Can a Misdemeanor Conviction Keep You From Getting a Job?

misdemeanors that prevent employment

Having a criminal conviction makes it harder to get a job—plain and simple. What many people don’t realize, however, is that it’s usually not cut and dry.

Many employers won’t dismiss your application simply because you have a misdemeanor on your record. They’ll look for other factors while they make their hiring decisions. How long ago did it happen? What was the nature of the misdemeanor offense?

Below, we take a sweeping look at how a misdemeanor conviction will influence your chances at employment and what you can do to get a job with a misdemeanor.

What is a Misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor is a lesser criminal offense typically punishable by a maximum jail time of less than one year, fines, or community service. Misdemeanors encompass a range of non-violent offenses, such as petty theft, disorderly conduct, or simple assault.

These crimes are generally considered less severe than felonies. Felonies, on the other hand, are more serious crimes that can result in imprisonment exceeding one year, significant fines, or both.

The key distinction lies in the severity of the crime and the corresponding punishment. Because misdemeanors are lighter offenses, they are often less damaging when they show up on a background check.

Types of Misdemeanors That Prevent Employment

Having certain misdemeanor convictions on your record can make it extremely difficult to get hired, even for seemingly minor offenses.

Employers often conduct background checks these days, and something as small as a misdemeanor for disorderly conduct could be enough to remove you from consideration.

Some of the most common misdemeanors that can prevent you from getting hired include:

  • Theft/Shoplifting – Any conviction involving an element of dishonesty or stealing is a huge red flag for employers. They may worry you could steal from the company.
  • Drug Possession – Even a minor marijuana possession charge can disqualify you from many jobs, especially those involving operating vehicles or machinery.
  • Assault/Domestic Violence – Misdemeanor assault, battery, or domestic violence convictions raise concerns about workplace violence issues.
  • DUI/DWI – Driving under the influence misdemeanors often restrict your ability to be hired for jobs involving driving.
  • Disorderly Conduct – This catchall misdemeanor can cover fights, public intoxication, and other behavior that gives employers pause.

While having these on your record doesn’t necessarily prevent you from ever getting hired, it’s important to be upfront about the circumstances and how you’ve corrected that behavior.

Some employers may be understanding, but misdemeanors can still severely limit your opportunities.

Do You Have To Disclose Your Criminal Record on a Job Application?

In many states, you are asked to check yes or no if you have been convicted of a criminal charge in the past. That has historically been a significant barrier to former offenders, whose applications would frequently be discarded without further review.

Nevada is a “Ban the Box” state, which means it is no longer legal to ask about an applicant’s criminal background on initial applications. This is a big win in that it can reduce the odds of employment discrimination.

However, exceptions exist for positions like peace officers, firefighters, or those with access to criminal justice databases (CJIS or NCIC). Applications must state that a criminal record is not necessarily disqualifying.

Additionally, if an applicant has a record, employers must consider five factors:

  1. Time since conviction
  2. Age at the time of offense
  3. Severity of the crime
  4. Relevance to the job
  5. Evidence of rehabilitation

Ban the Box helps you get your foot in the door, but there may still be barriers, particularly if the type of job you are looking for is very sensitive to criminal convictions.

How Long Does a Misdemeanor Conviction Stay on Your Record?

Misdemeanor charges remain on your record forever in Nevada. However, you can have the charge sealed after a predetermined waiting period. This will depend on the specifics of your conviction charges.

However, the general range to have a conviction expunged is between 1-7 years. After that, you will need to file your request with the courts actively.

Note that even sealed convictions may be viewed by a potential employer depending on the circumstances. For example, healthcare employers are legally entitled to be informed about drug-related offenses, regardless of whether they have been sealed or how long ago they took place.

Will My Current Employer Be Notified If I Was Recently Convicted of a Misdemeanor?

If you are currently employed and have been recently convicted of a misdemeanor, the conviction can still impact your current employment.

While the court system will not directly contact your employer to inform them, there are situations where you will be legally expected to disclose the information.

  • Company Policies: Some employers have policies that require employees to disclose any criminal convictions, including misdemeanors, during their employment. Failure to report such information could lead to disciplinary action.
  • Industry Regulations: Certain industries, such as finance or healthcare, may have regulations that require employees to disclose criminal convictions to their employers. Licensing boards or regulatory bodies may also be involved in these cases.
  • Job Responsibilities: If your misdemeanor is directly related to your job responsibilities, there may be circumstances where your employer becomes aware of the conviction through internal channels.

Before voluntarily disclosing a misdemeanor crime conviction, consider consulting with an attorney. They will be able to help you review company policy and the stipulations required by the contract you signed.

Break Free From Your Criminal Record – Contact Benjamin Durham Law Firm

If you are struggling to find a job because a misdemeanor charge keeps showing up on your criminal background check, we understand the frustration. While having a criminal record can certainly complicate your job search, it doesn’t have to disqualify you from all decent opportunities.

People with a criminal record can still get a job. Sometimes, they just have to take a few extra steps to achieve steady employment. Our expungement lawyers can walk you through having your record sealed.

Contact us for a free consultation.

Author Bio

Benjamin Durham is the principal attorney and founder of Benjamin Durham Law Firm, a criminal defense law firm based in Las Vegas, NV. With over 20 years of experience in the legal field, he represents clients in both injury and criminal cases. Over his career, he has secured favorable verdicts for clients in both state and federal courts and successfully defended numerous high-profile prosecutions.

Ben’s exceptional legal skills and dedication to his clients have earned him recognition as a life member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He also has been honored as one of the Top 100 trial lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association, further solidifying his reputation as a top-notch legal practitioner.

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