Do Background Checks Show Misdemeanors?

Do Background Checks Show Misdemeanors?

In comparison to felonies, misdemeanors are "less serious" criminal offenses. What's classified as a misdemeanor depends on the jurisdiction; however, misdemeanors often include crimes like petty theft, disorderly conduct, vandalism, public intoxication, etc.

Misdemeanors on Background Checks

While misdemeanors carry fewer punishments than felonies, like felonies, they stay on your criminal record for life — which means that misdemeanors can show up on background checks. That said, whether or not your misdemeanor will show up on your background check is entirely dependent on how thorough the check is.

Misdemeanors are usually prosecuted at the county level, so if an employer is running a state background check on you and your state's records don't include the county you were convicted in, then it's likely your misdemeanor won't show up. So while there is a chance your misdemeanor won't show up on a background check, there's always the possibility that it will.

Employment and Misdemeanors

Generally speaking, employers are less concerned with misdemeanors than they are with felonies. Whether or not an employer will hire someone with a misdemeanor on their record is completely up to the employer.

However, if you have a misdemeanor for underage drinking that's seven years old, it's more likely your employer will be sympathetic. If you have a DUI misdemeanor that's more recent, on the other hand, your criminal record might be a bigger issue.

When it comes to the hiring process, be upfront and honest with your employers about your criminal record. If an employer asks whether or not you have any convictions and you say no, your employer could fire you years down the road if they find out about your criminal past (because while your employer might not care about your underage drinking, they likely will care that you lied to them). It's best to be upfront about the situation and explain your circumstances.

So, Do Background Checks Show Misdemeanors?

The short answer is yes, they do. However, misdemeanors might not show up if an employer doesn't run a county background check in the country where the individual was convicted of a misdemeanor.

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