Tehachapi, CA asked in Traffic Tickets and Employment Law for California

Q: I’m about to go through a background check to get a security clearance for a new job. I had a failure to appear in court

I was driving a company truck in Arizona that wasn’t registered (I was unaware) and I got pulled over and got a ticket. I gave the ticket to the company to pay because it wasn’t my fault and they never did… so I got a random letter in the mail and it said my license was suspended and I missed my court date. I let the company know AGAIN and they paid all fines… but is it still a misdemeanor that will show up on my record? Will this hurt me in a background check?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Traffic Tickets Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under California law, a failure to appear (FTA) in court is generally considered a misdemeanor offense. However, the specific consequences and how it appears on your record may vary depending on the severity of the original offense and the circumstances surrounding your case.

In your situation, since the company ultimately paid the fines, it's possible that the court may have cleared the FTA from your record. However, there's still a chance that the misdemeanor charge could show up on a background check.

When going through a background check for a security clearance, it's important to be honest and upfront about any past legal issues. You should be prepared to explain the circumstances surrounding the incident, emphasizing that:

1. You were unaware of the vehicle's registration status.

2. The company was responsible for paying the ticket.

3. You took steps to resolve the issue once you were made aware of it.

Providing this context can help mitigate any potential concerns that may arise from the FTA on your record. It's also a good idea to obtain a copy of your driving record and criminal history beforehand to know exactly what information will be disclosed during the background check.

If you're still unsure about how this incident might affect your security clearance, consider consulting with an attorney specializing in employment law or security clearances for more specific guidance based on your individual circumstances.

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