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05-05-2007, 19:58 #1CJ2LE Guest
Alcohol Possession Ticket...Disposition Status?
I was curious to hear some opinions about an incident that occurred about a year ago when I was cited for minor in possession of beer. I went to a college night event at a local bar and sure enough one of the few times I have done so I was ID'd by an undercover officer. The officer asked me to walk with him to his car and cited me for underage possession of beer and allowed me to leave. He was a real nice guy and I told him how devastated I was since I want to go into law enforcement. He told me that as long as I didn't get into any more trouble this incident would actually make me a better candidate. He also told me if I took the classes and got my record expunged it was as if it never happened and I wouldn't even have to put it on my applications. I don't know if that is true but I have a high GPA and have won several scholarships/awards at my university, a long with extensive volunteer work so I'm hoping agencies can look at me as a whole and not my one major life time mistake. I am planning on applying for several internships and a auxiliary officer position this summer and was wondering how this incident would be classified on the applications when it asks if I have ever been arrested. I plan on fully disclosing all info regarding the arrest but I am curious if it actually constitutes an arrest or is it a citation. I never went before a judge because the officer recommended me for an alcohol diversion program. I took the classes and all records were expunged. (I was also wondering if the alcohol education classes would be considered counseling because a few apps asked if my alcohol consumption has ever resulted in counseling). The classes were taught by a counselor/social worker and she told me that it wouldn't be considered counseling, just an educational class. I'm not trying to ask a crystal ball question hear but am I stupid for applying to a law enforcement agency so soon? I would value any oppinions, thanks in advance and I apologize about the length.
Last edited by CJ2LE; 05-05-2007 at 20:14.
05-05-2007, 20:50 #2
Unfortunately, expunged means different things when it comes to an Officer running your criminal history and you applying for positions in LE. Applications to agencies will state that you still need to list any and all offenses, even if they have been expunged, besides certain violations or expunging authorities. Some one on the site will have the specific authority, unfortunately I do not. But I would not count on being able to hide this citation from the application process....not that I think that that was the ultimate point of your question.
But as the Officer told you, if this is the only real knock on your background, I would not worry. This is minor stuff that any reasonable hiring official would overlook with some positives that replace it.
And the counseling they are referring to on the applications you have filled out is not this type of court ordered class that you attended. As you said, just be up front, claim that you were in college and that you realize that the law is what it is for a reason. Own up to your mistake.....it is the best move you can make.
Good luckJOB 27:5
05-06-2007, 01:59 #3
Not sure where you got the ticket at, but around here, that's considered a Class C arrest, because typically you set up a court date and actually have a trial of sorts. It's not a major deal, mind you, but it's not quite as simple as a speeding ticket."The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in the moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." -- Martin Luther King
"Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me."
05-06-2007, 15:27 #4Cadet
- Join Date
- Jul 2005
I have been a state liquor agent for five years. Take it from me... you were arrested! The officer conducted a non-custodial arrest and issued you a summons to appear in court in lieu of a custodial arrest (actually having to go to jail and bond out). Whoever had prosecutorial authority (normally the city or county where you were arrested) then allowed you to attend a class versus pay a fine and/ or community service. As long as you complied with the court order your record may have been expunged. As already pointed out - most law enforcement agencies ask if you have ever been arrested versus if you were ever charged. This arrest will not help you or make you a better candidate- if the Officer told you this then they lied to you. However, it is the not the end of the world... you may still be able to get a career in law enforcement. My advice is to list the arrest and tell the hiring agency that it was a stupid ignorant mistake that you regret. Good Luck.
05-06-2007, 21:23 #5Rookie
- Join Date
- Sep 2001
I'm 100% certain that you will have to list the ticket/arrest for any agency that you apply for. The ticket is not a big deal, many in LE have things that are more serious/questionable on their backgrounds and they manage to explain the situation and go on with full careers. One issue such as this should not be a big deal, take responsibility for your screw up and you should be fine. Any one of us could have gotten caught for doing something like this as a young person. Remember, cops are not angles, they are human beings that were once young and most made some poor decisions from time to time. Surely the positive things that you have accomplished will greatly outweigh this one bad decision. Just my opinion after conducting several background investigations."All that evil needs to succeed is good men who do nothing"
05-06-2007, 21:30 #6
I think the agency that you apply with will depend on if this is a big issue or not, a large agency who is hiring a lot of people may overlook it but a smaller agency that may be hiring 1 or 2 will use this as a way to hire who they really want anyway. I really wouldn't worry about it just be honest and tell the BI up front.
05-07-2007, 15:41 #7Rookie
- Join Date
- May 2002
I know it seems like a big deal to you, but speaking as someone whose 'skeleton in the closet' is a lot bigger than that, don't worry about it.
Sure, issues can be embarassing to bring up during a background interview, but honesty and responsibilty for ones own actions are sorely lacking in most people today.
Just mention it as you did here; you'll be fine.
FWIW, I see where the guy who cited you was coming from when he said it would make you a better officer...I agree with him.
Consider when you are a cop, that your state law/dept. policy exist. Which you should. Also remember that the law is not necessarily black/white and that an officer's discretion is the best tool we have. Don't just dispense justice like Judge Dredd ---- be whatever kind of officer you want to be. I think a lot of officers who had no police contact prior to being hired can be a little badge-heavy. (that was certainly my experience before I got on the job) I think about how I would want to be treated if I were the one in handcuffs....
Good luck man - it's a fun job. Take advice from guys who've been on a while, copy the things about other officers that you like, and be flexible!
05-07-2007, 22:42 #8
Honesty is the Best policy."Good, Our First Catch of the Day." SW:V ESB
05-08-2007, 09:42 #9
This will be a non-issue for just about any agency. If it is a big issue, my guess is it might be somewhere not worth working for.
I had a similar type experience and you will be asked about it during an interview. Say you made a mistake and learned from it.
05-08-2007, 12:02 #10Not hearing "no news is good news" anymore.
05-10-2007, 19:10 #11CJ2LE Guest
Thanks for all of the feedback, I really appreciate it. The general consensus has really made me feel more confident about going into the application process. Hopefully, I will be posting something in the success story section in the near future.