USAO background check question

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Anonymous User
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USAO background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:09 pm

1L looking to apply to USAO jobs this summer and wondering whether I should bother.

I'm a K-JD, and smoked weed occasionally during college, then stopped after graduation and haven't used any illegal drugs since May '12. Obviously I'll have to answer yes on the 'have you used drugs in the past year/7 years' question (depending on what form I have to do). I'd appreciate it if anyone with a sense of the background check process could weigh in on whether I should even bother applying to government jobs this summer that require background checks. Is this an auto-ding?

Thanks!

Anonymous User
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Re: USAO background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:41 pm

Not an auto-ding. Be completely honest, forthright, and contrite. I'm sure every office has different policies, but I know of people in a similar situation to you who were fine. Obviously don't indulge anymore going forward.

anon168
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Re: USAO background check question

Postby anon168 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:1L looking to apply to USAO jobs this summer and wondering whether I should bother.

I'm a K-JD, and smoked weed occasionally during college, then stopped after graduation and haven't used any illegal drugs since May '12. Obviously I'll have to answer yes on the 'have you used drugs in the past year/7 years' question (depending on what form I have to do). I'd appreciate it if anyone with a sense of the background check process could weigh in on whether I should even bother applying to government jobs this summer that require background checks. Is this an auto-ding?

Thanks!


DOJ is more concerned about habitual drug use, if it was just experimental and/or as you say "occasional" then it's not going to be a red flag. More than one of our commanders-in-chief copped to smoking dope, so it's not like it's that big of an issue (again assuming it's not habitual and you're not a closet addict).

Anonymous User
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Re: USAO background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:00 pm

anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:1L looking to apply to USAO jobs this summer and wondering whether I should bother.

I'm a K-JD, and smoked weed occasionally during college, then stopped after graduation and haven't used any illegal drugs since May '12. Obviously I'll have to answer yes on the 'have you used drugs in the past year/7 years' question (depending on what form I have to do). I'd appreciate it if anyone with a sense of the background check process could weigh in on whether I should even bother applying to government jobs this summer that require background checks. Is this an auto-ding?

Thanks!


DOJ is more concerned about habitual drug use, if it was just experimental and/or as you say "occasional" then it's not going to be a red flag. More than one of our commanders-in-chief copped to smoking dope, so it's not like it's that big of an issue (again assuming it's not habitual and you're not a closet addict).


OP here. Definitely not a closet addict (I CAN QUIT WHENEVER I WANT OK), but is the recency going to nail me? Given that this was within the past year (though like I said hard stop after graduating college).

Thanks for the advice, folks.

anon168
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Re: USAO background check question

Postby anon168 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:1L looking to apply to USAO jobs this summer and wondering whether I should bother.

I'm a K-JD, and smoked weed occasionally during college, then stopped after graduation and haven't used any illegal drugs since May '12. Obviously I'll have to answer yes on the 'have you used drugs in the past year/7 years' question (depending on what form I have to do). I'd appreciate it if anyone with a sense of the background check process could weigh in on whether I should even bother applying to government jobs this summer that require background checks. Is this an auto-ding?

Thanks!


DOJ is more concerned about habitual drug use, if it was just experimental and/or as you say "occasional" then it's not going to be a red flag. More than one of our commanders-in-chief copped to smoking dope, so it's not like it's that big of an issue (again assuming it's not habitual and you're not a closet addict).




OP here. Definitely not a closet addict (I CAN QUIT WHENEVER I WANT OK), but is the recency going to nail me? Given that this was within the past year (though like I said hard stop after graduating college).

Thanks for the advice, folks.


Recency is certainly an issue, but what cuts in your favor is that it was during college. People experiment all the time in college. So the fact that you just recently used isn't all that pertinent given that you are a law student.

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ggocat
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Re: USAO background check question

Postby ggocat » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:26 am

It won't be an auto-ding. Further, if you're applying for 1L unpaid positions, you might not even have to answer questions about past drug use. Depends on the office.

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Re: USAO background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:35 am

So if you're genuinely concerned about this, what about not disclosing? (Obviously combined with complete abstinence going forward.) What if you've tried, but not habitually used, anything that didn't get legalized in at least one state earlier this week?

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ggocat
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Re: USAO background check question

Postby ggocat » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So if you're genuinely concerned about this, what about not disclosing? (Obviously combined with complete abstinence going forward.) What if you've tried, but not habitually used, anything that didn't get legalized in at least one state earlier this week?

Lying on the form is a federal crime. If you are asked drug questions you are likely also required to provide them a whole host of names of people who knew you in various contexts. If they ask you for these names, those people will be interviewed, often in person. They will be told that lying to the investigator is a federal crime.

Use that info as you will.

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Re: USAO background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:04 am

You never know where your career will take you. It's not worth lying on a federal form for an unpaid USAO position. Be honest and let the chips fall where they may. Take it as an opportunity to practice putting a positive spin on "bad" facts.

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Re: USAO background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:08 am

Admitting to drug use 6 months ago = rejected. Focus your efforts elsewhere...you don't want to get that letter in April saying that your only remaining job offer has been rescinded after the background check. When they say "experimenting" is ok, they don't mean "I was a stoner in a college, but I quit last semester after I already applied to law school."

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Re: USAO background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:26 pm

I coordinate the hiring for my office at Main Justice. Drug use in the last year for us is auto ding (we revoke offers for that). Beyond 1 year, it depends on the drug, recency, and frequency. It goes to another office who has discretion to reject even if it was weed, more than a year, and 1 time.




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