5 Misdemeanors That Prevent Employment: Full List by Job Types

Background check repair icon.Written by Background Check Repair

Criminal Records | April 26, 2024

Man in a green suit on the left standing with his hands on his hips looking at an office building behind him is watched by another man on the right who has his hand on his chin wondering if misdemeanors that prevent employment will affect his chances of getting a job and how long does a misdemeanor stay on your record as he looks at his misdemeanor records.

When searching for a job, knowing the misdemeanors that prevent employment can be a huge benefit.

The exact number of misdemeanors that prevent employment can vary, based on a few factors such as the type of job and the requirements, but in general, there are only 5 misdemeanors that are likely to prevent employment with most employers.

The first thing to do is run a name-based background check to see if any misdemeanors will show up. Some states prevent certain records from being accessed by employment background checks. And, criteria and red flags on background investigation results might be different for some jobs.

Therefore, knowing the list of jobs that will consider the following 5 misdemeanors that prevent employment an automatic disqualification can help.

This complete guide shows which jobs will have those hurdles, so that anyone can fix their criminal record to remove them.

5 Misdemeanors That Prevent Employment

As mentioned, every company and situation is different but there are still a handful of misdemeanors that are far more difficult to overcome when it comes to finding employment.

Use the table below to learn about the possibility of getting hired with various kinds of misdemeanors and what kind of red flags a criminal history will raise in various industries.

Screenshot of New York State website page for employment with yellow arrow pointing to information on how to obtain RAP sheet for employment from DCJS in New York.

The record of arrest and prosecution is considered a public record in most cases, and this RAP sheet is what is accessed during routine background checks.

Keep in mind that the 5 following crimes are the most likely to have an effect on all employment:

  • Theft
  • Violent Crimes
  • Sexual Crimes
  • Crimes Involving Children
  • DUIs (Especially if there are multiple convictions)

Crimes That Are Likely To Prevent Employment

CrimeAffect on Employment
Does a misdemeanor theft affect employment?Affects employment for positions involving access to high-value items or cash such as cashier, finance jobs, and retail jobs.
Will misdemeanor assault affect employment?Affects employment for most jobs. Violent convictions are the hardest to overlook, regardless of the job duties.
Getting a job with a misdemeanor disorderly conductAffects employment minimally in most cases. Details of the crime will be important but are unlikely to be a major factor with employers that hire individuals with criminal histories.
Will a class B misdemeanor affect employment?Affects employment for most jobs. The extent of the effect will depend on the crime itself but class B misdemeanors are generally more serious crimes and will be taken seriously by most employers.
Will a class C misdemeanor affect employment?Affects employment minimally. Unless the crime is directly related to the job duties, it will play a minimal role in the hiring process.
Will a misdemeanor DUI affect employment?Affects employment sometimes. The effects of a DUI on employment will depend on the job duties in most cases, however numerous DUIs will be a major red flag.

How Can I Find Misdemeanor-Friendly Jobs Near Me? (Job List of Misdemeanors That Prevent Employment)

Most individuals wondering what misdemeanors prevent employment will be on the hunt for jobs or employers that are more open to hiring individuals with criminal records. Use the table below to guide your search for a misdemeanor-friendly job.

List of Jobs that Hire MisdemeanorsHireable MisdemeanorsNon-Hireable Misdemeanors
Retail JobsDUI, Class C, Drug ChargesAssault, Sexual crimes
Construction JobsClass C, Drug ChargesDUI (Sometimes)
MaintenanceClass C, Drug Charges, Theft, DUIAssault, Sexual Crimes
SalesClass C, Drug Charges, Theft, DUIAssault, Sexual Crimes
Food IndustryClass C, Drug Charges, Theft, DUI.Assault, Sexual Crimes
Delivery/ Truck DriverClass C, Drug ChargesDUI, Any Motor vehicle crimes
Online JobsAllNone*

* Assuming the position is fully online, many positions will not perform full background checks due to it not being necessary.

Will a Misdemeanor Affect Employment?

Will employers take into consideration a misdemeanor in criminal history? The bottom line is that a misdemeanor being present on your record will almost always affect employment. Exactly how big of a role your criminal record plays when it comes to finding a job will depend on three basic factors: The crime, the job, and the attitude the individual holds towards their criminal record.

The details of the crime itself are likely to be the biggest factor when it comes to misdemeanors that prevent employment. Basically, certain misdemeanors will barely affect employment opportunities at all, whereas others will have a major impact.

Most of the misdemeanors that will have a major role are self-explanatory. Violent misdemeanors and sexual misdemeanors are the two most common that will cause major problems when it comes to applying for jobs and your criminal history being discussed.

The job that the individual is applying for will also have an impact on the likelihood of getting the job. There are two things to consider when applying to a job if the individual has a misdemeanor on their record.

The first is the company’s hiring practices. While more and more employers such as Home Depot, are making an effort to hire individuals that have a criminal record, there are still plenty of companies that seem to do the exact opposite and have strict hiring policies in regards to applicants with any kind of criminal record. To avoid this, a quick google search of the companies hiring practices will often turn up important information, or at least give an idea of how they view applicants with criminal records.

The second aspect to consider is the duties of the job itself. For liability reasons, even companies that normally hire individuals with criminal records will not hire an individual if the crime they committed is related to the potential job duties. Most notably, individuals with theft convictions are less likely to be hired for jobs with access to valuable merchandise or cash and the same is true for DUI convictions and jobs involving driving or operating heavy machinery.

In short, consider the company’s hiring practices and the way the job duties relate to your criminal record to increase the chances of getting hired.

Finally, the individual’s attitude toward the crime will be the deciding factor for jobs that are possibly willing to overlook certain criminal convictions. At a certain point in the interview and application process, it is extremely likely for the hiring manager to inquire about the nature of the individual’s criminal history. This is an opportunity for the individual to explain their criminal past and convince the hiring manager that they are working to move past it.

Having a prepared response for this is extremely important and the easiest way to get a business to overlook an individual’s criminal history.

Will a Misdemeanor Affect Employment With the Government?

As mentioned, any kind of criminal history will affect employment opportunities in one way or another. This is especially true for many government jobs who tend to have somewhat stricter policies regarding hiring individuals with criminal histories than many jobs.

Screenshot of USA Jobs website page for FAQs with yellow arrow pointing to information on working for the government with a criminal record.

The federal government offers employment based on merit and ability, and it is possible to get a government job with a misdemeanor on your record.

Just like with any company, the hiring practices and policies become more strict for higher-level positions in the federal government. This is especially true when it comes to hiring individuals with criminal histories as well.

Many of the misdemeanors that prevent employment for government jobs are only seen as red flags in other industries. This is due to the fact that many government jobs will give individuals access to sensitive information that could potentially be an issue of national security if they are not handled properly. For this reason, it is fairly unlikely to get anything but an entry-level job with the federal government if you have anything on your criminal record.

With that being said there are tons of government jobs that do not have security clearance or give access to sensitive materials. When it comes to these entry-level jobs the same rules as most industries apply; the possibility of getting hired with a criminal record will depend on the crime, the position, and the individual attitude toward their criminal past.

Will a Dismissed Misdemeanor Affect Employment?

Many individuals that are wondering will a misdemeanor affect employment may only have a misdemeanor charge on their record, rather than an actual conviction. In this case, the effects on employment will be somewhat different.

It is important to first understand the difference between a charge and a conviction.

Charged vs Convicted Misdemeanor

The difference between a charge and a conviction is quite simple: A criminal charge is a formal accusation that an individual committed a crime. Since that individual is innocent until proven guilty, the charge simply acts as the first step in the legal process to prove that the individual is guilty or innocent of the crime.

After a charge is filed the individual must plead guilty or not guilty. A not-guilty plea will usually result in the case moving to trial whereas a guilty plea will result in a punishment for the crime being dealt.

Screenshot of New York Courts website page for criminal court help with yellow arrow pointing to public office consequences when convicted with felony or misdemeanor.

The state of New York offers help to people who have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, but these convictions usually bar the person from holding public office in the state.

A conviction is a decision made regarding the individual’s guilt of a crime. This will take place after a charge and the conviction may come as a result of a guilty plea or as the result of a decision made by a judge or jury after a criminal trial. In short, a charge is an accusation of a crime whereas a conviction means the individual was found guilty of a crime.

Sometimes, a charge may be filed that accuses an individual of a crime only for the charge to be dropped due to a lack of evidence or other circumstances that would make it difficult to prove the individual committed the crime. When this happens the individual is now considered innocent and the criminal process ends.

How Misdemeanors Affect Employment

The first thing to consider is if the dismissed misdemeanors will even show up on the background check. Some states prevent non-convictions from appearing on background checks at all, in which case the background check will show a clean record for the individual.

However, most states will show both convictions and charges during the criminal history check. This is also true for jobs in the federal government that use an FBI criminal history check which is not subjected to any state background check laws and can view an individual’s entire criminal history.1

Screenshot of FBI website page for Rap Sheets with information on how to request and how long does it take for request to be processed.

The federal Bureau of Investigation offers ways to get your personal RAP sheet online.

Assuming the charge will be present on the background check, it is unlikely to have a major effect on employment. Even with companies that have stricter hiring policies regarding individuals with criminal records, these policies usually apply to convictions rather than charges. However, this doesn’t mean it won’t be a factor at all, rather a dropped charge does not quite raise the same red flag as a conviction might.

As always the best thing to do is to go into the interview prepared for any questions about your criminal history in order to improve your chances.

Will I Pass a Background Check With a Misdemeanor?

Will I pass a background check if a misdemeanor appears in my record? Possibly.

When considering the misdemeanors that prevent employment, many individuals will be wanting a list of crimes that they can check against their own rap sheet. Every situation is different but there are plenty of jobs that are known to not hire individuals with certain rap sheets due to industry hiring standards or even federal laws that prevent individuals with certain criminal records from holding certain jobs.

Below are some of the most common questions regarding finding different kinds of employment with various misdemeanors.

Can You Pass a Federal Background Check With a Misdemeanor?

It is possible to pass a federal background check with a misdemeanor for certain jobs in the federal government. There are thousands of different jobs in the federal government with varying degrees of responsibility and public trust required. Many of these jobs will require security clearance and give access to valuable and potentially harmful information.

When it comes to these high-level jobs, virtually any kind of misdemeanor will be considered an automatic disqualifier.

Screenshot of USPS website page for employment with yellow arrow pointing to the USPS application process.

The United States Postal Service application process requires an assessment and background check.

However, there are plenty of entry-level jobs within the federal government that are more likely to overlook certain misdemeanor convictions. Keep in mind that the same general rules will apply in regard to how the crime relates to the job duties. This is especially true with crimes such as DUIs and jobs that involve driving such as those with the USPS.2

Does a Misdemeanor Show Up on a Background Check After 7 Years?

Many individuals are under the misconception that misdemeanor offenses simply disappear from a background check after a certain amount of time has passed. Generally, this is not the case and most background checks will be able to uncover any misdemeanor that the individual has committed.

There are two different situations in which a misdemeanor conviction will not appear on a background check. The first is if the individual lives in a state that follows the 7-year-rule or some other kind of law that prevents certain criminal history information from appearing on a background check.

Some states have adopted laws that prevent criminal history information that is older than 7-10 years from appearing on background checks in an effort to prevent discrimination against those with criminal histories. However, there are only a handful of states that follow this rule and most will be able to obtain an individual’s entire criminal history.

Another possibility for a misdemeanor being absent from a criminal history check is if the record of the crime has been sealed or expunged. Criminal records getting sealed or expunged is quite rare in most cases.

However certain states have made getting specific kinds of convictions expunged somewhat easier, especially when it comes to misdemeanor convictions. If this happens the records of the crime will be sealed and not available to the public, meaning private background check agencies will not have access to this information.

Keep in mind that federal background checks are exceptions to both of these rules. Even if the crime was committed in a state with the 7-year-rule or similar laws, there are no federal laws that prevent misdemeanor convictions from appearing on a background check. Since the FBI does not abide by state laws and only by the FCRA,3 an FBI background check will show an individual’s entire criminal history no matter what.

This is also true for sealed records, since the sealing of a record only hides it from the public, government agencies like the FBI will still be able to access the record.

How Long Does a Misdemeanor Stay on Your Record?

So, how long does a misdemeanor remain on your criminal record? Unfortunately, most misdemeanors will stay on your record forever. Only a handful of states will allow individuals to seal certain criminal records or prevent these records from being found after a certain amount of time.

The vast majority of states will allow background check agencies to see an individual’s entire criminal history no matter the circumstances.

Of course, there are some exceptions such as states that allow for the sealing of certain records or states with the 7-year-rule.

Although unlikely, it is always worth the effort to see if a misdemeanor record can be sealed. More and more states are passing laws that allow for certain misdemeanors to be sealed fairly easily.

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

How do I verify if misdemeanor charges exist in my criminal history?

The best way to tell if you have a misdemeanor record is to know how to conduct your background check. There are several different ways to do this, the easiest of which is to use the search bar at the top of this page to perform a free public record search on yourself. Since most background check agencies simply use public databases to find an individual’s criminal history information, this will give extremely similar results to the check that most companies will use to screen potential employees.

For certain jobs, it may be better to perform a federal background check on yourself through the FBI. There is also the option to hire a private background check service to perform a check which will include criminal history information as well as other information such as social media profiles.

Finally, individuals can also contact the local county court clerk to obtain official copies of their criminal history information through the courts where the charges were filed.

No matter the method chosen, any individual who is going to have a criminal history check performed on them should first run one on themselves. This gives individuals the chance to fix any potential mistakes as well as be aware of the exact information that the hopeful employer will have access to.

Trying to understand the odds of getting hired with a misdemeanor on your record can be exhausting. Besides running a background check on yourself, researching different employers’ hiring policies is often the best practice to prepare for an interview.

Remember, most of the misdemeanors that prevent employment are related to the job’s duties and the individual’s attitude toward their past crimes.

Frequently Asked Questions About Misdemeanors That Prevent Employment

Is a Misdemeanor a Crime?

Yes, a misdemeanor is considered a crime. Although a misdemeanor is not considered a serious crime and is a level below a felony crime, it is still more serious than a violation. Most misdemeanors are punishable by jail time, as opposed to an infraction which usually incurs a fine and nothing more.

What Happens if a Job Offer Rescinded for Misdemeanor?

Job offers that are rescinded for a misdemeanor are fairly common. If the offer is rescinded due to someone’s criminal history, the company is required by law to give written notice of the reason for the job offer being rescinded. In some cases, there may be an appeal process with the company or the background check agency.

Can a Federal Employee Be Fired for a Misdemeanor?

Yes, any criminal history information that can prevent an individual from being hired can also be a cause to fire an individual. This is often the case when an individual with a clean criminal record is convicted of a crime while they are employed. In most cases committing this crime violates company policy and is grounds for termination.

Can I Get High Paying Jobs With a Misdemeanor?

There are plenty of high-paying jobs that will hire individuals with misdemeanors. Most office jobs will only be concerned with violent misdemeanors so most jobs in upper management will be available to individuals with misdemeanors. Another possibility is online jobs that may not perform background checks at all, especially if the position is fully remote and the employees will not have direct contact with each other.

Does Your Criminal Record Clear After 7 Years?

Rarely, criminal records will clear after 7 years in a handful of states that have passed special laws regarding how long someone’s criminal history is available to the public. However, even in this case the FBI and other government agencies will still be able to access your criminal history information.

Are There Any Jobs You Can Get With a Misdemeanor Drug Charge?

There are plenty of jobs that will hire an individual with a misdemeanor drug charge. The main thing that employers are concerned with when it comes to misdemeanors is if the crime has an effect on the job duties (such as delivery drivers and DUIs) or if it will affect other employees (Sexual crimes or violent misdemeanors).


1Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2022). Identity History Summary Checks. FBI. Retrieved September 16, 2022, from <https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/identity-history-summary-checks>

2United States Postal Services. (2022). Job Search. United States Postal Services. Retrieved September 16, 2022, from <https://wp1-ext.usps.gov/sap/bc/webdynpro/sap/hrrcf_a_unreg_job_search#>

3Federal Trade Commission. (2022). Fair Credit Reporting Act. Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved September 16, 2022, from <https://www.ftc.gov/legal-library/browse/statutes/fair-credit-reporting-act>

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