No whining, no complaining about the "system," just a short story and a request for some opinions on the subject. Better yet, some input from anyone who might have already tip-toed through this particular mine field, already.
If you aren't in the mood for a "long one," better stop here!
About 30 years ago, I was a slightly screwed-up "little kid" who'd returned from serving in a combat zone, and honorably discharged about 5 months later.
Got home, was considered to be a little too reclusive than was healthy, as diagnosed by a well-meaning brother-in-law. His "cure" was to get me to a party that I didn't want to go to, to integrate me back into "society."
I didn't want to go because I was apprehensive about running into a young lady who evidently thought waiting 2 years was do-able, but 4 years was 2 years too long. In retrospect, she was probably right.
Of course, she was there, with "Jody" in tow.
There was no "scene," but I did seek solace in the bottom of a bottle. (Stereotypical sailor?) Brother-in-law drove me home, but while he was getting the front door open, I made my escape and started walking back towards the party. Seems I wasn't quite done yet.
While making my way back towards the festivities, I bumped into a residential mail box. You know the type, aluminium box mounted on a post, place at the roadside.
I took this to be an "attack" and promptly broke it's skinny little neck, popping it's head off. And sure enough, a few more steps down the road, several of it's buddies were waiting to ambush me. They were dispatched in a similar fashion.
Now, during the carnage, it seems that one or more of these little boxes contained some mail. It didn't seem right at the time, to leave this stuff scattered along the road, so I gathered it up and placed it in a small pile, next to one of the decapitated mailbox post.
This would be when the passing deputy took an interest in me.
We discussed the matter, he was nice so I recounted the whole story to him. He then offered to take me for a ride and I thought that sounded like a good idea. He did remark at a later time that I was a "fairly pleasant little drunk, quite conversational, too."
Interestingly enough, the only charge brought against me was possession of stolen property. When sobered up, I was of the opinion that it should have been drunk & disorderly, destruction of several mailboxes (Fed. offense?) and possession of stolen US Mail (certainly a Fed. offense.)
My attorney was not particularly happy to hear me voice that opinion, by the way. He had no choice but to enter a "no contest" plea.
It does seem the Feds had in interest in seeing what the locals were going to do with me, as a pair of them sat in the proceedings. Had they felt the Federal interest had been slighted, they were fully prepared to raise some charges on their own. (So I was told.)
I pretty much "spilled my guts" in court and told as much as I could actually remember about the event. I was able to offer up two character references from a Sgt. and Capt. with the Norfolk Narcotics, Vice and Intelligence Squad that I'd worked with during my last few months in the service, as well as another month or so, after I'd been discharged.
It was a since discontinued program that offered those of us with a MOS that didn't have much of a civilian market a way to get some training and/or experience that might help land a job on the "outside."
I was a gun captain in an 8 inch, 3 gun turret, on the last of the heavy cruisers, the USS Newport News, CA-148. (My avatar picture.) No adds for that kind of work in any of the newspapers that I could find. . .
I guess the judge felt I wasn't a complete waste of time, because accepted the "no contest" plea and decided to "withhold adjudication for one year." And the Feds sitting in on the case seemed satisfied with that finding, so I faced no new charges from them.
At that time, I was of the opinion that after one year and staying out of any and all legal trouble, that my "record" would then be "cleared." Turns out, that was not the case.
I got an email from the same man with the Dept. of Licensing who helped me straighten out a fingerprint problem, telling me that there was another hold-up, because this 30 year-old case turned up in the background check.
He said "Even though this arrest dates back over 30 years, our verification staff must evaluate this record to ensure that it does not constitute a disqualifying offense." And, "I will monitor your file as it makes its way through the evaluation process, and I will notify you by e-mail when I receive confirmation of the final status."
I cannot tell you how nice it is to have such people working for us, in our State government! I mean that, sincerely.
Regardless of the outcome, I will be seeking legal advice on having my record "expunged." I think that is the term I'm looking for. I hear that this is something that can be done in a case like mine, but that it is not, as I came to discover, an "automatic" process.
If you are bothered by the somewhat "humorous" way I recounted the story, I have to tell you that this is the only way I can comfortably recount it. Otherwise, I find it to be a most embarrassing part of my personal history, displaying gross immaturity and monumental stupidity.
Since then, I've had NO further contact with the criminal justice system, and only a very few traffic tickets spread out of the past 30 years, none within recent memory.
So, what do you think? Will I be "denied?" Should I be? I do know that at the time all this happened, going around armed would have been a very bad idea for me. But since then, I do feel I've matured to the point where I can safely exercise my Constitutional Rights.
I didn't think this would have come into play, because everything I read about applying in my state, Florida, spoke of violent crimes, DUI's, and drug-related offences, and those statements all contained a time-frame, such as "in the past 3 years," or "past 6 years," or multiple offenses.
Arrested? Yes. Convicted, I don't think so, the "adjudication" was withheld, there was no finding of guilt.
I think they may give me a "pass" on this, but I just don't know.