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How to Handle a Mistake After Receiving Offer From Big 4

Ed. note: A conundrum from the Going Concern mailbag we’re throwing out here for the readers to answer. Need advice? From us or from anonymous strangers on the internet? Email us at [email protected].

To whom it may concern –

I was recently charged with a DUI-D (driving under the influence of marijuana) in a southern US state a week after accepting an offer from a Big 4 firm for Advisory. (I know this is a very serious charge and it offends people greatly who have been impacted personally in their past – for that I apologize and I have already started to learn from my mistake and enroll voluntarily in programs). My offer was extended after an internship in NYC (the charge is in a different state than where I will be working). This is my 1st offense and is considered a Misdemeanour 1. Due to the slow wheels of justice my trial most likely won’t start until January, possibly even February and the start date for my Big 4 position would be in July or August (I’ve already lawyered up, but based on police reports the chances of the charge getting reduced to reckless driving is low unless there is some administrative error which pops up)

I’m extremely concerned about losing my offer as a result of this charge. Can anyone offer any advice? I’m a nervous wreck… I’m the 1st person in my family to get a job at a big company and the thought of screwing up this opportunity and letting my whole family down is causing me to lose sleep and my appetite.

I see a few possible options/outcomes which I’ve listed below:

1) Call my recruiter this week and let them know
R1a) They thank me for being honest and keep the offer on the table
R1b) They thank me for being honest and revoke the offer (but I’ll still have time to find another job)
2) Don’t tell my recruiter at all
R2a) There is a check somewhere after the 1st semester and my offer is revoked over winter break (still have time to find another job)
R2b) There is a check a few weeks before start date and the offer is revoked (I get screwed because I don’t have time to find another job)
3) Don’t do anything until the court date and a conviction is handed down then revisit the above options

Do you have any experience or industry knowledge about campus hires and arrests (not issues arisen while people were already employed)? Are you aware of the timing of background checks for Big 4? (I know I signed my internship offer in October and the background check was in March) Do Big 4 companies run additional background checks if I already received one for my internship last summer? Is there any benefit to being honest and just telling my recruiter now? Does a successful internship add any credence?

Thank you so much in advance – any advice or knowledge on these matters is greatly appreciated.