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Would a past misdemeanor reduced to an infraction show up on a background check and bar me from employment?

Los Angeles, CA |

I was charged with petty theft in July 2009 in California. I was 18 at the time and it was my first offense. I hired a lawyer and the case resulted in a misdemeanor that became reduced to an infraction and the case was dismissed. My understanding is that expungement is an action that I can consider now to help clear my records (I haven't done so yet, but will do this in the near future). However, I have recently received a job offer and the firm should be conducting a background check. I also read somewhere that misdemeanors that are reduced to infractions fall off the grid after 3 years of the case being dismissed. Could someone help my understanding of my case? Would this bar me from employment?

Thanks in advance.

Also, I was wondering if it does in fact show up in my records - if it would show up as a misdemeanor although it became an infraction. Thank you.

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Attorney answers 3


Depending on the depth of the background check, it could be discovered that you had been convicted of a misdemeanor that was reduced to an infraction. However, how deep an employer will go with a background check will be a function of the kind of employer, the nature of your job and the motivation of the employer to find background information.

Whether it would bar employment is also a question that can only be answered by the person making the hiring decision. There are no hard and fast rules applied across the board by all employers about what will and will not disqualify and employee.

You can run a basic background check on yourself. There are several services that will do that for you. Just Google it to find several of those companies, many of which are used by employers.

Good luck to you.

This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.


It does depend on the employer and the employment but it is not likely that an infraction will affect an employment in the manner that a misdemeanor or felony would.


It does show on your record.. but an infraction should not be a problem. You can still "expunge" the infraction. Contact an attorney to get this done..

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