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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    1

    Default First Offender Act and Employment Background Checks

    My question involves a background check in the State of: Georgia

    I have a question about the First Offender Act. My boyfriend cannot get a job at Sam's Club because he has a charge that shows up on his background check but it is considered "first offender". He received a letter from his probation officer of the charge stating that "This discharge may not be used to disqualify a person in any application for employment or appointment to office in either the public or private sector". Even though this Act states he cannot be disqualified the background company says there is nothing they can do about it and Sam's cannot hire him until they do something about it. Is there anything further he can do to have this taken care of? I mean, by law its not supposed to disqualify him, yet it is. We are at our wits end on what do to about this. Any advice??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Il.(near StL,Mo.)
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: First Offender Act and Employment Background Checks

    Ga. -Generally re employment, there are no limitations on inquiring or using arrest & conviction information but one major exception concerns convictions under the Ga. First Offender Program. With *limited/some exceptions*, a discharge under the program "is not a conviction of a crime under the laws of this state & may not be used to disqualify a person in any application for employment or appointment to office in either the public or private sector."

    I have no additional information (ie if all terms of sentence were completed) other than knowing your boyfriend was sentenced under the program. When an offender has successfully completed the terms of his/her First Offender Sentence, a discharge…is not a conviction of a crime under the laws of this state.

    Re an expungement, it's usually not done for a sentence under the program. Your boyfriend can talk to an attorney & see what they might be able to do for him or tell him. Actually, an expungement is only done in very limited cirumstances in Ga.
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

  3. #3

    Default Re: First Offender Act and Employment Background Checks

    The GA First Offender Act is a very imperfect (and misleading) statute. It is a "deferred adjudication" statute, and most judges will advise the defendant that if "you complete your sentence as directed, this charge will be erased from your record like it never happened." Of course, that is untrue. In GA, a successfully completed FOA sentence will be reflected on a person's Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) history, but only law enforcement will have access to it. The person's arrest will always remain on the GCIC, and because only law enforcement has access to the FOA completion, the GCIC seems to reflect that the person's charges are still pending. A FOA adjudication is not supposed to interfere with a person's employment, etc., but the employment laws in GA are inconsistent with that section of the FOA. There has been a strong lobby in the legislature for the past several years to change the FOA to solve this problem, but unfortunately no action has been taken. Of course, the part about the defendant never being a convicted felon, and having all civil rights restored upon successful completion remains intact.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Il.(near StL,Mo.)
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: First Offender Act and Employment Background Checks

    You're correct that it is an imperfect program. It's sort of a I got good news & I got bad news about the program to tell an offender.
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

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