OF-306 dismissed misdemeanor

Seeking clarity regarding proper response to OF-306 requested information -

Background: College student seeking Federal internship - received citation for underage drinking/public intoxication - issued 2 years ago - age 18 - not taken into custody, not given breathalyzer - just name taken - and handed back to campus security - ‘Citation’ arrives in mail. Entered into “Youth Diversionary Program” & court accepted plea of “Not Guilty” - program included - 30 hrs community service - 8 hours class - never saw a courtroom - never saw a judge - completed activities - paid program fee - received notification that the matter is concluded & all charges have been dismissed.

So - the form OF-306 states -
For questions 9,10, and 11, your answers should include convictions resulting from a plea of nolo contendere (no contest), but omit:
(1) traffic fines of $300 or less,
(2) any violation of law committed before your 16th birthday,
(3) any violation of law committed before your 18th birthday if finally decided in juvenile court or under a Youth Offender law,
(4) any conviction set aside under the Federal Youth Corrections Act or similar state law, and
(5) any conviction for which the record was expunged under Federal or state law

During the last 10 years, have you been convicted - [NO]
been imprisoned - [NO]
been on probation - [NO]
or been on parole - [NO] ?
(Includes felonies, firearms or explosives violations, misdemeanors, and all other offenses.)
If “YES,” use item 16 to provide the date, explanation of the violation, place of occurrence, and the name and address of the police department or court involved.

I have seen comments on filling out these forms that encourage “error on the side of over-disclosure” - but I cannot see a rationale for basically disregarding the document’s specificinstructions and inserting a reference in ‘item 16’ to this matter - - it is substantially outside of the scope of what is being requested.
It seems like if one was speaking with an interviewer on this topic - the interviewer would say - stop - that is not information that we have requested nor can we use.

Would greatly appreciate thoughts & comments

It is not a disqualifying issue regardless of final disposition, so why not just go ahead and admit to it instead of making it appear as if you are hiding it? That would be my advice.


Thank you for the advice. New to the Federal security clearance culture and am totally blind to the nuances.
Coming at all of this from a regulated private sector perspective where it is imperative to truthfully and fully answer precisely what is asked - but excursions into unrequested details is often frowned upon.
I’m still kind of hung up on the exact specifics of what is requested in the OF-306 - and frankly if one obediently follows the form’s ‘yes’ / ‘no’ questions - there is not an opening to then put unrequested information onto the form. Certainly am a bit wary about all of this… but as the forms have already been submitted - will take some comfort in your statement that “it is not a disqualifying issue regardless of final disposition” - and should there be any question about it down the road - will be prepared to provide all details.

The purpose of the OF-306 is to determine your basic “eligibility” for Federal service. It is essentially the eye-test for Federal human resource specialists and/or security officers/managers. Those personnel usually use the form to determine if it is worth it for the Government to pay for your background investigation.

As for the particular question #9, it is unclear to me if you entered the “Youth Diversionary Program” voluntarily or a court ordered you to do so. If voluntarily, you do not need to list it. If ordered, you need to list it.

Regarding to parole, it depends on how your state/municipal defines parole. Usually, you need to be found guilty of an offense to be paroled. Based on information provided, it doesnt seem to be the case here. As for probation, I would say no BUT it depends on whether you were ordered to enter the Youth Diversionary Program as a condition for the dismissal.

1 Like

I should add that you will likely need to list the charge on one of those questionnaires such as Standard Form (SF) 85, SF 85P or SF 86.

1 Like

I don’t believe that you can be on parole OR probation without a conviction or guilty plea. Generally, parole requires jail time. The whole idea behind these diversionary programs is to avoid the need for the defendant to later have a record of conviction/jail/probation.

But, the OP will have to report the charge on security forms.


Thank you for the insights.
The entry into the “Youth Diversionary Program” was definitely not “ordered” it was entirely a matter of personal choice - entirely - optional and yes - voluntary. Other individuals in similar circumstances may chose to simply check the ‘guilty’ box and mail in the fine. and go on about their lives. The choice to enter into the “Youth Diversionary Program” was made because it enabled the entry of a “not guilty” plea and also because upon completion of the volunteer community service work and the classroom sessions, the case (with the entry of a ‘not guilty’ plea) would be dismissed - closed.

With respect to ‘parole’ or ‘probation’ - at no time were those terms or anything like them a part of the discussion - other that the admonishment that “this is a one time option”. Pursuant to your point - there was, in no way, a finding of ‘guilty’. Acknowledging that a “dismissal” does not render a formal “guilty vs not guilty” output - the fact remains that the items that are entered into the records are
(1.) an initial entry of “not guilty” and then subsequently
(2.) there was a full dismissal of the case.

  • even in the most tortured /nuanced twisting of legal interpretations, one can’t realistically get to “guilty” or “convicted” from here.

Certainly - if, in the future, a question is asked " have you ever been charged with a Misdemeanor?" - the answer will be straightforward and complete. There will be no ‘splitting of hairs’ regarding the facts.

Would even be willing to provide a synopsis of of this situation at this point - but - focusing specifically on the exact written responses for the OF-306 (and only the OF-306) it would seem to be essentially impossible to introduce this dismissed case information if one is correctly answering the YES/NO questions of - have you been convicted, been imprisoned, been on probation or on parole.

Thank you & others for your thoughts and opinions.

Report and include any documentation. Fully disclose so they cannot question your integrity. Perhaps just include the part saying the matter is now resolved?

Appreciate the contributions of all in this matter.

As noted previously, the OF-306 was submitted - with a “NO” to question #9
[9. During the last 7 years, have you been convicted, been imprisoned, been on probation, or been on parole]
Placing a in the box for “NO” was the response
(1.) because it is wholly truthful and accurate … and
(2.) because the form only provides two ways to answer the question
either place in box for - [YES] -or- place in box for [NO]

Did not attempt to insert any comments into #16 - because the instructions clearly indicated that the box for #16 was only for use if one had answered “YES” to a prior question

and based upon the helpful comments above, am assuming that this will be sufficient at this point in time - Yes, there may be subsequent forms that may ask about other matters - and those will be answered fully and truthfully.

Absolutely & emphatically intend to be truthful and accurate - and would be willing to expand upon items outside of the specific questions - but -
Honestly - after very thorough review of the current OP-306 that was provided and requested to be completed as a part of a tentative job offer:
( Optional Form 306 - Revised October 2011 - Previous editions obsolete and unusable)
cannot find any way to introduce information into the OP-306 regarding events that clearly do not rise to the threshold of matters set forth in the form - or matters that have not been requested.

Again - thanks to all for your thoughts.

I have a similar problem with that question that I posted about here

Can you help ?

I’m not sure what you’re asking . . .

From my reading of your post in a different thread, which you expounded a bit more on the subject. I wonder if it is possible to merge threads.

As mentioned, OF-306 is pretty much a limthus test for an agency. This form is what HR, security officer and possibly your supervisor(s) will see. Anyway, I am not sure why you were asked to revise the form, but I imagine that HR specialist or such probably asked you to err on the side of caution. However, your initial filling was correct and you should have stuck to it (of course, there is a risk to that). I once made a mistake of providing more information than necessary on OF-306 and had a job offer rescinded. I have, since then, consulted with a few attorneys specifically with OF-306.

Anyway, being arrested and/or detained is not the same as being imprisoned. The latter usually means that you were charged, tried and found guilty. This does not apply to your case based on the information provided.

Those are exactly my thoughts when i first replied NO to qn. 9 – it simply doesn’t ask for arrests.
However, 4 and half years ago when i was working at a different Federal agency, I mentioned the arrest (at the time wasn’t downgraded to detention) on a different form that asks for arrest records voluntarily. It asked it so i provided it and after some months spent, they let me do my job and finish it. Since then i have been very cautious on how to fill these forms and am not stupid enough to think that they will not see this incident. So when i answered NO to qn.9 I knew fully well what the consequences of lying are but made a decision based on the circumstances. But the fact that I am asked to say Yes to qn.9 (which i did) is concerning. When I was asked to say yes to it, I asked by email if that is what they want me to do given my records, and the person communicating with me (a coordinator) said he is not even sure which question it is and that security guys said to tick qn.9 yes and provide details, so i did as I was told.

Btw I am not the OP in this thread (who is NJ287) but my confusion and his confusion on #9 are very similar so I was just wondering how it turned out for him. Sorry for the confusion.