How Long Does a Misdemeanor Stay on Your Record in California? (in 2022)

Background check repair icon.Written by Background Check Repair

Criminal Records | November 23, 2022

Man with his hands on his hips leans over toward a computer screenshot showing misdemeanor records in California and the state of California on the right while a calendar flips through the months on his left and he wonders how long does a misdemeanor stay on your records in California?

Individuals living in California who have a criminal history often wonder how long does a misdemeanor stay on your record in California?

According to recent legal statutes, a misdemeanor will remain on an individual’s criminal record for 7 years at most in the State of California, and in many cases this number can be even less in certain situations.

Anyone can discover how long does a misdemeanor stay on your record in California by using a free background check tool right now to check your criminal records.

However, there is a lot more to consider for individuals that have misdemeanors on their records, when it comes to applying for jobs and apartments that perform background checks.

This guide outlines how California makes it possible to remove those convictions so residents can pass employment and residency checks.

How Long Does a Misdemeanor Stay on Your Record in California?

When it comes to how long does a misdemeanor stay on your record in California the answer is surprisingly simple. While most states only abide by the FCRA when it comes to how far a background check can go, California has created their own state laws to tackle the issue.1

California is what is known as a 7-year-state. 7 Year states is the nickname that is given to states that have adopted the 7-year rule which forbids background check companies from reporting criminal history information that is older than 7 years to employers. This law was created to help individuals with criminal records more easily find employment once they have served their sentence and enough time has passed since the initial charges were filed.

With all that being said a misdemeanor will stay on an individual’s record in California for 7 years at most. However, there are plenty of different ways to lower this number even further.

Do Misdemeanors Go Away After 7 Years in California?

Many individuals will have heard that certain crimes will eventually disappear from their record and will have questions like: Do misdemeanors go away after 7 years? In most states an individual’s criminal record will stay with them forever. However, California criminal records will only appear for 7 years at most.

Will a Misdemeanor Ruin My Life?

Once convicted, many individuals will be wondering will a misdemeanor ruin my life? How much a misdemeanor affects your life will depend on the severity of the crime. Most low-level misdemeanors will minimally affect employment opportunities. However, individuals should still prepare a response in regards to any possible questions about their criminal history during job interviews.

Misdemeanors That Prevent Employment

Although most low-level crimes will have a minimal effect on employment there are still some misdemeanors that prevent employment in most cases. Generally, this will be due to the fact that the individual who committed the crime poses a threat to the employees or to assets of the business. The most common misdemeanors that prevent employment are as follows:

Screenshot of State of CA for Department of Fair Employment and Housing with yellow arrow pointing to the definition of fair chance act.

The Fair Chance Act in the State of California makes it against the law for employers to discriminate based on previous criminal convictions during the applications process, which is also known as Ban the Box.

  • Violent crimes
  • Sex crimes
  • Crimes Against Children
  • Crimes related to job duties (Theft, DUI, etc.)

Why Does My Misdemeanor Not Show Up on a Background Check in California?

When undergoing a background check some individuals will be surprised to find that their criminal history is clean, and might be wondering: Why does my misdemeanor not show up on a background check.

There are a number of reasons that certain information will not appear on a background check, however, it is most likely because the crime was committed more than 7 years ago or because a state law prevented it from appearing on a background check.

For example, California’s prop 64 automatically seals certain marijuana convictions.2

Does a Misdemeanor Show Up on a Background Check After 10 Years?

When it comes to Does a misdemeanor show up on a background check after 10 years? The answer in California is quite simple. Criminal history information will only appear on a background check for 7 years at most so any information older than 10 years will not appear on the check.

How Long Does a Misdemeanor Stay on Your Background Check?

In the vast majority of states the answer to: How long does a misdemeanor stay on your background check? Is forever. Fortunately, individuals who live in California will only have to worry about the effects of a misdemeanor or any kind of criminal conviction for 7 years at most.

How Long Does a Gun Charge Stay on Your Record in California?

In California, many people may be concerned about the states strict firearm laws and will be wondering; How long does a gun charge stay on your record?

The 7 year rule that prevents criminal history information from showing up on an employer background check for longer than 7 years applies to all charges, regardless of severity. However, individuals should keep in mind that all criminal charges will be available to law enforcement agencies forever, regardless of state background check laws.

If You Have Been Charged but Not Convicted Is It on Your Record?

Many individuals may have had criminal charges dropped before they were convicted of the crime. People in this situation will likely be wondering: If you have been charged but not convicted is it on your record?

Any criminal history information including arrests and charges, even if they were later dropped, will appear on an individual’s criminal history record.

Screenshot of CA Courts for record cleaning with yellow arrow pointing to the situations where arrest with no convictions can be sealed.

In CA, arrests without conviction cases can be sealed under Penal Code Section 851.91, which applies to not guilty verdicts, and when no charges were filed after an arrest as well as diversionary cases.

However, unlike convictions which can take 7 years to be removed from the record, the process to get charges that didn’t result in a conviction sealed is fairly easy.3

How To Get a Misdemeanor Off Your Record

After seeing how it could affect their employment and rental opportunities many individuals will be eager to find out how to get a misdemeanor off your record. The process itself is fairly simple but individuals should be aware that not all crimes are able to be sealed and some will be on the individual’s record for the full 7 years.

The California courts system has published a thorough guide on how to clean up your criminal record. The basic options and steps that need to be taken are discussed on the Clean your record form.4

If Charges Are Dropped Is It Still on Your Record?

Many individuals will want to know If charges are dropped is it still on your record? If no action is taken, dropped charges will remain on an individual’s criminal record for just as long as conviction would.

Screenshot of State of CA Department of Justice Form with yellow arrow pointing to the form title petition to seal and destroy adult arrest reccords.

The state makes it easy to fill out a form online to petition to seal and destroy adult arrest records.

However, California does make it fairly easy to get dropped charges removed from your record after 1 year has passed since the initial filing of the charges.5

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in California?

Many states have special laws when it comes to DUI records which will lead many individuals to ask: How long does a DUI stay on your record in California?

DUI records are treated the same as all other criminal records in California so individuals should expect DUI records to remain on their criminal history for 7 years in most cases.

How To Rent an Apartment With a Felony on Your Record

Some individuals will want to know how to rent an apartment with a felony on your record after they were denied due to their criminal history. Renting an apartment with a criminal record is fairly difficult, especially if there is a felony on the record. However, there are a few basic things that individuals can do to increase their chances of getting approved.

The first is to perform a background check on yourself using the search bar at the top of this page. This will allow individuals to know exactly what kind of information that the landlord will be able to see and give the individual the opportunity to come up with a response to any questions that will put the landlord at ease.

The other thing that individuals can do is to seek out private landlords who own apartments that don’t do background checks. Large leasing companies tend to have stricter policies when it comes to felons while a private landlord may be more willing to overlook a felony record.

Does a Lease Violation Go on Your Record?

Apartment background checks are fairly mysterious to many people and questions like; Does a lease violation go on your record? Are fairly common.

The only time a lease violation will appear on an individual’s record is if the landlord sued the individual over the violation. In this case there will be civil court documents that would refer to the lease violation.

Does a Temporary Restraining Order Stay on Your Record?

Individuals awaiting an official restraining order hearing may be wondering, does a temporary restraining order stay on your record?

Screenshot of CA Courts website page with yellow arrow pointing to temporaray restraining order.

The laws concerning civil harassment and temporary restraining orders generally get removed from the record if not converted to a “permanent” one.

Since restraining orders are normally a civil matter, rather than a criminal one, most restraining orders will not appear on a criminal record.

How Do I Know if I Have a Misdemeanor on My Record?

Many individuals are unsure what kind of information is on their criminal record and will be wondering: How do I know if I have a misdemeanor on my record?

The process to find out what is on your criminal record is extremely simple. Individuals can simply use the search bar at the top of this page to perform a background check on themselves. This will tell the individual everything that appears on their criminal record, regardless of which state the charges were filed in.

Will a Misdemeanor Affect Employment?

So, will a misdemeanor affect employment? A criminal record of any kind is likely to have an impact on employment one way or another. However misdemeanors are usually not a deal breaker with most jobs. However, individuals should be ready to answer any questions about the crime during the application process.

Do Misdemeanors Go Away?

In most states the answer to the question: Do misdemeanors go away? Is no. However, when it comes to how long does a misdemeanor stay on your record in California, California and several other states are the exception to this and will only allow misdemeanors to stay on the individual’s record for 7 years instead of forever.

Do Misdemeanors Go Away When You Turn 18?

There are tons of misconceptions when it comes to juvenile records and most people will not know how to answer questions like: Do misdemeanors go away when you turn 18. Generally, misdemeanors will stay on the individuals record unless they petition to have the record sealed. However, the process of sealing juvenile records is far easier than getting an adult record sealed.

Can You Pass a Federal Background Check With a Misdemeanor?

Individuals applying for jobs with the federal government will want to know: Can you pass a federal background check with a misdemeanor? In most cases it is possible to pass a federal background check with a low-level misdemeanor.

Policies around hiring individuals with criminal records for federal jobs are often not as strict as one might suspect. This is mainly due to the fact that there are so many different positions in the federal government, some of them simply do not have especially strict hiring policies due to the job duties that are required and the information the individual will have access to.

Can You Pass a Background Check With a Dismissed Misdemeanor?

Some individuals concerned about a job application will want to know: Can you pass a background check with a dismissed misdemeanor?

Screenshot of CA Government website page with yellow arrow pointing to fingerprint background checks.

Fingerprint background checks are used for searching statewide and nationwide criminal databases, so if a misdemeanor occurred outside of California, it will show up.

Most jobs will only be concerned with conviction information so a dismissed misdemeanor is fairly unlikely to cause any troubles.

Will a Pending Misdemeanor Show on a Background Check?

Although charges will show up on most background checks there is still the question of: Will a pending misdemeanor show on a background check? In most cases a pending misdemeanor will show up on a background check. Depending on the crime, this may be a minor or major red flag to an employer.

How Long Does It Take To Get a Misdemeanor Expunged?

Once beginning the process to clean their record many people will be asking: How long does it take to get a misdemeanor expunged? In most cases the expungement judgment will be issued within 90 days of the forms being filed. This is mainly due to filing times and when a court date will be set which could take several weeks depending on how busy the court is.

How Long Does a Misdemeanor Stay on Your Record in California?

When it comes to How long does a misdemeanor stay on your record in California? There are a lot of different things to consider. However, expungement and special laws aside, a misdemeanor will only appear on a background check for 7 years at most in California.

Frequently Asked Questions About How Long Does a Misdemeanor Stay on Your Record in California

Does a Misdemeanor Stay on Your Record?

In California a misdemeanor will remain on an individual’s record for 7 years at most.

Do Misdemeanors Go on Your Record?

All charges, arrests and convictions will appear on an individual’s criminal record. However the less serious the crime the greater the chance that it can be expunged or sealed in most states.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Arizona?

In Arizona a DUI will remain on the individual’s record forever. Arizona does not allow for sealing or expungement of DUI records under any circumstances.

How Long Does Shoplifting Stay on Your Record?

How long a crime stays on an individual’s record is rarely affected by the crime itself. In California, shoplifting charges will remain on the individual’s record for 7 years at most.

How Long Does a Trespassing Charge Stay on Your Record?

A trespassing charge will stay on someone’s record for 7 years in California, whereas in most other states the information will remain on the record forever.

Will I Pass a Background Check With a Misdemeanor?

Some people wonder, will I pass a background check with a misdemeanor? It is possible to pass a background check with a misdemeanor providing the misdemeanor is not of a violent nature and the individual demonstrates remorse and a desire to better themselves.

How Long Do Misdemeanors Stay on Your Record?

Misdemeanors and felonies will remain on an individual’s record forever in most states. However there are several states, such as California where the records are limited to 7 years.

Do Misdemeanors Go Away After 7 Years in California?

Any criminal records will not be present on a background check in California if the crime was charged more than 7 years ago.

How Long Does Domestic Violence Stay on Your Record?

In most states, domestic violence convictions will remain on the individual’s criminal record forever. However, there are some states that have adopted laws that limit this to just 7-10 years depending on the state.

Can You Pass a TSA Background Check With a Misdemeanor?

It is possible to pass a TSA background check with a criminal history. The TSA has a full list of crimes that will result in disqualification.5

Can You Pass a Gun Background Check With a Misdemeanor?

Passing a gun background check with a misdemeanor will generally depend on the minimum punishment for the crime. Crimes that have a minimum sentence of 1 year or more will disqualify individuals.

Understanding background check laws can be extremely confusing for many individuals. Luckily, when it comes to How long does a misdemeanor stay on your record in California? The answer is 7 years at most.


References

1Federal Trade Commission United State of America. (2022). Fair Credit Reporting Act. Federal Trade Commssion. Retrieved October 20, 2022, from <https://www.ftc.gov/legal-library/browse/statutes/fair-credit-reporting-act>

2California State Senate. (2022). MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Public Senate Labor Employment and Retirement Committee. Retrieved October 20, 2022, from <https://slper.senate.ca.gov/sites/slper.senate.ca.gov/files/Background%20Supplemental%20-%20Prop%2064%20Text.pdf>

32022 Judicial Council of California. (2022). Arrest With No Conviction. California Courts. Retrieved October 20, 2022, from <https://www.courts.ca.gov/42539.htm>

42022 Judicial Council of California. (2022). Clean Your Record. California Courts. Retrieved October 20, 2022, from <https://www.courts.ca.gov/1070.htm?rdeLocaleAttr=en>

5Transportation Security Administration. (2022). Disqualifying Offenses and Other Factors. Transportation Security Administration. Retrieved October 20, 2022, from <https://www.tsa.gov/disqualifying-offenses-factors>

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