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View Full Version : Have I been Have you ever been "convicted for any violation(s) of law"?


Sampiro
03-04-2010, 09:21 PM
All disclaimers in space about "not holding anybody accountable for legal advice" or what not, but I'm hoping somebody with some experience in legalese or human resources policies can answer.

I'm applying for a position whose online application asks

Have you ever been convicted for any violation(s) of law, including moving traffic violations?

I'm honestly not sure because I'm not sure what "convicted" means in this sense.

I've three moving violation tickets that I recall. One was for speeding and two were for running redlights; the most recent was 6 years ago and the other two were about 15 and 22 years ago respectively. In all three cases I was guilty and paid the ticket without contest.

Since by paying the ticket I admitted guilt (which was the case), does this mean I was convicted?

I don't want to answer "No" if my tickets count, but I don't want to answer "Yes" if they don't because it makes running a red light look the same as if I'd spent 8 years in Sing Sing for killing my underboss. There's not a space to explain.

Thanks for any info.

In full disclosure if need be: I did go to court once- it was for the speeding ticket- but it was to argue the ticket down. I was totally speeding but I wasn't going as fast as the cop [who wasn't using a speed gun] said I was- he said I was going 80 in a 55 zone (which in a Yugo isn't bloody likely) when I was really going more like 70. It made a difference because anything 25 mph or more over the speed limit was aggravated speeding which is a higher fine and more points on your record. The judge reduced it to "regular" speeding and I paid the ticket.

Visual Purple
03-04-2010, 10:06 PM
This isn't an answer due to restrictions on providing legal advice, but I would point out that sometimes employment applications have been known to ask questions to test honesty. Here's a dictionary definition of "convict."
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/convict
It covers both situations, but "especially" adjudication of guilt after trial--it's not in its broader sense limited to that.

Sampiro
03-04-2010, 10:33 PM
Per that definition, I'm going to answer "Yes" and assume that I'll be given a chance to explain. If it's a place that would refuse to hire me because of a 20 year old speeding ticket without giving me a chance to explain, I don't think it'd be a good place to work anyway and I'm currently employed.

Thanks

J

Richard Pearse
03-05-2010, 12:48 AM
I would ring them up and ask them.

bengangmo
03-05-2010, 01:12 AM
Most such forms I have seen specifically exclude traffic violations, including speeding, red light cameras and the like.

Personally I really don't think it matters whether you list or not - they won't be able to check such a thing right?

Cliffy
03-05-2010, 09:31 AM
Yes. 1) Upon a guilty plea, you are convicted. 2) Courts can't impose sentences without a conviction -- as you paid a fine, you had to have been convicted first. On the facts as you present them, you have been convicted of three moving violations.

--Cliffy

kayaker
03-05-2010, 10:09 AM
I would answer, "Of course".

KneadToKnow
03-05-2010, 10:15 AM
I would answer, "Of course".

And add "Would you really want me if I weren't a bad boy?"

Richard Pearse
03-05-2010, 08:07 PM
Yes. 1) Upon a guilty plea, you are convicted. 2) Courts can't impose sentences without a conviction -- as you paid a fine, you had to have been convicted first. On the facts as you present them, you have been convicted of three moving violations.

--Cliffy

Normally when asked if you have any "convictions", fines for traffic offences are not intended to be included, that's why I'd ring the company and clarify what they want.

BorgHunter
03-05-2010, 08:51 PM
Hell, I think even something as banal as a parking ticket would require a "Yes" to a question as broad as that. I think most employment applications I've seen make it pretty clear by specifying "misdemeanor or felony"—which ends up being a lower bound of reckless driving or thereabouts, since speeding tickets and what have you are infractions, generally.

snailboy
03-05-2010, 09:05 PM
I can't help but wonder what kind of job would want to know if you've ever had a traffic violation. Even driving jobs typically only care about the last 3 years. I'd say that's getting a little too personal.

Richard Pearse
03-05-2010, 09:17 PM
Heck, I have a security clearance for a government agency and even they didn't want to know about traffic offences.

atomicbadgerrace
03-05-2010, 09:43 PM
Normally when asked if you have any "convictions", fines for traffic offences are not intended to be included, that's why I'd ring the company and clarify what they want.

I think the application is clear enough in the wording of the question:

Have you ever been convicted for any violation(s) of law, including moving traffic violations?

Personally, I'd answer Yes, and not bother calling and asking that kind of question. They'd probably be more bothered by the inability to read "including moving traffic violations" than by a Yes answer.

Eva Luna
03-05-2010, 09:49 PM
Not all moving violations are created alike. My guess is that they really aren't concerned so much about speeding tickets. But in my workplace (an immigration law firm), we ask that question in the broadest possible way because clients tend to minimize the importance of traffic violations. So we play it safe and ask about the specifics.

In one case, the charge was vehicular manslaughter; the guy wasn't convicted in the end, but it was a car accident in which someone died. That's the kind of issue we like to know about when, say, working on someone's green card application. DUIs can also be an issue, though many people think of them as "just traffic violations."

So IMHO full disclosure is the best policy.

Billdo
03-05-2010, 11:23 PM
In New York, there are three categories of offenses: felonies, misdemeanors and violations. Moving traffic violations are considered violations, and being found guilty -- either after a trial or by pleading guilty -- would be considered a conviction. (In fact, the card you from the DMV get listing any violations and points is called a "Record of Convictions.")

I believe that other states have similar schemes for traffic violations.

As I read the question, they want to know about all convictions, even for minor violations like moving traffic violations. If you paid the ticket, you're considered to have been convicted, so they want you to list the tickets.

Richard Pearse
03-06-2010, 02:48 AM
I think the application is clear enough in the wording of the question:



Personally, I'd answer Yes, and not bother calling and asking that kind of question. They'd probably be more bothered by the inability to read "including moving traffic violations" than by a Yes answer.
Obviously my country works differently which makes my opinion a bit worthless, but when I get a police clearance it says "no convictions" despite me having several speeding fines, these aren't mentioned at all. To me they'd be looking for traffic violations that were so bad that you actually had to go to court and you ended up with a conviction recorded against your name. Which is why I'd ask, but it seems speeding would be counted as a conviction over there so perhaps it is clear.

I guess as long as you have a chance to explain each conviction it doesn't really matter. My fear with that kind of question if you are only allowed a yes/no answer is that you may be discounted with out good reason.

Cliffy
03-12-2010, 03:58 PM
Normally when asked if you have any "convictions", fines for traffic offences are not intended to be included, that's why I'd ring the company and clarify what they want.

As explained in the OP, moving violations are explicitly included.

--Cliffy

snailboy
03-13-2010, 12:22 PM
It's possible they made a mistake and left out the word 'not'. Still, I'd answer the question as it is worded in case they didn't.

The Second Stone
03-13-2010, 02:36 PM
Yes, a parking ticket is a violation of the law. So is a moving violation.

Bijou Drains
03-13-2010, 02:52 PM
A parking ticket goes to the car owner who may not be the person who parked the car there. But I guess under the law it doesn't matter, the owner has to pay the ticket.

Shmendrik
03-14-2010, 11:35 AM
A parking ticket goes to the car owner who may not be the person who parked the car there. But I guess under the law it doesn't matter, the owner has to pay the ticket.

AFAIK, when you pay a parking ticket you are not pleading guilty to or being convicted of an offense. The same holds true for tickets based on red light cameras.

BorgHunter
03-14-2010, 11:45 AM
AFAIK, when you pay a parking ticket you are not pleading guilty to or being convicted of an offense. The same holds true for tickets based on red light cameras.
Yes, you are. You can either plead guilty and pay the fine, or plead not guilty and take it to court. This is covered by the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause.

On the other hand, parking tickets aren't moving violations, and neither are tickets from red light cameras in some jurisdictions. What this means is a conviction in either one won't increase your insurance or put points on your license, which is probably what you're thinking of.

Shmendrik
03-14-2010, 01:17 PM
Yes, you are. You can either plead guilty and pay the fine, or plead not guilty and take it to court. This is covered by the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause.

On the other hand, parking tickets aren't moving violations, and neither are tickets from red light cameras in some jurisdictions. What this means is a conviction in either one won't increase your insurance or put points on your license, which is probably what you're thinking of.

Say you lent your car to a friend who parked it illegally. Even if you were to go to court and prove this, you would still be liable for the ticket, right?

BorgHunter
03-14-2010, 01:50 PM
Say you lent your car to a friend who parked it illegally. Even if you were to go to court and prove this, you would still be liable for the ticket, right?
Depends on how the law's worded. I'm willing to assume, for the sake of argument, that yes, the owner is liable even if he did not place the car in the illegal position, a la The Simpsons when Barney parks Homer's car in the World Trade Center's plaza.

Shmendrik
03-14-2010, 02:20 PM
Depends on how the law's worded. I'm willing to assume, for the sake of argument, that yes, the owner is liable even if he did not place the car in the illegal position, a la The Simpsons when Barney parks Homer's car in the World Trade Center's plaza.

Ok, so I know that strict liability laws don't require mens rea for conviction, but don't all crimes need a component of actus reus?

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