I am applying for a federal job where I was about criminal history. Here is the exact question (From form OF306)
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 7 years, have you been convicted, been imprisoned, been on probation, or been on parole
(Includes felonies, firearms or explosive violations, misdemeanors, and all other offenses)
A few years back I was charged with a misdemeanor for false use/display of license for using a fake ID. When I went to court I pled no contest and was told that the charge would be dismissed and amended to a civil infraction for blocking the sidewalk. I was told to pay a $200 fine and complete 20 community service hours and nothing would appear on my criminal record. Here are my pertinent questions.
Even though I was never convicted of the misdemeanor, I do have the charge for the civil infraction which I had to pay off. Is this considered a conviction? Or is a conviction only for criminal offenses. I was under the impression that a “conviction” means that the judge/jury has found you guilty, and I thought that civil infractions cannot have a guilty/not guilty verdict attached to them. However, this question specifically excludes traffic violations and mentions “all other offenses” so I’m wondering if it includes non-traffic civil infractions as a definition of “conviction”
What exactly does it mean to be on probation? Are you only put on probation if there’s actually a conviction? Would I be considered being put on probation even though I was never convicted since I was required to pay the fine for the civil infraction and complete a few community service hours. I was never told I was on probation, never told not to leave the state, not to use illegal drugs (as delineated in the legal definition of probation), but I’m not sure what this specifically referring to.
In light of all of the above, should I answer “no” to the question, or would I have to answer yes (or should I err on the side of caution and answer yes anyways). I want to be as forthcoming as possible, however wouldn’t it be more honest to say “no” if my situation is not a “conviction” or “probation”?
Thanks for your help!