Misdemeanors are low level crimes thought to be more dangerous than a typical citation, but they are still crimes and the court system will treat them as such. Many misdemeanor crimes will come with penalties like probation, rehabilitation classes, fines and usually some community service. The maximum punishment for misdemeanor crimes is 12 months incarceration however, this is not a typical punishment, especially for first time offenders.
If you are lucky enough to be a first time offender, then your chances of getting a slap on the wrist type punishment are far greater. Those who have numerous misdemeanors on their record are considered habitual offenders and will be treated with much stricter penalties which is where jail time may be considered. So obviously the best choice is to just avoid getting any misdemeanor convictions in the first place, but everyone makes mistakes and if you do, we are here to help you through it. Our expert criminal defense lawyers in Colorado Springs have extensive experience helping clients work the justice system in an effort to reduce charges or get favorable results with sentencing, probation, etc.
Unless your attorney is able to get the conviction sealed or expunged (usually after all probationary activities are completed by the defendant), then a misdemeanor will stay on your record for life. There is something that works towards your benefit though if you were unlucky enough to not be able to get your record sealed. Misdemenaors are usually recorded at the county level and not the state level, so if a background check is done and they don’t check individual counties, you may pass your background check undetected. This can vary though and should not be relied upon.
Technically, misdemeanors are still violations of the law and the courts will want to keep that on your record forever, but when the crime was low level and/or you don’t have a previous criminal record, you may get lucky and get the charges reduced to a citation, probation, community service or some other form of punishment.
Colorado uses a 7 year rule on background checks which means that when a background check is being performed, it can only show what is on your record for the previous 7 years to date. This means that if your misdemeanor conviction or completion of probation was more than 7 years ago, the person doing the background check may not find it.
Misdemeanors are also typically handled at the county level so if the person doing a background check skips the county level, then your records may not show up. There are many different ways to do background checks and some people even use previous addresses to know what counties to check for convictions in, so it is always recommended that you be honest on any applications that ask for this information.
There is no definite answer to this question because every case is different. Prior criminal history will play a major role in how the judge decides to move forward with sentencing, penalties and whether they are willing to let you get the crime expunged from your record. Particularly violent or serious crimes will not be treated as lightly as petty offenses by the courts and will most likely not be given the option of expungement. However, if you don’t have much of a criminal record and your crime wasn’t too serious in nature, or maybe the judge is just feeling generous that day, it’s possible that you could get your misdemeanor expunged.
Usually the judge will make the defendant complete rehabilitation classes, community service, probation, pay fines, or other activities as punishment and if the defendant completes those tasks on time and without issue they will look at that as a solid effort to make up for what you did wrong in the first place. Never count on being able to get your record expunged though as every judge in every courtroom looks differently on every situation and the times that they do allow expungement varies widely.
We serve clients charged with crimes anywhere throughout the state of Colorado, but we focus on residents of these areas: Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Fountain, Briargate, Monument, Black Forest, Pueblo, Canon City, Larkspur, Security-Widefield, Peyton, Castle Rock, Teller County, El Paso County, Elbert County, Park County, Douglas County and beyond.