Many North Carolinians possess a criminal record. It also happens that a large percentage of employers check criminal records when hiring new employees.
Thus, If you have a drug conviction in your criminal history, that could impact your ability to get a job. What should you do if you have a drug conviction on your criminal record, and you are job hunting in North Carolina?
Here’s what you need to know about what your conviction means for the employment search, as well as the steps you can take to reduce the impact of a criminal record on your job prospects.
Drug Crimes in North Carolina
In North Carolina, the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act prohibits anyone from manufacturing, delivering, or possessing a controlled substance. It also makes it illegal to possess a controlled substance or create, deliver, possess, or sell a controlled substance with the intention to sell it – or even to deliver a counterfeit substance to someone else.
If you are arrested and charged with a drug crime, you ultimately may face misdemeanor or felony charges for doing so. That conviction will go on your permanent criminal record, something that is accessible to anyone who does a background check on your name – including possible employers.
Do You Have to Notify a Potential Employer of a Drug Conviction?
It is completely legal for a potential employer to ask if you have any criminal convictions on your record. If they do ask, you should be forthcoming and honest about it.
If the employer finds out that you did not disclose your record on your application, you will almost definitely not get the job. And if you are hired, then later they find out you lied, it is within their rights to terminate you, too. Keep this in mind.
Many businesses perform criminal background checks on prospective employees. Disclosing your history to them from the start levels the playing field. They’ve considered every aspect, and, if you get the job, you don’t have to worry about your new employer possibly discovering the conviction at a later time.
Some potential employers do not ask about prior convictions. In fact, many companies – and even some city or county government job opportunities – will not ask about drug convictions unless it somehow directly relates to the position for which they are hiring.
What About a Current Employer?
If you already have a job and are convicted of a drug crime, you should consult your contract or your employee handbook to see how it will be handled. If there isn’t anything stating that you have to inform your employer, then you can choose not to disclose the conviction.
It’s important to understand that some professional licensures may be impacted by a drug crime conviction. If you hold any licenses, you may be disqualified from holding them if you are convicted of a crime.
What About Expunged Convictions?
In certain circumstances, drug convictions can be expunged. You should consult with an experienced attorney to see if your criminal record qualifies for expungement.
If you are able to successfully complete the process, then, legally, you do not have to disclose convictions on a job application. You don’t even have to admit it if a potential employer directly asks in a job interview.
To be clear: an employer cannot ask you to provide information about expunged convictions, charges, or arrests.
You may be facing some changes once you have a drug conviction on your criminal record, but remember that you still have rights. Understand your rights and make sure you are taking full advantage of them as you embark on rebuilding your life.