The Original Charge for an Arrest is Relevant

It is common practice for courts to allow individuals who are charged with a felony or serious misdemeanor offense to plea bargain down to a lesser offense just to keep the justice system moving and to avoid long drawn-out trials. For example, someone gets arrested for aggravated assault with intent to cause bodily injury (felony). They get in front of the judge and their attorney offers the court a guilty plea in exchange for amending the charge to simple assault (misdemeanor). Most times, the court will agree to this and the individual walks away with a conviction for a minor misdemeanor offense instead of a felony on their record.

Security clearance applicants be forewarned, adjudicators reviewing criminal conduct records are looking at what actually happened that caused the individual to get arrested and charged, not just the final court disposition. The measuring stick for an adjudicator is this: if there is reasonable belief the individual committed the offense for which they were arrested for, regardless of any plea bargain, the original charge is what is relevant.

Factors that may mitigate or aggravate criminal conduct concerns are the seriousness of the conduct; any previous history of similar behavior or was this a one-time isolated event that is unlikely to reoccur; how much time has elapsed since the conduct occurred; was the individual pressured or coerced to commit the crime; what was the maturity level of the individual at the time; or has any type of rehabilitation been completed. Criminal conduct is one of the more difficult guidelines for adjudicators to sort through to get the full picture of what actually happened.