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Do Background Checks Show Misdemeanors?


Misdemeanors are often considered a less serious criminal offense compared to their felony counterpart. Common misdemeanors include reckless driving, petty theft, public intoxication, trespassing and more. Although misdemeanors don’t look as bad as felonies on paper–they can still hinder your job search and potential employment. Nevertheless, many wonder if a misdemeanor can show up on a background check. In many cases, the answer is yes.

If a future employer decides to run a criminal background check on your and there’s a misdemeanor offense present, the offense will show up. If the potential employer decides to do a state background check instead of a county background check, there’s a chance the offense may not be included on the report.

How long does a misdemeanor stay on your record?

The misdemeanor will permanently stay on your record until you successfully petition for expungement. However, in some cases, background checks will only go back a certain number of years, such as 7 years.

What is expungement?

This a court-ordered process where a person with an arrest or criminal conviction has their records sealed. In Michigan, you can have a prior conviction set aside even if it is not your first offense.  Michigan allows a person to set aside a conviction (expunge) if they have 1 felony and up to 2 misdemeanors as long as the convictions are for crimes that are not exempt. If you have difficulty obtaining a job due to your misdemeanor, an expungement may be the right choice for you.

When applying for a job, if it’s asked whether or not you’ve been convicted of a crime, the best answer is, to be honest. Though you may be tempted to skew the truth, if it’s discovered that you lied about your offense, your chances of being hired for that job are greatly diminished.

At Aldrich Legal Services, our lawyers can answer any questions you have about misdemeanors. If you are facing a misdemeanor charge, you can turn to our Plymouth, Michigan-based law firm for skilled criminal defense representation. 

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