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How Can An Arizona Misdemeanor Impact Your Employment?

Posted on March 14, 2024 in

No one wants to face criminal charges, but many defendants breathe a small sigh of relief when they learn they’re facing misdemeanor charges rather than a more serious felony. There are significant differences between a misdemeanor conviction and a felony conviction; for instance, misdemeanor sentences are typically no more than six months in jail plus probation, while felonies can result in any amount of prison time, including lifetime imprisonment depending on the seriousness of the felony and whether or not it was a violent crime conviction. 

A misdemeanor charge is significantly less dire than a felony charge but does that mean a conviction isn’t serious? The truth is that any criminal conviction has momentous consequences. A misdemeanor conviction becomes a part of a person’s permanent record, impacting many aspects of their life even long after they’ve served their time or completed community service. One way misdemeanors have an effect is on employment. It’s important to know just how a misdemeanor can impact your ability to work in the career of your choice.

How Can An Arizona Misdemeanor Impact Your Employment?

Arizona Licensing Boards and Misdemeanor Convictions

Common examples of misdemeanor crimes in Arizona include DUI, petty theft, reckless driving, and disorderly conduct. Arizona’s licensing boards require anyone with a criminal record to report their criminal history when applying for licensing for occupational positions. These include such occupations as working in the healthcare field, commercial trucking, real estate, childcare, pest control, construction contracting, and many other fields. In many cases, a misdemeanor automatically disqualifies those with convictions from obtaining a technical license. In addition, those already licensed and working in their chosen field are required to report a misdemeanor conviction to the board. In some cases, the convicted individual may petition for an exemption and list the circumstances of their conviction and what they’ve done to avoid similar circumstances in the future.

According to Arizona  A.R.S. § 41-1093.04:

“The Board will review the Petition and make a determination within 90 days whether the Petitioner’s criminal record disqualifies Petitioner from Registration/Certification.”

For some occupations, the state’s licensing board requires fingerprinting; for example, for all positions in education and childcare In these cases, once an individual’s criminal history appears as part of their background check they are ineligible for the position even if the conviction was for a misdemeanor crime.

Criminal Background Screening for Job Positions

Today, almost all employers run a basic background check on job applicants. A background check reveals not only that the applicant has a criminal history, but also details such as:

  • The type of offense
  • The date of the offense
  • The file date
  • The level of the offense (felony or misdemeanor)
  • Disposition of the offense (convicted or acquitted) and the date of disposition 
  • Sentencing information

Depending on the nature of the position the applicant is seeking, their history of a misdemeanor conviction may or may not preclude their hiring. In some job positions, an employer opens themselves up to liability if they hire someone with a previous conviction, even for a misdemeanor crime.

It’s important to note that a history of an arrest is not the same as a history of conviction. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prevents employers from discriminating against applicants who have an arrest on their record but not a conviction. For this and many other reasons, it’s essential to put on as strong a defense against a misdemeanor charge as a felony charge with the help of a Phoenix criminal lawyer.