I'm interested in obtaining my degree in criminal justice, however before I spend the money on schooling I'd like to make sure I can actually get a career in this field. In 2006 I was a young stupid kid and got taken to jail for marijuana and paraphernalia possession. I served two years "bench" probation and had my lawyer fight to reduce the charges. My charges were dropped to a littering charge. Years later I have matured and live a clean lifestyle. My question is, because I am registered in AFIS and have been taken to jail in the past, would I be considered for position in the criminal justice field, particularly, CSI?
You can definitely take the school and training if you like, but the chances of your being hired by a law enforcement agency are zero, the reason being that all defense attornies would use their knowledge of your past criminal record to cast doubt with the the jury on your work product. Sorry to say that.
Hi Jordan. How old were you when you offended? Your age will play a role in a law enforcements decision to hire or not, especially if you were a juvenile. Many agencies will indicate on their website what offenses one has been charged and convicted of that they will not tolerate, such as domestic violence or any felony types. Your charges were misdemeanor so to say that you do not have a chance just is not true. Further, in many cases you can have your arrest record and convictions expunged in the United States. I know for the state I live in you can file a petition for expunging after 10 years, so long as you have not been in any more trouble. This seals your files and cannot be used against you. On an application when the questions arises "have you been convicted of any felony or misdemeanor" by law you can answer NO. However, and I am not sure how this would work or if it would work. Most agencies if not all require an individual to take a polygraph exam and in that exam they do ask about crimes committed. If you say no and know that you have you would fail the test obviously. I would research that further to see how that works. I personally think it is a great idea to work on getting your record expunged if you can. Either way it would be to your benefit in the long run, even if you do not attempt a career in law enforcement. Another avenue you could start working on is volunteering at any agency. This is a good way to get a foot in the door while you are working on a degree. many, many of the professors I have had recommend volunteering! I have an associates in criminal justice and am currently working on obtaining my bachelors, and I volunteer as a victims advocate.
I think if it is your dream to work in the criminal justice field you should do it. A marijuana charge is not very significant at all! 2006 was a while ago already and by the time you obtain degrees will be well over 10 years. I say go for it! Do research a long the way and put all your effort into getting the job you want! Good luck! Hope some of this information was helpful! :)
It will depend on the agency you apply to. The FBI, for example, will immediately discard your application. However, at a local agency such as mine, the restrictions are more lenient. We have an investigator on staff who had a juvenile record that was expunged after a period of years. It will depend on whether or not the agency wants to take a risk that your credibility will not be challenged on the stand.
I think that if this is the field for you and it is your dream to work in it then you should go for it.