Misdemeanors are typically minor legal problems or a brush with the law that you may get involved in. Most charges are for trespassing on private property, getting drunk in public, or vandalism and may incur a short jail term and a nominal fine. If the charges are dropped, you might think that an arrest and a night in jail is a minor issue. Even if the case against you is not proven, the arrest record stays with you for the rest of your life. The conviction could be for a misdemeanor, but it qualifies as a criminal conviction and impacts every area of your life. Your best bet is to work with an experienced lawyer who can get you a felony reduction and, later, have the record expunged from public record. Do you really need to get this done? Absolutely. Read ahead to understand why.

Misdemeanor Convictions Show Up in Background Checks for Job Applicants

Misdemeanors will show up in any background checks your potential employers conduct before they hire you. That’s because criminal records are openly available to the public. Employers have the legal right to investigate your history before offering you a job. Several positions require that employees have a clean record, and any marks could disqualify you instantly. Chances are that interviewers ask you about having a history, and unless the record has been formally expunged, you’re expected to divulge the details.

Depending on the type of charges, you could be barred from jobs in the healthcare industry, positions where you’ll work with seniors and children, the banking sector, and any stores selling liquor, guns, and firearms. Before training for any licensed profession, you’ll have to inquire into the criteria for getting permission to work because a record could result in denial of your application.

Getting into College Can be a Problem

If you wish to apply to get into a college or graduate school with a misdemeanor conviction, the application could get rejected. Further, you might not be able to get a scholarship or even a student loan, especially if the charges were sexual or drug-related. Each school or university has its policies, but most are stringent when admitting candidates with a record.

Renting a Home or Getting a Mortgage Could be Impacted

Landlords make it a point to conduct a detailed background check on rental applicants. Depending on the state or location where you’re looking to rent a home, the landlord may deny your request if the arrest occurred within a specific number of years. Your chances can also be diminished if the charge was for a sexual offense. When applying for a home loan, most private lenders are concerned with misdemeanor charges if they were financial, such as fraud or theft. They might choose to reject your application even if you have an excellent credit score.

Child Custody and Adoption

If you’re involved in divorce proceedings and/or wish to get child custody, the courts could rule in favor of your spouse because of the misdemeanor conviction on your record. Especially if the charges were for domestic abuse or any other acts of violence. Even if you have custody, you could lose it because of the criminal charges. Adopting a child can get complicated if you have a record. The state might regard you as an unfit parent and deny your request.

You might think that a minor offense involving, say, a drunken brawl is not a big deal. But, unless the record is expunged, it could follow you all through life and impact every single milestone you want to accomplish. Work out how to put the past behind you and start life anew.