If you work a job that involves providing direct care to others, you probably remember being subjected to a background check when you were first hired. Examples of workplaces that require a background check include nursing facilities, medical offices, group homes, vocational rehabilitation centers, and schools — just to name a few. If a background check is required for your line of work, that study is completed by the Department of Human Services (“DHS”).
Among other things, DHS is looking to see whether you’ve committed any disqualifying offenses. A disqualifying offense is one that prohibits you from providing direct care for the amount of time set forth in the statute. Minnesota statutes provide four different disqualification periods: 7 years, 10 years, 15 years, and lifetime. The length of the disqualification is determined by the type and severity of offense. Some common disqualifying offenses include theft, assault, domestic assault, fraud, maltreatment, and neglect.
If you’ve been charged with a disqualifying offense, you should know that you do not even need to be convicted of the alleged offense to be disqualified. In some cases, the prosecuting attorney will make you an offer to keep the offense off of your criminal record. This is called a stay of adjudication. Essentially, you plead guilty but the judge chooses not to “accept” your guilty plea. Instead, they place you on probation for a certain period. When you complete probation, the charge is dismissed. While this sounds like a great deal, it’s important to fully understand the terms and consequences of that offer. DHS is allowed to disqualify an individual based on a conviction or an admission. In the case of a stay of adjudication, you are required to admit that you committed the alleged offense. This is enough for DHS to disqualify you alone.
To take it one step further, DHS can disqualify you even if you maintain your innocence and your case is dismissed. The law allows a DHS disqualification, if, after their own independent investigation, DHS determines that it is more likely than not that you committed the offense. For this, they will look at the court proceedings, the police reports, and all other relevant evidence.
While this may be discouraging and appear as if you are unable to adequately protect your career if you’re accused of crime, it’s important to know that you have options. The attorneys at Leverson Budke, PLLP are aware of the collateral consequences that you may face as a result of being accused of a crime. We work to place you in the best possible position to keep your job or career. If you’ve worked hard to obtain a job where you provide direct care to others, don’t let that all slip away. Contact a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney that will fight for you today.