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If a misdemeanor is dropped to a violation, will it still show up on my criminal record?

Hudson, NH |

I was arrested for disorderly conduct and receiving stolen property in 2010. I went to court and was ordered 200 hours of community service. I was told that these charges would be dropped to violations upon completion of this community service, and that they would not show up on background checks. However, when applying to jobs, employers have seen these charges. Why is this happening? And how can I get this expunged from my record?

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Attorney answers 1


Sometimes courts agree with prosecutors to reclassify misdemeanor criminal charges to violation level (non-criminal offenses) so long as a convicted defendant completes a set of conditions. This kind of reclassification is extremely rare, however, because there is no solid legal authority that allows the reclassification to happen. It is like pounding a round peg into a square hole. When a court grants these privileges it is always important to make sure that the reclassification occurs. Most times, the defendant must actually file a motion with the court to make this happen.

Even if an offense is reclassified to a violation, the record of conviction remains. The defendant must file the appropriate paperwork and pay the appropriate fees to have the criminal record annulled. More about the process can be found at the bottom of this web page:

It is strongly recommended that a person retain legal counsel when petitioning for annulment.

Note: The above is general information only. It does not constitute formal legal advice or form an attorney-client relationship. You should discuss your specific legal situation with a licensed attorney.



Thank you very much for a detailed response. I will work on correcting these issues. In terms of the annulment process, I understand that the Dept. of Corrections does a "criminal investigation"; what does this consist of? Also, do I have to wait three years before applying for annulment even though my charge was dropped from a class B misdemeanor to a violation offense? Thanks for your help, Ricardo. Much appreciated.

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