Question: ”I was accused of shoplifting, and am awaiting trial. I am also in the process of applying for jobs. I have been responding on application as ‘never convicted of a crime.’ Will the pending case show on an employment background check?”
Answer: It will be visible, though only as an arrest. Whether or not it must be disclosed depends on the employment opportunity, as some ask for convictions and pending cases that you may have. With respect to your options, it’s likely that you will have to take the case to trial, as, for whatever reason, you are finding no success negotiating a resolution.
Question: ”I was held at a store and accused of shoplifting. I left my information and was allowed to leave. Can I be arrested at a later date? Will I receive a letter to appear in court? Might they have a warrant out for my arrest?”
Answer: Yes, you can still be prosecuted. However, absent a warrant for failing to appear in court, it’s unlikely that law enforcement would come out and arrest you, as the case would not likely go forward by arrest warrant. With respect to the next portion of your question, it’s difficult to pinpoint a specific timeframe within which you’d receive a notice to appear. It’s unlikely that the case would proceed by arrest warrant, though that’s not because it wouldn’t “qualify,” but rather because it would simply be more likely that you’d receive a notice. If, however, you failed to appear at a court appearance a bench warrant would issue for you. You can contact the city attorney’s office to inquire whether a case has been filed or whether a warrant exists.
Question: “I got caught shoplifting and they sent a letter saying I had to pay a fine. I stole something that was worth $5, and it was returned unopened. The police were never called. Is this going to show up on my criminal record, or a background check? Do I check “yes” or “no” when asked if I have been convicted of a crime?”
Answer: As of now, no. In the future, not likely. You have not been prosecuted or convicted yet. It also doesn’t appear that you have been arrested, so there is nothing to appear on your record. Depending on when the event took place, and a statute of limitations, I cannot state with confidence that you cannot be prosecuted at a later time. On a job application, you can check “no” at this point because you have yet to suffer a conviction.