The short answer is “Yes”. Misdemeanors show up on background checks, especially if they are specifically looking into someone’s criminal history. Misdemeanor offenses may be considered as less serious criminal offenses, but they are criminal offenses nonetheless. They will therefore be a permanent part of your criminal record, and as such, will likely show up on a background check that a person or an employer is running on you.
A misdemeanor conviction in the United States usually results in probation, community service, monetary fines, and even jail time of up to a few months in most states. Some examples of misdemeanors are:
- Public intoxication
- Disorderly conduct
- Petty theft
- Simple battery or assault
- Criminal mischief
- Interference with child custody
A broad range of crimes could be considered as a misdemeanor. It is important to note that the crimes considered as misdemeanors may vary state-by-state. States may also classify misdemeanor crimes into various levels such as Class A or Class 1, Class B or Class 2, and so on. Each category or classification may also signify the severity of damage or injury caused by the crime. For instance, Class A misdemeanors may pertain to more serious misdemeanors that would usually require some jail time.
Misdemeanors, however, may become felony charges depending on several factors. One factor would be the victim; if the victim is a child, an elderly, a pregnant woman, or a police officer, for example, a misdemeanor charge may easily become a felony charge. The use of a deadly weapon, the amount of damage or injury, or being a repeat offender may also become a factor in the upgrade of a misdemeanor into a felony charge.
How Does A Misdemeanor Record Affect My Job Application?
Employers usually do background checks through state records on job applicants. It would be better to disclose any criminal offenses, felony conviction, or any brush with law enforcement you may have had from the get-go. It would also be wise to familiarize yourself with your rights as an applicant and with laws that may affect your application.
Misdemeanors are usually prosecuted at the county level; hence if the employer runs a state background check on you which doesn’t include the state where you committed a misdemeanor, then it probably won’t show up. Still, there is a chance it would come up. Remember, a misdemeanor will show up on your permanent record unless you have it expunged. Also, while misdemeanors may be in your record for life, background checks in most states usually go back seven years or a particular number of years.
Some laws regulate the hiring process. In most states, if a crime does not directly relate to the job, then it shouldn’t affect the hiring process. In any case, misdemeanors are not as big of an issue for employers as felony convictions are.
It is easy enough for employers or anyone to find out about a person’s criminal history. Background checks may be requested from concerned departments of every state or through an employment check service. If you want to see what might show up on your employment and criminal history check, use a third-party agency or background check sites.