Misdemeanor offences are not regarded as serious offences like felony offenses under the laws of the United States. This makes the punishments imposed on them less severe. Examples of punishments an individual who committed a misdemeanor offence might receive are community service, probation, brief time incarceration or monetary fines. The question then might be, do misdemeanors show up on background checks?
It is worth pointing out that what is regarded as a misdemeanor totally relies on the state or jurisdiction you are in. The basic forms of misdemeanor offenses are disorderly conduct, petty theft, public intoxication and vandalism among them.
Most states or jurisdictions in the United States has a maximum punishment of 12 months incarceration for misdemeanor offences. Such a sentence is normally served at the local city or county jail. It not served at the higher security prisons.
Even though misdemeanor felonies have minor punishment, they stay on your criminal record forever unless you petition for its expungement. There is no expiry date for the offence. Misdemeanor offences may be viewed as minor felonies by they are still considered serious breaches of the law.
Situations Where a Misdemeanor Don’t Show Up on a Background Check
Since misdemeanors are criminal offences, they do show up on a background check report. However, this can be highly influenced by the type of background check that is being conducted.
State Level Background Checks
Since misdemeanor cases are mostly sorted at county courts, this means that the records are kept at county level. If the one conducting the background check performs a state or multi jurisdiction background check, then they might miss the misdemeanor records from the county level.
However, you have no guarantees that these scenarios might happen. There are county courts in the United States that do report to state databases. That way, the misdemeanor offence can end up being available at state level, thus searchable on a background check.
Applying for a Job from Another County, State
Another instance whereby a misdemeanor offence might not show up on a background check report is when you are looking for a job from another county or state. The misdemeanor offence might not show up when they conduct a background check on you.
Some employers use current and previous addresses to run a thorough background check on potential employees. They use them to find criminal records that the individual might have had from the counties they lived in, in the past.
The Ban the Box Law
There is also the ban the box law in some states in the United States. This law prevents employers from asking potential employees about past criminal activities. That way, your criminal background check won’t come into play.
The 7 Year Rule
Background checks goes back a number of years. In most cases, it is 7 years. States like Texas, California, New Mexico, Nevada, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Washington, Colorado, Kansas has the 7-year rule which states that companies must not state criminal offences than are more than 7 years.
Getting a Misdemeanor Expunged
It is possible to expunge a felony conviction, even though it is very difficult. There are a number of factors that influence the chances of getting a felony conviction expunged. Factors like the state you live, the misdemeanor that you want to expunge, amount of time since the conviction and whether there are any other criminal charges that you have.
To be able to expunge a misdemeanor, you should first find out if the laws of the state you live in allow your conviction to be expunged.
In conclusion, the answer to the question, do misdemeanors show up on background checks can be answered with the above examples. It is not a yes or no answer, but one that depend on a number of factors.