Personal question for those of you in criminal law. I am in the process of hiring a nanny and recently ran a background check on my top candidate. An incident showed up on her criminal record from 1999 but it did not give any information as to what the charges were. When I asked her about it, she explained that it was a misdemeanor for shoplifting and she got it cleared 12 years ago and has no documents to verify it was a shoplifting charge. (Cont’d in comments)

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Why would you want a shoplifter as your nanny- she gave you her answer- why are you still debating this - this person will be watching and responsible for the most important thing in your life.

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Seriously? It’s from 1999. People can’t change in 20 years? She was probably a teenager.

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I’m a criminal defense attorney in Las Vegas. It’s not uncommon for the DA to drop charges after an arrest, at or prior to arraignment. Also common for people to do some sort of deferred adjudication wherein they agree to some sort of fine/restitution/community service. If they successfully complete the deferred adjudication, the charges can be dismissed. I know here, when charges are dismissed pursuant to a deferred adjudication, (we call it a submittal here), there is no order showing the dismissal. The court notes the dismissal on the record in open court and closes the file. So it’s not necessarily “suspicious” that she doesn’t have paperwork, especially from 20 years ago. My suggestion is, if she is otherwise a good candidate, contact the court where it happened and ask.

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It’s a no from me. Move on to another candidate.

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There's also the CA "expungement" right wherein a misdemeanor theft could definitely show up as dismissed if the person met some criteria including things like no parole violation, paying all fees and no other charges in a set period of time following. If she got help from a pro Bono clinic to get rid of it then, again she very well might not have kept the records. It's your child so I get where some people are coming from when they say to just find another candidate, but I also think that a single petty theft from +20 years ago sounds really immaterial. Assumedly you've vetted more recent employers and other families who've worked with her, so not sure how much more detail about such an old charge should weigh on her ability to take care of your kids.

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Usually no. CA "expungement" is available typically just for petty theft, minor drug charges and other minor misdemeanors. CA expungement is also in quotes because the charge will still show up in detailed records but it will look like it was dismissed.

It was a misdemeanor from 20 years ago. Who cares? You’ve probably hired nanny’s that have done far worse but have never been caught.

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Is there a way I could request more information about the charges from the court for peace of mind? Before anyone slams me for holding this against her, I don’t care about the shoplifting charge. As a protective mom, my mind just runs wild when I see a criminal charge with no other information, and I’d just like to see for myself for peace of mind that it wasn’t a violent incident, not something where she harmed a child she was caring for, etc. Something that serious in nature couldn’t be cleared from her record, right? Or more information would show up on a background check?

Have her get an abstract from the court (or allow you to) - she should know where it happened. That should tell you exactly what the charge was and how it was adjudicated.

Is she worth spending the time investigating the matter further? If not, move on. If so, do it. Shoplifting is theft. Even though it is one incident on her record, I personally would not want someone with that charge in my house among my children and personal affects.

She was caught once. There probably have been other incidents where she wasn’t caught

I used to be a nanny and I was shocked at how many people would let me take care of their children without a background check and just on word of mouth. I had no record, but if I felt like stealing or being weird with the kids they’d never have known. Doing a background check in the first place lets them know you’re being careful.

Is there any kind of police services check she can provide that will give more information? I’ve had to get those for working with vulnerable sector volunteer groups.

Be careful some states (Wisconsin) specifically have employment laws which prohibit you from considering prior convictions when making hiring decisions.

I think you should ask her for supporting documents, and if this involves shoplifting in 1999, hire her!

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