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Can I decline an applicant because of a criminal record?

Implementing a criminal background check policy is of the utmost importance when screening volunteer applicants

Commonly used volunteer disqualification guidelines when criminal records are found, while performing a criminal background check.

The following criminal act convictions or pending case dispositions should lead to a judgment of character assessment that a volunteer is not qualified to be in a volunteer organization:

  • Felonies that include a component involving physical violence
  • Any criminal act involving sexual nature, no matter how long ago it occurred
  • Non-violent felonies within the past five (5) years
  • Any criminal felony or misdemeanor conviction that resulted in physical and/or mental harm to a minor (no time limitations)
  • Any volunteer who presently is or has been registered in a local, state of national sex offender registry

The term “conviction” applies to the final disposition of a any given criminal acts. You must also consider if the felony was pleaded down to a misdemeanor, in that case then the following misdemeanors guidelines should apply:

  • Misdemeanors concerning physical force or intimidation of force towards an individual (adult or minor) in the past ten (10) years
  • Misdemeanors whereby sexual based conduct took part, including prostitution, solicitation. Said acts including but not limited to pornography, lewd conduct, and indecent exposure irrespective of how long ago they took place
  • Both felony and misdemeanor convictions concerning controlled substances within the last five (5) years
  • Both felony and misdemeanor convictions relating to cruelty to animals within the last ten (10) years

What is a felony? Courts of law define felony as “a criminal act punishable by imprisonment in excess of one year”
What is a conviction? In a court of law, a conviction is the final verdict that results when a judge or jury finds a defendant guilty of a crime.