When it happens, getting a misdemeanor record may not seem like a major thing, but later on, it can damage your career. So, if you have ever been charged with a minor offence, you may wonder ‘how long do misdemeanors stay on your record?’ The short answer is that it depends on the state in which the incident occurred. It will also depend on the type of offence as charges have different timelines within which they can be removed from your record, if ever. It is also in important to know that not all types of misdemeanors can be expunged from a person’s record.
It is necessary to know that even after removal; the offence may still remain a permanent part of your record (http://smallbusiness.chron.com/long-items-stay-criminal-background-check-4793.html). In this case, it will no longer be in the public domain where it can be easily found. What this means is that while your record is sealed or the conviction set aside, it still exists. Knowing the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is also important when thinking about how long misdemeanors remain on your record.
A misdemeanor is less serious than a felony. The severity of the crime and the type of punishment are factors which help separate felonies from misdemeanors. Felonies normally result in imprisonment in a state prison, whereas a misdemeanor may result in time in the county or local jail and or a fine. In many states the maximum sentence for a misdemeanor is 12 months. The Massachusetts Court System website (http://www.mass.gov/courts/selfhelp/criminal-law/misdemeanors-felonies.html) provides information on differentiating a felony from a misdemeanor.
Misdemeanors include things such as resisting arrest, petty theft, shoplifting, vandalism, prostitution, indecent exposure (to an adult), and minor drug offenses such as possession. In the USA, most traffic offenses also fall under the category of misdemeanors. These include driving without a license, driving without insurance, and speeding.
How long does it take to expunge a misdemeanor?
The time it takes to file for an expungement varies greatly depending on the offence and the state. You can contact authorities to ask how long does a misdemeanor stay on your record. You will learn that it generally runs between five to seven years depending on the offense. In most states, you cannot apply to have your record expunged before five years after the offense or after serving your sentence. However, this depends on the state where the charges were filed. In Nevada for example, some misdemeanors can be expunged in as little as two years. In Ohio, for some minor misdemeanors, it is possible to get your record expunged in one year.
In most states, DUIs (first offense only) will be on your record for seven years before a request for expungement can be considered. Generally, you can only have a misdemeanor sealed or expunged from your records if you are a first time offender. Serial offenders are usually not able to have even minor misdemeanors removed from their records.
Your age at the time of the offense also plays a role in determining whether or not a misdemeanor can be removed from your records. In many states, offenders under 18 years old can apply for their records to be expunged. In most cases, the records of these youthful offenders will qualify.
Many people take steps to expunge a misdemeanor from their record to keep it from coming up in background checks. These records can have serious implications for employment, college applications, rental of housing, insurance, and other aspects of a person’s life. After it is removed, you can legally state on job applications and many other documents that you have never been convicted. However, if you commit another crime, this record can be unsealed. It is also possible for law enforcement and government agencies to see this record even if others do not have access.
If you want a clean record, the best approach is to contact an attorney who specializes in helping people with this problem. The attorney will know whether or not your misdemeanor stands a good chance of being removed. You can also learn how long you need to wait before you can apply to have your record set aside or expunged. In some cases depending on factors such as how the matter was tried and the punishment, some misdemeanors will need a presidential pardon before they can ‘disappear’ from your record.
In some cases, a misdemeanor can be removed from your record. However, this is in the rare event that information was placed on your record that should not have been there in the first place. One instance of this kind of error is if you were not found guilty of a misdemeanor, but the information was recorded anyway. Another situation where you can have the misdemeanor removed is if the complaint against you was dismissed before the matter reached the trial stage. These types of clerical errors on your record can be removed since technically you were not charged with a misdemeanor.