Taking FE with felony

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nbaudoin

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Hello I am a recent civil engineering graduate from Louisiana and I have yet to take the FE exam because I have read (and heard) that my felony (charged in 2006, pled guilty in 2008) might disqualify me from taking the FE and getting my EIT license. From what I gather, having a felony is not an immediate deal-breaker. Each application is considered on a case-by-case basis. What I'm hoping to find out is the following:

a) Does each state have a similar stance to Louisiana? If not, could anyone possibly elaborate on their state's difference? I've seen some information indicating that there are states who will only consider felonies that are directly related to the profession (such as taking bribes, being corrupt, poor design leading to injury or death, etc.) whereas others will consider any felony. Louisiana requires that the applicants have good moral character, thus they consider all felonies. I'm hoping that other states are not quite as strict. I've read Oregon is this way, but I haven't really found clear evidence for this yet.

B) If I try to take the test in Louisiana and I am denied, would this preclude me from taking the test elsewhere or make it more difficult to do so? I'm considering moving to another state if practicing this career will be easier to accomplish elsewhere, but because I am on probation I need to have a good plan of action in place before I do anything.

c) If there are any felons who have successfully gotten approval to take the test, could you possibly give me any information that might be helpful to boost my chances of being accepted as well. Of course, trying to get the record expunged is probably the best idea, but in my situation that is not possible. I am currently on probation (in very good standing) and have completed my therapy goals. My therapist would be willing to write a letter and my probation officer would likely be willing to attest to my good conduct. I have a couple university professors who would attest to my character as well. Would any of this make a difference? Any information to clear up just how they make their decision would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading and for any information you might have to help me.

 

Dexman PE PMP

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The only way to know for sure is to apply. Be sure to explain your side of what happened in a way that the board can't "assume" negative things. As far as I know, each state treats their applications mutually exclusive from other states (i.e. Colorado doesn't know or care what Lousiana does).

Not applying is the only way to guarantee you won't be accepted.

 

hjg7715

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I concur with Dexman PE, the only way to know with certainty is for the board to review your application. I think you're on the right track in inferring that criminal convictions/pleas substantially related to the qualifications and duties of an engineer would be problematic. However, a criminal conviction/plea doesn't wouldn't automatically preclude you from being able to obtain certification as an EIT or PE license in most states. There may be laws on the books or board rules in some states that may automatically disqualify you from professional licensure, but I know of none off the top of my head. More than likely you're just going to have to submit your application and one state's review and determination may not be same for another. I would assume that the further away (years) you are from offense works in your favor. Best of luck!!

 

Judowolf PE

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Personally, I would go to or call and talk to someone at the state first and specifically ask questions about your situation. I don't know if every state does, but I was thinking there was part of the application that asks if you have tried to apply to and been rejected by another state...better to ask something orally than put it on paper and leave a record

 

iwire

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The only felony related to Maryland is drug charges. The other 3 are related to engineering. Is your a drug related?

 

Peele1

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I concur with the above. It depends. In general, background checks with criminal convictions are supposed to evaluate the candidate based on what they are applying for. If you have been convicted of embezzlement and apply for a job at a bank, they are more likely to deny you of that than if you apply for a non-money handling job, such as a librarian or teacher. If you are a convicted of a crime against children then the converse is more likely.

However, some people or groups will just see felony, and drop it. If that happens, then you can appeal.

Depending on what the crime is, and your age, you can ask a criminal defense attorney what your options are: try to get it expunged, write a letter to the governor asking for a pardon (long shot), or re-appeal - I've heard of people being successful due to coersion, malpractice of the first attorney, age of the defendent then and now, circumstances of the arrest, trial and conviction. What are the aspects of your guilty plea? You could have requested some kind of record removal after x number of years, assuming no further arrests.

Apply for the exam, explain everything, and talk to a criminal defense attorney about your options if you have further issues, or want it removed.

 

nbaudoin

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Thanks everyone for the advice. You've been most helpful. Since writing this post I have found employment as a Engineering Tech working under a pressure vessel engineer. My employers did not require me to take the FE exam. I would still like to take the test in the future however, as not doing so will most likely limit my career choices. I plan to apply to take the test this fall.

Judowolf, I think you are right about that question on the exam and this is the reason I held off trying to apply in Louisiana. I was concerned that my application being rejected in LA would negatively affect my chances elsewhere. But I have come to the conclusion that even so, not applying is worse than doing so and being rejected. I guess the first step would be to call the licensing board and just asking them before submitting the offical appliction.

I really hope you are all right about it being a state-by-state thing. I will continue to work here and gain experience and build a good personal relationship with my bosses and hope that when the time comes I am allowed to take the test. If not, I will hopefully use this job as a good reference when an opportunity comes up to move elsewhere.

A few have asked about my crime. I'd rather not go into the specifics of the crime but it is not drug related nor is it financial or fraudulent in any way. Also, it's non-violent. Iwire, I will check into Maryland per your suggestion.

Thanks again for the warm welcome to your board!

 

Judowolf PE

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If they say no to your application for the felony, I would contact an attorney and pettion the court to have the conviction expunged. If you explain to the judge about your desire to be an engineer and why this being on your record from five plus years ago is preventing it, I think it should swing things in your favor. It shouldn't cost a whole lot of cash to try that either, in fact, i would do that anyway to increase your chances of getting a better job.

 

Crazyjim30

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Let me know what your State Board has to say. I too have this issue. Since I've just started class, I would like to find out the answer to the felony question before I waste a lot of time and money pursuing an invalid career choice.

 

vtecingen

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Call the Engineering Board of your respective state which happens to be Louisiana. They will clarify for you whether your previous conviction will bar you from taking the examination.

If you are taking the FE exam, check out my blog as I have chronicled the steps of which I took to recently pass the EIT. Good Luck!
http://eitexamprep.tumblr.com

 

MechWithLove

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@nbaudoin

Thank you for sharing your story. I am also in the same situation. I would like to know if your are able and read this, to whether you ever took your FE Exam successfully. 

I too am a felon from almost 10 years ago, and am a sophomore engineering student in Mechanical Engineering. I originally wanted to pursue Aerospace, however upon some research I had found that many companies conduct scrutinizing background checks and require employees to withstand national security clearance. So now I'm attempting for a more broad field as a mech eng and attempting to work as an aerospace engineer for a company.  

I am continuing to work on my criminal record getting publicly sealed which is likely the greatest success that I can attain in my situation, and it would at least allow me a fair chance as an engineer somewhere. I will continue to reply to future threads on this topic to others that may benefit my current experience. 

Right now I am preparing to meet with my states Volunteer Lawyers Network (VLN) which is something that Minnesota offers for a free surface that individuals with criminal records can attain free information on where they stand at expungement and/or sealing there criminal record, this may be a good first step for others interested in seeking such an option. In addition, this service is only eligible to citizens in Minnesota who's "income is below the 300% Federal Poverty level". I still have to learn exactly what that is, but being a student, I don't think I'll be any less fortuned than I am currently.

I'd be happy to share other experiences if others are interested in hearing and have a relatable question, I know life is hard with a criminal record so sometimes it helps to learn what you can do with the way you'll have to live the rest of your life, and where you stand to the rest of the world. Its definitely a sad story, but theirs ways of making it better, but its hard to believe that we'll ever get a regular life back

 

Jeckler1227

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@MechWithLove   Hello i am very interested in your story. I have 2 expunged drug felonies(wobblers really). I am a young african american male who is trying to get my life back on track, but am now disqualified to follow some of my true passions(law, medicine etc.) I was hoping engineering would be a bit easier to get in the door but after reading countless forums i really have no idea!!  SOS lol. I actually have a pretty stained record with about 3-4 drug charges but they have all been reduced to misdemeanors. I am actually very serious in pursuing a lucrative career, and since math comes second nature to me i thought engineering would be a good fit. I want to enroll in school, however dont want to waste more time and money being denied down the road for state licensing etc.  

 

P-E

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@MechWithLove   Hello i am very interested in your story. I have 2 expunged drug felonies(wobblers really). I am a young african american male who is trying to get my life back on track, but am now disqualified to follow some of my true passions(law, medicine etc.) I was hoping engineering would be a bit easier to get in the door but after reading countless forums i really have no idea!!  SOS lol. I actually have a pretty stained record with about 3-4 drug charges but they have all been reduced to misdemeanors. I am actually very serious in pursuing a lucrative career, and since math comes second nature to me i thought engineering would be a good fit. I want to enroll in school, however dont want to waste more time and money being denied down the road for state licensing etc.  
J, you don’t need a license to become an engineer.  There are many more without a license than with.   If engineering turns out to be your thing, then go for it.  

There’s a decent chance you may be able to get the license, but don’t let that stop you, worry about that later.  

 

MechWithLove

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For @Jeckler1227 and any others,
Sorry I didn't have any notifications on here and really forgot about this forum for a while. But really I've got great news!

I had certainly changed my major from Aerospace to Mechanical engineering due to my past criminal record, which was actually very serious. However, since then in 2009 I've done many things to better myself and those around me and in my community that have not gone unnoticed.

I've recently just graduated with a bachelors in mechanical engineering, and have started a job at an extremely major aerospace company in Los Angeles across the country from my home. But not only that, I have also been given a top secret clearance to work on classified projects. I must say it may have been a bit more thorough for me than for others, and with all of my history since committing the felony of doing better all around, I'm sure heavily factored in.

Getting the job in the first place was truly a very lucky break, I had however developed excellent experience and performance to be an interest for them as well.
When they did put in for me to attain a clearance as an intern 2 years ago I was very nervous. I brought up to my manager that I had a troubled past. They didn't ask anything about it and said if it was accepted to attain the position at the company, attaining the clearance would likely not be too far off.
During the meetings with the DoD I was at least able to speak my story through everything, and with that almost a year later they had decided that I would be accepted as a candidate to attain the clearance.

I truthfully didn't think I could ever be where I am, but it just goes to show that with enough hard work and pursuit for a better life, you truly can attain many things regardless of your past.

There are some aspects that may have factored in that I don't feel at liberty to mention due to them being fairly personal, but I will say that with enough passion to lead a better life, you'll find something great that you can attain and love.

I'll start following this forum now and reply if I can for any additional questions.
 
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