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What Can I Do About a Misdemeanor Record?

Be on time for a hearing related to your misdemeanor to avoid irritating the judge.
Hire a misdemeanor attorney to try to clear your record.
Ensure that you have paid all fines before attempting to have a misdemeanor removed from your record.
The cause of an arrest plays a large role in the possibility of expungement.
Criminal court building.
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  • Written By: Ron Marr
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2014
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Sadly, if you have committed a misdemeanor, the chances are good that it will be on your record for life. Courts rarely expunge a misdemeanor record, or issue a pardon, without extremely good cause. The best way to avoid having a record is to not commit the misdemeanor in the first place. Otherwise, except in very select instances, the offense will be part of the public record and accessible by any individual or organization that wishes to check your background.

Having a misdemeanor record, depending upon the state or country in which you live, can make it nearly impossible for you to gain specific types of employment. For instance, if you have been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), you would probably be prevented from any job that involves transportation of people or goods. Your record can prevent you from being allowed to lease certain rental accommodations and can even play a role in military enlistment. That said, you can petition the court to remove the misdemeanor from your record or have the record sealed. Your chances of success will depend on the severity or class of the misdemeanor, where you live, your age at the time of the crime, and the mood of the court in which you appear.

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Laws and statutes regarding your misdemeanor record are highly arbitrary, and there are only a few scenarios where you might be able to eliminate the mark from your files. The first situation consists of being found not guilty of a misdemeanor, or having the complaint dismissed before a trial begins. The misdemeanor may still appear on your record, and it can usually be removed since it is in fact a clerical error. If you committed a misdemeanor before you were legally considered an adult, there is a fair chance it will be expunged from your record when you reach the age of 18.

This is not to say that you should not try to clear a misdemeanor arrest or conviction from your court and police records. Courts can sometimes show mercy, especially if you have only committed a single offense and do not have a history of further crimes. Your first step is to hire a misdemeanor attorney, because the laws pertaining to such matters are complex and confusing. You will next pay a fee to the court or your local police department, which is compelled to provide you with a copy of your full record upon request.

Your attorney will look over your record, and inform you whether or not your offense has a chance of being expunged or pardoned. Some petty misdemeanors might be removed, but most will remain. To better your chances, if you were in fact convicted and have a legitimate misdemeanor record, make certain you have complied with every requirement of the court. You must have paid all fines, taken required classes, served jail time, or performed all community service hours that were mandated.

If your attorney feels your record has a chance of being cleared, he will petition the court and represent you during a hearing. Do not attempt to represent yourself, as the court often does not appreciate those who wish to act as their own lawyer. Dress nicely and be polite when the judge asks you questions. Above all else, be honest and be on time for the hearing. Your future is in the hands of the judge reviewing your case, and few things are likely to irritate him or her more than a petitioner who arrives late and appears to not value the court's time.

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Discuss this Article

anon954818
Post 4

If you have a theft charge, petty larceny for instance, you are messed up for life. I know this and it ticks me off that we live in a country that will cut off your hand with the paper they brand you with.

There is no forgiveness in this country. If you steal once and get caught, no matter how small of insignificant the item, you have a black mark that cannot be erased, ever. Meanwhile, the big bankers can steal and lose money, and we the taxpayers must bail them out so they can stay wealthy.

anon330721
Post 3

I have a misdemeanor larceny on my record which I received about two years ago at the age of 19. I have since tried my hardest to find a job but because of this, no one seems to want to hire me.

My girlfriend at the time asked me to go to another town about an hour down the road. On the way we stopped at a shopping complex where her cousin was to meet us to discuss plans for the day. Little did I know, he was making plans with her to steal television sets from that very store. Long story short, I was caught on camera walking out of the store in front OF his buggy full of 19 inch plasmas. Three weeks later, I was arrested inside a Wal-Mart store and in court just a few days later being charged. I need to get this taken off or something in order for me to find a job. What can I do?

anon325495
Post 2

I have three misdemeanors and I am 55 years old and they just happened. I went through a horrible divorce in which my ex wife was forging checks behind my back and I didn't know until I got audited by the IRS. Bottom line: I lost everything.

My doctor prescribed me klonopin and I got a DUI after I took it. I have never drank or done drugs my whole life. I got even more depressed and ended walking out of a business with some tools so the police charged me with commercial burglary. I ended up living in a car and some idiot left marijuana stems in there so I got a marijuana charge. Combine that with a bankruptcy I guess I am pretty much messed up.

I have since been taking classes to be a building inspector, which would be a dream job. But guess what? It's a government job. I sure wish I could start my life all over!

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