How long does a misdemeanor stay on your record? For life. Unless you put in the work to have it expunged. Otherwise, your minor criminal activity will follow you for life. In Pennsylvania, most misdemeanors can be expunged with some extra work on your part.
What is a Misdemeanor?
In most states, a misdemeanor is classified as a minor crime. It is one that’s more severe than a summary conviction but not as bad as a felony. It usually carries less than one year in jail and less than $2500 in fines or fees. There are some exceptions to this, but that’s the overall general rule.
What’s the Process for the Expungement of a Misdemeanor?
Szar Bail Bonds has outlined the process for expungement in detail in our blog post (How do You Clear a Criminal Record). Here we’ll briefly describe the process and steps to take below:
- Gather necessary documents
- Petition form (printable PDF)
- Criminal record
- Documentation of completed rehabilitation programs
- Pay court fees
- File petition
Each petition is reviewed by the state police and considered on a case by case basis. Hiring a lawyer is also an excellent way to ensure all your points are covered.
Background Checks and Misdemeanors
Background checks are common and are run regularly for rental applicants and job opportunities. A misdemeanor on your record could be the difference between getting that dream job and being stuck in retail or a food service job forever. It can also cause you to be denied for an apartment you’re applying for.
Some background checks only search the past decade or less, so your 15-year-old misdemeanor may not show up if they don’t dig too deep.
Expunging a Misdemeanor
The process of expunging a misdemeanor is much easier than the process with a felony. It has become quite common to pursue expungement on misdemeanors as time passes since the conviction.
Your chances for a successful expungement will be much higher if the record you’re attempting to expunge is the only one in your history. If you can successfully expunge the file in question, it will be legally discharged. Then, when asked about your criminal history for employment or housing, you can legitimately say you have not been convicted of a crime.
Further, your past criminal record can no longer bar you from employment, housing, or travel if you successfully expunge the records. Once expunged it will no longer show up on your record, and will look as if it never happened.
Szar Bail Bonds – Legal Resources
Szar Bail Bonds doesn’t claim to be a legal resource on our own. Our blogs are merely a resource for you by providing helpful information relating to legal processes and more.