
     
  4. LisaStruggles

    LisaStruggles Rookie

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    Would I have a difficult time finding a job though? Technically, I did commit a crime...I just wasn't charged with one in court.

    I spoke to someone from the district I live in and they said it was looked at on a case-by-case basis. Would this be enough to get turned away for every job I would apply for?
     
  5. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Background checks look for convictions, not arrests. You're fine. No district will ever know this happened unless you tell them.
     
  6. LisaStruggles

    LisaStruggles Rookie

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    Wouldn't it come back in a fingerprint check though? :confused:
     
  7. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    No. Fingerprints don't align to specific offenses. Just because there is a record of your fingerprints being on file doesn't mean they are on file for a bad reason. It's just used to match you to the record of your identity.y The fingerprints will be compared to your record, and only convictions on your record that are tied to your fingerprints would show up. If the charges were dropped, then no convictions will show up with your fingerprints. You have nothing to worry about.
     
  8. LisaStruggles

    LisaStruggles Rookie

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    Is this true for every state? I don't know if other states have CORI checks (basically a record of any court case, regardless of conviction, you've had in the state of Ma.) but I KNOW for a fact that nothing would come up on my record for that kind of background check because I wasn't charged.

    I've heard conflicting things about the fingerprints check though. I've heard it will absolutely come back along with the charges from the police and that it was dismissed prior to arraignment but I've also heard that it wouldn't come back at all because there was no conviction. I've been stressed to the point of panic attacks about this for months. :/
     
  9. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Nothing will come up
     
  10. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Your fingerprints can/are on file for a hundred different reasons - teach, security guard, drive a bus, handle deposits for a business, and the list goes on. Convictions are important and that is what would get you, and even then, some misdemeanors don't count.

    You can continue to worry endlessly until you are cleared, or you can feel relieved and concentrate on bigger things. I am not diminishing the importance of having a clean record, but if your account is accurate, the lack of a conviction is the best news you could have. I understand that it is easier to ask these questions here, where nobody knows your name. Honestly, I would call your lawyer for final confirmation that your record is clear. If the answer is yes, then I would not give it another thought.
     
  11. LisaStruggles

    LisaStruggles Rookie

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    Thank you for your answers. :) You are right, it is easier to ask here because no one knows who I am.

    I never had a lawyer. I went to court and the D.A basically told me to pay the court filing fee and leave. He was the one who told me that he was dismissing it prior to arraignment so that it wouldn't show on my CORI record. His exact words were, "Nobody cares about this except for you."

    I've been told a billion times that I have nothing to worry about - that the worst that would happen is that I'd have to explain the situation - but still...Massachusetts has no expungement or any other such thing. That record of arrest will always exist and it is in the FBI database (I called the state police and asked), I just don't know what would actually be stated on the report given to a district. :eek:
     
  12. LisaStruggles

    LisaStruggles Rookie

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    I found this on the DOE website:

    An FBI Identification Record is a listing of certain information taken from fingerprint submissions retained by the FBI in connection with arrests and, in some instances, federal employment, naturalization, or military service. If the fingerprints are related to an arrest, the Identification Record includes the name of the agency that submitted the fingerprints to the FBI, the date of arrest, the arrest charge, and the disposition of the arrest, if known to the FBI. All arrest data included in an Identification Record is obtained from fingerprint submissions, disposition reports, and other reports submitted by agencies having criminal justice responsibilities.

    ????
     
  13. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Consider this: If the police arrested you for holding up a bank, only to discover, as you were cooling your heels in the jail cell, that it was a case of mistaken identity. You were arrested. You were fingerprinted. You actually spent some time in a jail cell. But the judge threw out the case against you because the officers brought in the wrong LisaStruggles. Do you think anyone would hold that against you? Pretty much you are innocent until proven guilty and the burden of proof is on the police and opposing lawyers.

    If you immediately think that there is no way that LisaStruggles would have a record, ask yourself why. I bet you come up with the reason that she was not convicted, and charges were dropped.

    That is what everyone here has been telling you. It isn't being charged, it is whether or not you were convicted, which you weren't. I don't think I could stand to be in suspense for months, and I would have had to reach out and ask a lawyer about the ramifications of the situation, just to ease my mind. :dizzy:
     
  14. LisaStruggles

    LisaStruggles Rookie

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    Well, I just called the biggest district around here and the woman basically said "it would depend on a number of factors - your age, any rehabilitation, the nature of the offense, how long ago it was, etc."

    Well, I'm 30 (not say an 18 year old fresh out of school), it was a couple of months ago, I have no rehabilitation because I wasn't charged with anything....Oh, Lord.

    Does anyone know anyone with an arrest record who is teaching? :/
     
  15. LisaStruggles

    LisaStruggles Rookie

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    But you can not be convicted for any number of reasons, correct? Like you had a DUI but you completed some sort of program so it gets dismissed?

    Sorry, I'm probably freaking out over nothing but I think they're very strict in Massachusetts. :mellow:
     
  16. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Last time I post, promise. You were not convicted, case thrown out, no record, charges dropped. Call a lawyer! Oh, do yourself a favor and stop calling districts that may know you or where you might apply for a job. I can't imagine a better way to shoot yourself in the foot.

    Do the fingerprints and criminal history check and see how it comes out. What have you got to lose at this point? You are already certain that it WILL ruin you for life.

    The DOE in every state takes the criminal history check very seriously. Massachusetts has lots of company in the level of being "strict."
     
  17. LisaStruggles

    LisaStruggles Rookie

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    I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be annoying. I've just heard so many conflicting things that I don't know if I should even try.

    I never told the district who I am or what I would be applying for. I just asked if they would hire someone with an arrest record. I think the woman must be asked a lot because she seemed really irritated to be answering me. :/

    I was really just wondering if anyone knew anyone in the same boat. I understand that an arrest isn't a conviction but it still looks sketchy as heck.
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    School office personnel are busy this time of year with back to school schedules, class lists, paperwork, etc...a random phone call about arrest records could be annoying....and alarming since they don't know who you are, your circumstance or why you were calling them specifically.:2cents:

    You've been given good advice here. A dropped case isn't going to set off alarm bells but since you are so concerned contacting a lawyer might be the best route to soothe your anxiousness.
     
  19. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Your arrest will absolutely not trigger any red flags during a background check. Period, end of story. The district will not know it ever occurred through a background check.

    You calling districts and asking about your chances of getting hired with that arrest absolutely WILL trigger red flags. Do not do it again. Ever. Ever. Under any circumstances.
     
  20. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Expungement may not exist in MA, but sealing does.

    http://www.massbar.org/publications/lawyers-journal/2012/april/a-primer-on-sealing-criminal-records

    Essentially, there are three circumstances under which a record may be sealed:

    1. Some convictions or admissions may be sealed after a waiting period;

    2. Cases that were dismissed without probation or that resulted in a not guilty finding may be eligible for sealing immediately; and

    3. A recorded offense that is no longer a crime may be sealed.
     
  21. LisaStruggles

    LisaStruggles Rookie

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    Aug 12, 2015

    Thank you all for your answers!

    So, I had my background checked by a friend in the Ma. state police and it came back clear. However, it did come back that I had a fingerprint classification on file. When he clicked on it though there was no crime tied to it.

    I guess my issue is that when I looked up what is contained in an FBI "rap" sheet it said that all arrests where fingerprints were taken are included in that rap sheet. Are districts only looking for crimes that included charges or convictions?

    This is the question dealing with criminal history as asked on the Ma. license application:

    "I have never appeared in any federal or state court in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or any other commonwealth, state, district, territory or country as a defendant for any criminal offense. (You must leave this blank and provide an explanation regardless of the outcome of the case if you appeared as a defendant. Generally speaking, any process before a court where you are required to enter a plea or where you could be placed on probation prior to entering a plea is considered an appearance as a defendant. Failure to disclose criminal court appearances will be grounds for license denial or revocation.)"

    I was technically never a "defendant" but they seem to be fishing for a record of arrests. I did contact several lawyers...two said that the arrest would come back, and two said that it would not. All of them said that question on the application is worded terribly.
     
  22. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Your check came back clear. Schools don't have the time or resources to check further than that. Let this go. Pursue your teaching career without worrying another moment about this. :thumb:
     
  23. bros

    bros Phenom

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    You never had to appear in a court of law for the charge. You simply went in and discussed the situation with the prosecutor.
     
  24. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    You check that box as truth and MOVE ON....you are a clear citizen of the law. Period.
     
  25. LisaStruggles

    LisaStruggles Rookie

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    So if the arrest came back on the fingerprint check, would I have to produce a police report to explain the situation or would my word just be enough? I called the San Diego school district and spoke to the H.R. supervisor (because you lovely folks told me not to call districts around here. Ha.) and he said the arrest would come back - that he had seen juvenile arrests come back - and that I might have to write a disposition.

    Issue - the arrest report is really damning. I only briefly read it once but it says that the k-mart employee witnessed me stealing. I don't want to have to see that report again and I don't want anyone else to ever see it either. :/ It's not reflective of the outcome of the situation....
     
  26. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    You're in Massachusetts, not California, correct? Stop calling school boards and police officers. Your conscience and anxiousness are getting the better of you.

    I don't know what else we can say to reassure you. At the point, I see two choices:
    1. Have the fingerprint check when hired and hope for the best
    2. Hire a lawyer and get your record sealed

    Good luck to you.
     
  27. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    :yeahthat: There are countless reasons to already have you prints on file. It is NOT having prints on file that is troublesome, it is the conviction and being arraigned, if your information is correct. You were not arraigned, never stood in front of a judge, etc.

    I honestly doubt that anything any of us with a LOT more experience in fingerprints and criminal history checks say is going to sway you from this making you crazy.

    Despite all the assurances, you are determined to not believe anyone on this forum. Why ask for help if you have no intention of believing it? I can't help but wonder why. . . . . .
     
  28. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    This is obviously causing you a lot of stress; my suggestion is to make an appointment with a lawyer. They can explain everything to you and advise you of any next steps that may need to be taken.
     
  29. renard

    renard Companion

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    Before I was a teacher, I worked in law enforcement. The opinion of a store LPO does not hold much weight (there testimony about incidents can be questionable, to say the least). This incident wouldn't bar you from policing, let alone teaching. I accidentally stole $70 in gas just last week. I went back and paid as I pulled away LOL but it happens!

    Even if you DID steal on purpose, it doesn't matter. It wasn't pursued. End of. Teachers, doctors, lawyers, police... they get detained, it happens, that's life.

    PLEASE stop calling attention to yourself at school boards this way! Good grief, don't be remembered like that.
     
  30. LisaStruggles

    LisaStruggles Rookie

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    Really? Why is that? Part of the reason the D.A. didn't charge me was because the LPO said that he had seen me shove something in my purse. I didn't have a purse or any sort of bag with me at all and the police confirmed this. :mellow: The cop did note that the LPO said he saw me conceal merchandise in a bag in the police report though. I guess that's what has me nervous. If I have to produce that police report and employers read it, it looks questionable at BEST.

    I tried to explain to the LPO that my car was being towed away but he was screeching at me about heroin addicts and how they caught at least twelve every single day and all of them say that their car is being towed away. :eek:hmy: I did retain a copy of the tow sheet just in case...

    Side note: I spoke to a lawyer at the court house (he wasn't my lawyer, he just struck up a conversation) and he told me that he had recently defended a girl in college for elem. ed. who is accused of drug manufacturing.
     
  31. LisaStruggles

    LisaStruggles Rookie

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    Every lawyer has a different answer, that's why I came here. They can't tell me what comes back on the fingerprint check...they all have conflicting answers. Two said it would come back, two said it would not, and the court clerk said it should not.
     
  32. LisaStruggles

    LisaStruggles Rookie

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    Anxiousness, yes. Conscience, to an extent but it's not because I wasn't charged it was because I was believed when so many other people are not...

    I am in Ma. but I used to live in San Diego and I know an anonymous call about fingerprint checks wouldn't raise eyebrows. Actually, the guy was quite nice.

    I don't think I can seal my record as I have none in Ma. I don't think I can seal an arrest record.

    Thank you though!:)
     
  33. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Look... whenever you go to apply for jobs, they aren't going to ask you about arrests. You'll be asked about convictions and active cases against you. You can truthfully answer No! to those questions. It's possible that a background check might turn up an arrest (although I really doubt it), but if so...

    1) It means that you've already got the job, since schools don't do background checks until they are finalizing paperwork
    2) It will show that you were arrested and had the case immediately dropped before it even became a case.

    You will have no trouble getting a certificate, either. If you're really that nervous, call the state ed department and ask them how you should answer that question.
     
  34. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Wow. This is (by far) one of the most frustrating threads I've ever read. The OP obviously doesn't want to take anyone's advice.
     
  35. kaeco510

    kaeco510 Companion

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    You said that someone in the state police ran a background check on you and nothing came back, correct? And you just stated that you have no record in MA.....Sooooooo I'm not sure what the issue is anymore?
     
  36. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Listen to the court clerk. They know what will and will not show up in the system for what. They handle that question hundreds of times a week.
     
  37. JediLeyli

    JediLeyli Rookie

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    Hi,

    Just to put in my two cents ( even though I'm new and not a teacher lol), I worked at a bank once and had to go through a fingerprint check. I was in a similar situation where I was with a friend and her boyfriend in Target and they shoplifted a backpack full of video games (seriously - a backpack FULL. It was like $5 under a felony arrest. They had been doing it for months and selling them on ebay) and because I walked in and out of the store with them, I was also arrested because the store LPO thought I was an accomplice. The police watched the security tapes that evening and saw that I was no where in their vicinity when any of it happened and my friend said that I had nothing to do with it in court the next day. It was literally a wrong place at the wrong time sort of thing.

    I don't know if the arrest came back on the fingerprint check but literally no one has ever asked me anything about it. I'd imagine that it would be harder to get a job in a bank with a theft arrest than get a student teaching position with a theft arrest. :)
     

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