What is a Misdemeanor?
A misdemeanor is a crime that is less serious than a felony. In Nevada, misdemeanors are punishable “by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 6 months.” However, if you are charged with multiple misdemeanors, you may be required to serve them consecutively, making for a longer sentence. There are also fines associated with many misdemeanor convictions. Being convicted of a misdemeanor can result in fines of up to $1,000.
Misdemeanors consist of charges ranging from DUI to domestic battery. While misdemeanors may not carry punishments as serious as felonies, they certainly affect your employment opportunities. If you have a misdemeanor on your record and are seeking employment, it is important to understand the best route to take in order to increase your chances of securing a job.
Understand Your Legal Obligations
It is important to understand what you legally have to divulge and what you can keep quiet about in regards to your misdemeanor record with potential employers. If employers do not inquire about any convictions, then you do not legally have to tell them; only answer the questions they ask. However, pertaining to the questions they do ask, it is critical to be honest. While dishonesty can result in getting hired initially, once it is exposed the company can terminate your employment and all of your benefits, including unemployment benefits. Furthermore, they can hamper your ability to obtain future employment.
While searching for a job, you are likely to be asked by a number of potential employers to agree to a background check. While background checks may be expensive, many companies still elect to have them performed when hiring new employees. Employers have a legal duty to execute due diligence when hiring new employees; they need to take steps to help ensure potential hires do not pose a threat to coworkers and/or customers.
For background checks, your potential employer will have you sign a form that legally allows them to perform the background check. They may not run it immediately, but once that form is signed it will be ran. Once they complete your background check, they will know your criminal history for the last seven years, excluding anything that was expunged. Having your misdemeanor expunged erases it from your record. If you went through this process, then you have no legal obligation to tell your employer about any expunged misdemeanor. Put simply, if your offense was expunged, you are not legally obligated to put it on your application and if your employer asks, you can legally state you have none and should exempt it.
Having a misdemeanor on your record can be a hindrance in achieving employment, especially for violent crimes, but it does not make it impossible. Your best choice is to be completely honest with your employer from the beginning. This does not mean that you have to volunteer information, but if they ask, be honest. More than likely they will appreciate your integrity, which will speak positively towards your character. You can also offer additional references to prove your reliability.
Following the principles in this post will increase your chances of gaining employment. Should you require further information or legal consultation, please contact John at the office of Routsis Hardy-Cooper at 775.785.9116.
TITLE 15 – CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS. http://www.leg.state.nv.us/nrs/nrs-193, n.d. Web. 2 Jan. 2013.
Nevada Misdemeanor Guide. Jail Guide, n.d. Web. 2 Jan. 2013.
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