Do I have to disclose my true finding on job applications?

Many states treat juvenile convictions as civil matters. This means they are not considered convictions under an adult criminal code. In these states, true findings would not be convictions for employment purposes. However, exceptions do apply depending on your state's rules and the nature of your offense.

Some states do not elevate a juvenile case to a criminal status until there has been a true finding or an adjudication of delinquent conduct. Even if you have a true finding, your state may prevent it from being used against you unless you were sentenced to a youth facility as a result of the true finding.

For example, in Texas, your juvenile case cannot be used or considered a final conviction for enhancement purposes unless the juvenile court made a specific finding of delinquent conduct and sentenced you to the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) for confinement. If you were not sent to TYC, it won’t be considered a final criminal conviction. 

In addition to your state’s general rules regarding juvenile offenses, special exceptions may apply because of the nature of your charges. If you were charged with committing a sexual assault, and a true finding was entered against you, you may be required to register as a sex offender for your juvenile offense, even after you become an adult.

If your prospective employer receives a copy of your criminal history, your registration requirement will appear on the report, even though it happened while you were a juvenile. Your employer may choose not to hire you because it appears you lied on your job application.

Before you start filling out job applications, take the time to purchase your criminal history and see exactly what is being reported regarding your juvenile true finding. After you have reviewed your criminal history, consult a criminal defense attorney to see what the effect of a true finding is in your state.