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Minor in Possession Conviction May Haunt Employment Search

The University of Colorado class of 2012 is about to graduate into a tough labor market. While most students have already started their job search, they may not have considered the effects of a past Colorado minor in possession (MIP) or consumption of alcohol conviction.

Any person under the age of 21 who possesses of consumes alcohol in Colorado can be charged with minor in possession if caught. A first or second MIP conviction carries a fine, public service and driver's license revocation. For three or more MIPs the charge is a class 2 misdemeanor.

Background Check May Derail Job Offer

A past criminal conviction even for a minor offense may pose difficulties when looking for a job. For one recent graduate the lesson was painful. The graduate received a great job offer contingent on a criminal background check. When a past MIP conviction appeared on his record, the offer was rescinded.

The use of background checks has exploded. Almost every job offer is contingent on a criminal background check. Some employers also require credit checks and drug screens. A recent Associate Press survey found that half of recent grads under the age of 25 cannot find work or are underemployed. In this hiring environment, employers only need the slightest reason to eliminate a candidate.

Sealing Records

Before starting the job hunt consider whether a past criminal conviction might hurt your chances. For MIP cases that result in Deferred Prosecution or Deferred Judgment the record may be sealed after completing an alcohol class or after nine months. If you pled guilty, you can petition to have the record sealed one year after the guilty plea as long as you have not been charged or convicted of any crimes during that year.

After receiving a court order to seal the record, you must send the order to listed agencies, so they know to seal your record.

Consumer advocates warn that background-check data may not always be correct. Data might be pulled from online public records, private vendors and jails. Once something is in the public domain it may be hard to remove. Further, if erroneous information appears on a background check you need to know and fight to have it corrected.

Source: Monster.com, "Don't Let Your Past Haunt Your Job Search," Dona DeZube

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