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I often get phone calls from previous clients who are applying for school or for a new job and want to know if they have disclose a conviction for a Reckless Operation, a Physical Control or an OVI. The answer depends completely on how the question is posed and the type of position for which you are applying.

The first thing to understand is the difference between being “charged” with an offense and being “convicted” of an offense. You have been “charged” with an offense when you are cited by an officer on a traffic ticket. Even if you enter a “not guilty” plea to the charge, it is still a charge that was filed against you. As such, being asked if you have ever been “charged” with an offense is much different than being asked if you have ever been “convicted” of an offense. You are only convicted once your case is completely resolved and you have been sentenced by the court.

The next thing to keep in mind is that a Reckless Operation, Physical Control or OVI conviction is a conviction under Ohio’s traffic code and not Ohio’s criminal code. Therefore, if you are asked whether or not you have ever been convicted of a criminal offense, you can honestly answer “no.” In addition, a conviction for a traffic offense in a municipal court is a misdemeanor conviction. Most school and job applications will ask if you have ever been convicted of a felony offense, and again, you can answer this question in the negative.

Another question I have seen pop up is “Have you ever been convicted of a drug or alcohol related offense?” If your conviction is for an OVI or a Physical Control, you must answer “yes” to this question. However, if you are convicted of a Reckless Operation, you can answer “no,” as this conviction is not associated with alcohol or drugs.

While this is by no means an exhaustive list of the questions you may encounter on a school or job application, this is hopefully a good start. I would highly recommend that you contact your attorney if you run into a question you are not sure how to answer. While you certainly don’t want to deceive a potential employer, you also don’t want to disclose something that may not be necessary to disclose and which could hinder your application process.

Attorney Jessica Fallon represents clients in Ohio in all types of OVI, criminal, and traffic cases. If you need experienced legal counsel, contact The Law Offices of Saia & Piatt, Inc. to request a free consultation.