We were asked for legal advice by a person currently on pretrial diversion for juvenile drug charges - possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and curfew in the state of Ohio. He completed 40 hours of community services and has taken a drug rehabilitation class. He is currently applying to colleges and a concerning question has come up:
"Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense or have charges pending against you at this time? (Other than minor traffic violations)"
He is 17 years old and will have my record expunged by February 7th, 2015 upon completion of diversion. However, he asks whether he has to disclose juvenile drug charges in response to this question given that he has not been convicted or processed?
The answer is:
If it's pretrial diversion, and there has not been a sentencing on a finding of guilty or delinquency, then you don't have a criminal conviction to report. However, you do have "charges pending" until the diversion is completed. I would recommend waiting to fill out the applications until you can truthfully answer the questions "no." If you cannot wait for some reason, you have to answer honestly and state there are charges pending, which you expect to be dismissed as part of pretrial diversion. I would not expect the pending charges to affect financial aid because you don't have a conviction. Clearly the best thing to do is postpone your enrollment and application until after February, 2015 so they won't even know about it.