Applying for job requiring Public Trust - Expunged Felony


I’m being recruited for a job that has the following requirement:

  • Will be subject to a background investigation by the government and must be able to meet the
    requirements to hold a position of public trust.

I wasn’t a good person in my late teens, and I got nailed for 2 felonies. One was grand theft (California 487.1), and the other was manufacturing explosives without a permit (California 12305). The convictions were in 1993. My sentence was 1 year county time, of which I did 4 months. I got out, did my probation, and turned my life around. Since then, I have only gotten a single speeding ticket in 1996. I’ve been a senior engineer at a fortune 500 company for a very long time. Raised my son, and have owned my home since 2000. In 2014, I got the charges expunged. The grand theft was reduced to a misdemeanor prior to the expungement since it’s classed as a “wobbler” offense. The explosives charge was not, but it was straight expunged. My credit history is great as well, and my FICO score hovers between 780 and 820.

The obvious question is, should I risk leaving my current job, only to have this potentially bite me? Or will my life after conviction, in conjuction with the expungements be enough to show I’m okay now?

I’m thinking that I’d need to disclose the explosives charge regardless, but not the theft one. I’m not positive though, and any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks!

You may have to disclose both since you were originally charged with felonies. The expungement doesn’t really matter. However, there’s no reason to think that almost 30 years of clean living will not mitigate the mistakes of your youth.

You may not need to leave your current position. They may put you in for the public trust and only have you start after you clear that hurdle.


@EdFarmerIII - Thanks for the feedback. I don’t mind disclosing any of it. Do companies do that very often, where they make an offer to someone working at another company contingent on the background check? I was under the impression that I’d accept the position, give 2 weeks at my current company, then once I start, the new company would begin the background check. If I can maintain my current job security, that would be very nice.

It’s weird because my son has been in LE now for 4 years. Go figure…lol.

It happens regularly with clearances. Maybe less so with public trust but you can find out what they plan to do.

If they don’t have any work that you can do until after you PT investigation then they aren’t going to need to start paying you until that’s done.

Anything that happened 9 or more years ago is mitigated when no similar recent conduct has occurred. There is nothing to be concerned about as long as you disclose all required information.

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Pepe, I had a similar situation. I had a weapons-related charge as a young teenager in 1992. I was just a kid, so it was expunged. I brought it up on my SF-86 in 2008 when I went through the Secret Clearance process and again recently when I was investigated for a TS. During the TS interview, I had to speak in depth about it with my BI. I got both clearances. I recently did a FOIA request on my TS investigation, they indicated in the report that they couldn’t even find any records of my juvenile charges. Bottom line, I don’t think you have anything to worry about.