When should I tell a potential employer about my criminal history?

I may be offered a job soon, but I am pretty certain that it will be contingent on passing a background check. In my state, employers are allowed to ask about both misdemeanors and felonies. I was charged with theft almost four years ago because I bought stolen property. I was offered ARD, but could not pay the... show more I may be offered a job soon, but I am pretty certain that it will be contingent on passing a background check. In my state, employers are allowed to ask about both misdemeanors and felonies.

I was charged with theft almost four years ago because I bought stolen property. I was offered ARD, but could not pay the fines in time, so only recently closed the case out by pleading no contest. The job I applied and interviewed for is a cashier job, so it is related.

I know what I am going to say when asked the question, but I don't know when it is appropriate to tell them. If they contact me and tell me I have the job contingent on passing a background check, should I tell the manager over the phone or should I wait until I fill out the background check form and then disclose it by answering the question on the form (since the background check forms usually ask)?

Please help! This is the first job I've applied to since the conviction hit my record!
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