Will a Misdemeanor Affect Employment? Yes & No (Check This List)

Background check repair icon.Written by Background Check Repair

Criminal Records | June 10, 2024

Man walking toward an office sees the answer to will a misdemeanor affect employment as another man in a brownish green suit holds out his hand barring the first man from being employed since the first man has a misdemeanor record trailing behind him.

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When applying for a jobs, many people wonder will a misdemeanor affect employment? The answer is both yes and no, because it generally depends on a few different factors.

Misdemeanors are common offenses, so it’s not unlikely to have one on your record.

However, knowing will a misdemeanor affect employment can be the key between landing the job and being passed over, so it’s crucial to know exactly what details are included in a background check report before a potential employer conducts one.

To find out for sure, simply conduct a background check on yourself first. It takes less than 5 minutes!

Armed with this information, anyone can find out whether a misdemeanor record will impact their job chances.

The following guide provides all the information needed to ascertain whether or not a previous infraction will harm employment options.

These days, with so many companies making an effort to give opportunities to individuals with criminal records, it is easier than ever to get a job with a misdemeanor on your record. However, it will still depend on a few factors that are outside of your control so be sure to check the list to get a better idea of what to expect from different jobs.

Can You Pass a Background Check With a Misdemeanor on Your Record?

Most individuals know that passing a background check with a felony charge can be quite difficult in most cases, however “will a misdemeanor affect employment,” is a question that’s not near as obvious. As far as whether it is possible to pass a typical background check with a misdemeanor, the answer is yes and no.

It is absolutely possible and even common to pass a background check for employment with a misdemeanor on your record, however this will depend both on the particular misdemeanor and the job being applied for.

Unlike felonies, very few companies and industries have policies that prevent the hiring of an individual simply because they have a misdemeanor on their record. For most industries, misdemeanors are a factor in deciding whether or not to hire someone, especially for entry-level jobs.

The main thing that any employer will look for when going through the hiring process with an individual that has a misdemeanor on their record is the nature of the misdemeanor and how that relates to the job being applied for. In many cases, businesses will have policies regarding hiring individuals for certain jobs. Individuals with misdemeanor driving offenses will likely have difficulty finding jobs that involve diving such as those with Amazon, UPS, or Uber.

Similarly, individuals with theft misdemeanors on their record will likely have difficulty finding a job that involves access to large amounts of money or valuable merchandise.

Besides company policy making it difficult for individuals with misdemeanors to find employment, another issue is that many job industries will have federal and state laws that prohibit the hiring of individuals with specific criminal records. The best example of this is the laws regarding child care background checks.3

There are federal laws that all states must follow regarding the hiring practices of individuals who work with children without supervision. This includes jobs like day care employees, teachers, and almost any position at a school. One of the federal laws regarding these hiring practices prohibits the hiring of any individual who has been charged with any crime involving children.
Child care.gov screenshot with yellow arrows pointing to background checks, what you need to know menu link.
Similar laws are in place for industries that deal with vulnerable groups such as the elderly and healthcare patients.

The main thing individuals who have the question of will a misdemeanor affect employment? Should keep in mind that it is very likely that employment will be at least somewhat affected by a misdemeanor being present on your record, however, this does not always mean that the individual will be disqualified from a job.

A great step to take before applying for a job is to run a criminal background check on yourself. This way, individuals can be aware of the exact information that employers will have access to when they perform the official background check. In the case of misdemeanors, the employer will likely ask about the nature of the crime etc.

Having a prepared response to this question that demonstrates the circumstances of the charges as well as steps the individual is taking to improve themselves will go a long way.

Can I Get a Job With a Misdemeanor on My Record?

As mentioned, the two factors that individuals need to consider when answering the question of will a misdemeanor affect employment? is: the nature of the misdemeanor, and job or industry that they are applying for.

In general, many jobs in the service industry will have their hiring practices dictated by the company itself. In this case, exceptions are commonly made if the individual seems to be genuinely trying to make amends and move forward past a criminal past.

On the other hand, jobs that deal with sensitive information or sensitive groups may have state or federal laws that must be applied to hiring practices.

In this case, exceptions will not be made as it would likely violate the law. Of course, this doesn’t mean that getting hired is impossible, only that more research should be done to ensure that the crime on your record is not on the list of disqualifiers for the job/industry.

Will a Traffic Misdemeanor Affect Employment? (Do Employers Care About Traffic Misdemeanors?)

Most employees do not care about traffic misdemeanors. Many people who wonder “will a misdemeanor affect employment? Have this concern due to a traffic related misdemeanor on their criminal record. For most individuals this is nothing to worry about, and many employers will not even ask questions about traffic misdemeanors.

There are some exceptions to this however, the most notable being jobs that involve driving or operating heavy machinery. Construction jobs that require the use of tractors or other equipment, delivery driver positions, or jobs that involve the use of a company car will all be looking for this kind of criminal record during the hiring process.

Although there aren’t any laws that forbid employers from hiring individuals with traffic misdemeanors, it is a common policy as it involves an unnecessary risk to the employer.

Do Traffic Violations Show Up on Criminal Background Check Reports?

Yes, if a citation was issued for a traffic violation it will show up on the majority of criminal background checks. However, due to traffic violations being common, unless there are a large amount that would cause concern about the individual’s character, it will likely not be a factor when it comes to the hiring process.

Keep in mind that traffic stops that did not result in a ticket and only resulted in a warning from law enforcement will likely not show up on a background check.

Will a Misdemeanor Affect Employment With the Government?

Misdemeanors are far more likely to affect employment with employers like the government or law enforcement. In many government positions, misdemeanors will not affect employment whatsoever. However, there is a huge variety of government jobs so the hiring practices vary widely. Basically, the higher level the position is, the more likely a misdemeanor will affect employment.

Jobs with security clearance and access to sensitive information will consider a misdemeanor a red flag on an application, regardless of the nature of the crime. Many high-ranking government jobs use this kind of information to judge an individual’s character and integrity so it can be hard to say exactly what will be overlooked and what will be a disqualifier.

Does a Misdemeanor Theft Affect Employment?

When it comes to will a misdemeanor affect employment, theft is one of the most common crimes that is likely to have an affect on the hiring process. One of the main reasons this is such a factor is the vast majority of entry-level positions are jobs in the retail industry. This means that the person that committed the theft will now have an even greater opportunity to commit theft again at a retail job.

The individual might have access to valuable merchandise or even large amounts of cash based on the position.

Getting hired in many jobs with a theft-related misdemeanor on your criminal record will be difficult and will require a certain level of trust between the employer and the employee. Keep in mind that this will not be as big of a factor in plenty of industries, especially those where the risk of employee theft is reasonably low.

Will Misdemeanor Assault Affect Employment?

Misdemeanor assault is one of the few misdemeanors that will almost always affect employment. Unlike theft or traffic related misdemeanors, which only impact specific job duties, misdemeanor assault is a crime that potentially puts other employees at risk. Employers want their employees and customers to feel safe, so this will be a major concern during the hiring process.

Although it will not always be a disqualifier, it is important to take all possible steps before the application process to increase your chances. As mentioned earlier, one of the best things you can do is to prepare a response to the inevitable questions about your criminal record.

Will a Class B Misdemeanor Affect Employment?

Class B misdemeanor will affect employment the same as any other misdemeanor. The main thing that most employers look for with employees that have misdemeanors on their record is how the crime relates to the potential job, such as theft for retail jobs, or traffic misdemeanors for jobs that involve driving.

Can You Pass a Background Check With a Misdemeanor DUI?

Yes, most job opportunities will not be affected by having a DUI on your record. The main exception to this will be jobs that involve driving, in which case a DUI will likely be a disqualifier.

Law enforcement jobs or those that have security clearance will also be affected, but for most entry-level positions a DUI is not a disqualifier.

Can You Pass a Gun Background Check With a Misdemeanor?

Just like with employment, the odds of passing a gun background check with a misdemeanor will depend on the nature of the crime, primarily the punishment associated with the crime. In most cases, individuals who have committed crimes that carry a potential punishment of one year or more will not be eligible to purchase a gun.

Getting a Job With a Misdemeanor Disorderly Conduct

Having a disorderly conduct misdemeanor on your record should not be a major factor for most employers when deciding whether or not to hire you. This is another crime that employers will overlook in many cases, especially if the individual makes it clear that they are working to move forward from past criminal charges.

Getting a Job With a Misdemeanor Assault

Getting a job with a misdemeanor assault on your record will be slightly more difficult than most misdemeanors. This mostly comes down to the nature of the work and making sure other employees and customers feel safe. Once again, having a prepared response or applying to companies that have a history of hiring individuals with criminal records will go a long way in improving your chances.

Will a Class C Misdemeanor Keep Me From Getting a Job?

Class C misdemeanors are the least likely to affect employment. However it is still important to research the company and position being applied for as well as to be prepared for any questions about the crime.

Misdemeanors That Prevent Employment

In many industries there will be specific misdemeanors that will likely prevent employment. This can be due to either industry standards, or legal statutes that prevent the hiring of individuals with criminal records into certain industries.

Employment OpportunityMisdemeanor TypeWill It Prevent Employment?
Child-CareAny crime involving protected groupsYes
Delivery DriverTraffic or DUIUsually
FinanceTheft, Fraud, Financial crimesUsually
Law EnforcementSerious MisdemeanorsYes
HealthcareAny crime involving protected groupsYes
RetailTheft, Violent misdemeanorsYes
Office JobsViolent MisdemeanorsUsually

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

There are only a handful of states that follow the “seven year rule,” in these states, background checks can only show information from the last 7 years and in certain cases 10 years. The vast majority of states simply abide by the FCRA2 which has no requirements regarding how far back a background check can go.

Can You Pass a Level 2 Background Check With a Misdemeanor?

Yes, although the list of disqualifiers for jobs that require a tier 2 background check is often longer, the same rules will often apply. So long as the misdemeanor is in no way related to the job or the job duties, it will not be seen as a disqualifier. As always, it is a good idea to be prepared for any question about your criminal history.

Can You Pass a Federal Background Check With a Misdemeanor?

Yes, many federal jobs will not disqualify individuals from employment due to a misdemeanor on their record. As with most jobs, violent misdemeanors, or those that could have a direct impact on the job duties will likely be cause for concern and possible disqualification.

Jobs You Can Get With a Misdemeanor Drug Charge

Misdemeanor drug charges can be overlooked for most jobs. The notable exception being jobs that have access to any kind of pharmaceutical. This is a good example of a crime that individuals will be prepared to answer questions about from the hiring manager as they will want to ensure that the individual is not struggling with substance abuse or something similar.

How Long Does a Misdemeanor Stay on Your Record?

Many of those asking how a misdemeanor will affect employment, may have a misdemeanor on their record from a long time ago. Most background checks will only go back 10 years, even if they are legally allowed to go back further. Besides this, two factors to consider are the nature of the crime and the state where the crime was charged.

Many states have specific laws regarding how employers deal with misdemeanors in criminal records, with some states having laws that make it illegal to consider misdemeanors that are of a certain age. Also, certain states take this a step further and make it illegal for specific misdemeanors to show up on background checks. For example misdemeanor marijuana offenses can only show up on a background check for 2 years in California.1

Getting a misdemeanor can be stressful, especially for individuals who were hoping to find a new job. Luckily, there are plenty of steps that can be taken to minimize the impact of misdemeanors. When it comes to the question of “will a misdemeanor affect employment,” the answer is yes, but how big of an impact it will have will depend on a number of factors.

Frequently Asked Questions About Will a Misdemeanor Affect Employment

Will I Pass a Background Check With a Misdemeanor?

Possibly, passing a background check with a misdemeanor will depend on the crime and the job industry

What Government Jobs Can a Felon Get?

Very few government jobs will hire felons. Any job that requires security clearance will not hire felons, however some entry level positions will hire individuals with certain felonies but not all.

Can a Federal Employee Be Fired for a Misdemeanor?

Yes, federal employees can be fired for a misdemeanor. The misdemeanor will likely need to beon the list of disqualifiers for the position, so not all misdemeanors will result in termination.

Are There Any High Paying Jobs With a Misdemeanor?

Many high paying jobs will hire individuals with misdemeanors. The main factor will be how the crime relates to the position. Those convicted of fraud or financial crimes will have difficulty getting a job in the finance industry.

Is a Misdemeanor Bad on a Background Check?

A misdemeanor is certainly not a good thing on a background check. However, most minor misdemeanors will not have a huge effect on most jobs.

Can a Misdemeanor Be Expunged?

Yes, misdemeanors can be expunged in certain circumstances.

Do Misdemeanors Eventually Go Away?

Not all misdemeanors will stay on your record forever. However, this will depend on state laws and the nature of the crime.

What Happens When a Job Offer Is Rescinded for a Misdemeanor on Your Record?

When a job offer is rescinded for a misdemeanor there is little that can be done, unless there was an error on the background check.

How Do I Learn How To Pass a Background Check With a Misdemeanor?

The best way to pass a background check with a misdemeanor is to be honest and upfront about the charges. Having a prepared response to questions about your criminal history will go a long way.

Why Does My Misdemeanor Not Show Up on a Background Check for Employment?

Certain misdemeanors will not show up on a background check because of state laws. Many states prohibit certain misdemeanors from showing up on a background check whilst other prevent misdemeanors from appearing after a certain amount of time has elapsed.

How Do I Know if I Have a Misdemeanor on My Record and Where Can I Check?

The best way to know if you have a misdemeanor on your record is to run a criminal history check on yourself.

Do Misdemeanors Go Away After 7 Years and Get Erased From the Record?

Some states will not allow misdemeanors to show up on a background check after a certain amount of time. However, in the vast majority of states, misdemeanors will stay on a background check forever.

Will a Misdemeanor DUI Affect Employment?

A DUI can have an impact on certain employment, often professions that require a clean driving record.


1Judicial Council of California. (2022). Marijuana Conviction Relief (Prop 64). California Courts. Retrieved July 14, 2022, from <https://www.courts.ca.gov/42535.htm>

2United States Government. (2022). Fair Credit Reporting Act. Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved July 14, 2022, from <https://www.ftc.gov/legal-library/browse/statutes/fair-credit-reporting-act>

3U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care (OCC). (2022). Background Checks: What You Need To Know. ChildCare.gov. Retrieved July 14, 2022, from <https://childcare.gov/consumer-education/background-checks-what-you-need-to-know>

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