If you have ever wondered “How long does a misdemeanor stay on your record?”, this article explains your rights concerning your criminal record in California.
How long does a misdemeanor stay on your record, when NOT expunged?
When you are convicted of a misdemeanor, the Superior Court of California is required to report the conviction to the California Department of Justice (DOJ).
Further, the specific court in which you were convicted will record the conviction in the court’s own computer system. (If your conviction is very old, it may be stored on microfilm in court archives.)
DOJ and court records can be obtained through a criminal background check. If you have done nothing since your conviction, it is highly likely your conviction will be discoverable.
How long does a misdemeanor stay on your record, when you HAVE had the conviction expunged?
An expungement in California has it’s basis in Penal Code 1203.4. Under California law, if you successfully received an expungement of your conviction, then you are explicitly “released from all penalties and liabilities of the offense.”
In the case where you have an expunged misdemeanor, you do not have to disclose the conviction if asked about it, except in three scenarios:
- When you are applying for licensure by a state agency;
- When you are applying for public office; or
- When you are contracting with the California State Lottery Commission.
Court records and the DOJ are updated usually within a couple days at most, but unfortunately, many background check companies do not update their databases very often.
Make Sure Your Expunged Misdemeanor Doesn’t Show Up on a Criminal Background Check
Sometimes, how long a misdemeanor stays on your record is the result of a background check company’s failure to update its database. For example, if you had a past conviction expunged, some background check companies may still falsely report it as a conviction, even though a conviction expunged under California law becomes dismissed.
Some companies will contact background check companies for you to ensure those background check companies aren’t incorrectly reporting anything. If you need help with one of these services, we may be able to help you find assistance. You can reach Attorney Paul Denni for a free consultation below.
Get Your Misdemeanor Expunged to Help with Future Employment
The main reason our clients want to get their misdemeanors expunged is to improve their chance of employment in the future.
Under Penal Code 1203.4, an expunged misdemeanor will be dismissed from your criminal record. However, this does not mean your record will be sealed. It means your record will be amended to reflect: “dismissed pursuant to Penal Code 1203.4.”
Be mindful that if you are still on probation for your offense, you will have to seek early termination of probation before you can obtain an expungement of your conviction.
Benefits of an Expungement
As expungement lawyers, we can help you get your misdemeanor expunged.
One of the main benefits of getting your misdemeanor expunged is that you don’t have to disclose it if asked about it by an employer. This means you can truthfully answer “no” to the question “Have you ever been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor?”
However, be mindful of the three situations in which you must disclose even an expunged conviction if asked about it, as discussed above.
Once you get your expungement granted and your misdemeanor record is dismissed, an employer is barred from discriminating against you on the basis of that expunged conviction, under California Labor Code 432.7.
This means an employer cannot use an expunged conviction against you by denying you employment, advancement, or even internship opportunities.
Get Help With Removing a Misdemeanor from Your Record
Sometimes it’s easier, faster, and more affordable to hire an expungement attorney to handle your expungement entirely for you. For a free consultation with me (Attorney Paul Denni), you can reach me here: