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How Long Does A Misdemeanor Stay On Your Record?

Misdemeanor refers to crimes, which are of a lesser degree. Trivial or petty crimes are often termed as a misdemeanor. In the US, all the states have their independent law and it varies from state to state. Serious crimes such as murder, burglary, robbery, kidnapping and rape fall in the category of a felony. Misdemeanors can be punished by a fine, probation, short jail time, treatment programs, and even community service. In this article, we will cover what could be considered a misdemeanor and how long a misdemeanor stays on your record.
Types of Misdemeanor

How Long Do Misdemeanors Stay On Your Record?

How Long Do Misdemeanors Stay On Your RecordHow Long Do Misdemeanors Stay On Your Record


DUI refers to driving your vehicle under the influence of liquor or drugs. We all know that it is illegal, and you could go to jail for doing that. However, sadly it is common. In some states, if you are caught driving in an intoxicated state, you will be charged a fine, and it would be considered a misdemeanor. Whereas, you will be given a warning twice. Even after that if you are caught doing the same, it would be considered a felony. Moreover, if you have an accident and hurt anyone, you could very well be put behind bars.

Improper Conduct

Drunkenness in public places, misbehaving with people and shouting could be considered a misdemeanor. Disturbing a peaceful assembly or making loud noises in areas near hospitals, hospice or schools are also examples of a misdemeanor. Unruly behavior, body pulling, and damaging property also come under misdemeanor. It is the call of the law enforcement agencies to judge if decide if these incidents can be termed as a misdemeanor. In some cases, the offenders fine and warned. However, repeated offenses will be viewed as serious crimes.

Domestic Violence

Any kind of offense done towards a family member by a member of the same family is considered an act of domestic violence. It does not have to be physical in nature, calling someone names or controlling one’s movement also come under this category. It could be against one’s children, spouse or anyone who is part of the family. It holds good for couples staying together as well. Even if your dating partner misbehaves with you, it comes under legal purview. State laws vary widely over this issue. Repeated occurrences of the same would elevate it to a felony.

How Long Does A Misdemeanor Stay On Your Record?

Damaging and dirtying one’s property is known as vandalism. Examples of vandalism include throwing stones or any other objects at someone’s house, car or any other property. Dirtying one’s property by litter, puking or defecating all fall in this category. First time offenders may get away with some mild punishment. However, repeaters could very well be put behind bars.


According to the laws of many states, trespassing into ones property unknowingly is a crime. The owner of the property can sue you for doing that. However, if there is a clear demarcation of boundary by fence or a board and yet one trespasses into the property, it is considered a misdemeanor. Throwing garbage into someone else’s property is also an act of trespassing.


It refers to performing a sexual act in exchange of money. All states have different laws for this, and they vary widely. People who are caught doing this will have to bear the brunt according to the law of that state. Even working as a medium or a pimp, is a punishable crime as well.

Indecent exposure

Exposing one’s private body parts in an objectionable manner is viewed as an act of misdemeanor. Especially in a public place, if anybody is caught doing so, the severity of the crime increases even more. Moreover, if one touches or grabs someone objectionably, it is a case of misdemeanor as well.


Taking something of value without the owners considered theft. Be it from someone’s house, from a store or office, all such things come under misdemeanor. The severity of the crime would depend on the value of the item stolen. Just like any other misdemeanors, in case of repeat offenders will be it would be treated as felony. Moreover, possessing and using a stolen item can also lead you to legal hassle.

In the US, each state has their separate laws; however, any act of crime will stay on a person’s record forever. However, that is not the case for FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting agency). Any illegal act will stay in a person’s record for ten years only. Each state collects and records of criminal activities taken place in any part of the state. Anyone who has the permission can access these records. However, these are sealed from public view after certain years. This time span again differs from state to state. The National Crime Information Center or NCIC collects every criminal record from each state and records it. The FBI uses these for investigation. If you are looking out for a job in Police or Defense, you should not have any criminal records. These establishments have the authority to run a check about your history, even if it has been sealed from public view. However, when it comes to other jobs, the government is a little lenient here. Especially in the state of California a job applicant’s criminal can be traced back only for seven years.

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