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Is a misdemeanor a criminal conviction?

Edison, NJ |

Is a misdemeanor a criminal conviction? I got pulled over for a driving under the influence in Ohio and I am a New Jersey Resident, I have a pending court date in ohio in this matter.

As I was taking a background check for an employment oppurtunity in NJ there was a question " Do you have any pending arrests or criminal convictions" and I answered "no." When the employer ran the background check my pending DUI court case (which most likely will be ammended to a wreckless driving) came up as a misdemeanor. My lawyer informed me that my current pending case is not a criminal case as this is just a traffic matter. Is a misdemeanor considered a criminal record? What can I give my employer as proof to prove that this is not a criminal case?

In other words does a pending misdemeanor case automatically mean a pending criminal case?

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Attorney answers 5


Drunk driving convictions are in fact criminal convictions. They are misdemeanors, however, their statute citation is usually under the motor vehicle code; nevertheless, a misdemeanor a criminal conviction. Additionally, Reckless driving convictions are generally also criminal misdemeanor convictions as well; they likewise, are usually under the motor vehicle code, but are still a criminal conviction. Regarding your last question, "pending misdemeanors" are indeed "pending criminal cases"; all misdemeanors are criminal cases and/or criminal convictions. This is a long shot, but if your attorney can get your case knocked down to "careless driving" this is generally considered a civil infraction.


While considered a traffic violation in NJ, it appears to be a criminal offense in Ohio (misdemeanor) -

Ohio Revised Code, Title 45:

Chapter 4511.19 Operating vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs - OVI

(G)(1)(a) Except as otherwise provided in division (G)(1)(b), (c), (d), or (e) of this section, the offender is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree… [other sections pertain to repeat offenders].

You may want to check with another Ohio attorney for a definitive answer.

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To make matters more complicated, New Jersey does not have a "misdemeanor" category. Offenses are either felonies, and considered "crimes," or disorderly persons offenses, which by definition are not considered crimes in New Jersey. Motor vehicle offenses, such as a DUI, are neither.

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I don't practice in NJ. Yes.

Edward J. Blum


The problem is you are bound by ohio law. Does Ohio grade misdemeanors as a criminal charge. In NJ it is not but Ohio governs this one.

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