Being arrested for even a misdemeanor crime can hurt your career years later. That is why it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to handle your case. Attorneys may be able to reduce or eliminate serious criminal charges by filing a motion or petition to reduce charges. These motions can help save your professional reputation and lessen the likelihood that your arrest record will interfere with your career prospects.
A recent opinion piece in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel details the story of one Wells Fargo customer service representative who was fired after the bank found out that she had a shoplifting arrest from 1972.
The columnist was rightly outraged that a woman who had won numerous awards was fired for an isolated, 40-year-old misdemeanor shoplifting conviction. The woman says that she was one of 12 children from a poor family, and that she shoplifted clothing when she was 18 so she had something to wear to work.
The old arrest record was dug up by the bank with help of a private investigation firm and the FBI because the bank is running a systematic background check of all of its employees.
“Due to legal requirements and changes in the regulatory environment, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage has been performing a thorough background check on all mortgage team members that includes a fingerprint check with the Federal Bureau of Investigation since 2010 on new employees, and on existing employees since last year,” the bank said in a statement.
The bank confirmed that the woman was not fired for performance issues and the bank is not accusing the woman of lying on her job application, which only asked regarding felony convictions.
This woman’s situation is a cautionary tale for everyone arrested for even minor crimes. Criminal convictions can ruin careers eve decades later, which is why it is important to be represented by experienced legal counsel before pleading guilty to misdemeanor crimes.
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Will your employer dig up your arrest 40 years ago?” Jim Stingl, May 5, 2012