My question involves a background check in the State of: Maryland / Pennsylvania.
When I was 19 I was arrested and charged with trespassing and destruction of property no less then $500. A friend and I went to a high school rival afterhours (tresspassing) and flipped a set of bleachers (dest. Of property). The arresting officer said that we “didn't do a dollars-worth of damage” but had to arrest us anyway to “teach us a lesson”. I got to experience due process first hand and went through probation before judgment. Two years later the incident was expunged and for the most part I've stayed out of trouble and haven't been arrested since.
I'll be graduating from a state university within a few months. I've made the dean's list several times, I have no parking tickets or moving violations. I have good credit, I pay my taxes. Now that its been over 7 years since this stupid mistake I've been thinking about life and wondering if law enforcement is for me. Truth is its always what I wanted to do but my parents discouraged me from looking into it from an early age. A dream deferred I guess but I always say that “its the ones who love you the most, hold you back the most”. I talked it over with my wife and ironically, shes completely behind my interest in a career in law enforcement.
I'm very interested in becoming an officer however I have smoked marijuana in the past. Besides alcohol those are the only drugs I've used. I experimented with marijuana a few times marijuana (an estimated no more then 5-7 times between ages 19-25) but my 'last dance with Mary Jane' was in December of 2010.
I know (I'm going on but just bear with me) an officer who serves who waited 1 year before applying to a department for the same reason. I'm very serious about becoming an officer and am trying to get some insight if I would be qualified given my history and background.
At this point I'm wondering if I even have a chance and if I do, do I need to wait a while before applying. If so I'm going to take the built-in waiting period and train harder and study for the officer exam (already checked out a few books from the local library). Just need some advice. Thanks for reading.