Misdemeanors on Job Applications

What are the requirements when filling out a job application? Some only ask for felonies, and others ask for everything. I have a friend who majored in Human Resources Management, and he said that by law you only have to report felonies.

I personally have a few misdemeanors on my record from college about 3 ½ years ago (I used to be a partier/pothead): 2 paraphernalia, 1 possession marijuana less than an ounce, and 1 maintaining a disorderly house.

Since then, I got a Finance degree with a 3.6 GPA and was on the Dean’s list 3 times. I am a mortgage analyst in the Midwest, and have 2 years experience and an impressive resume.

I’m moving to Los Angeles, and therefore need to find a new job. My current employer is so small that they didn’t even check my record. But I’ll be applying at a lot of bigger companies that I’m sure will check. So I’d like your opinion regarding how I should handle these questions.

I could put it down on a job app, but I don’t want them to know if they are not even going to check, especially since my friend said that legally I don’t have to put it down unless it was a felony. I could just put it down and hope that my honesty will impress them, but I think overall that I should just leave it out.

I’d like to think that some companies would realize that I was just an idiot in college at the time. I’d also like to think that out in southern California that companies would be a little more forgiving about the whole marijuana thing than they would in the ultra-conservative Midwest.

What are your opinions? Thank you in advance.

IANAL, nor do I work in Human Resources. I suggest either following the instructions on the application to the letter (if it says “felonies” then don’t report misdemeanors) or consulting with a lawyer licensed in California and knowledgable of California employment law. Actually I’d suggest doing both.

Rhino, I’ve often wondered the same. Have misdemeanor(s) on record, but not sure about application process. I’m in Omaha as well. Have BA with Finance Emphasis. Maybe I can take your job after you move to L.A.

I went to Nebraska-Kearney (you can’t spell Drunk without UNK).

Found out for myself . . . halelujah! To people like me, this is good news . . . (at least in California)

  1. How should you answer questions about cases related to marijuana possession and use?

If you were arrested or convicted of certain marijuana-related crimes, and two years have passed since the case ended, your conviction (or arrest) is no longer considered to be “accurate, relevant, timely or complete for any purpose by any agency or person.” (Health & Safety Code § 11361.7a.) Your arrest or conviction for these marijuana-related offenses needn’t be disclosed when any question is asked about your prior criminal record. (Health & Safety Code § 11361.7c.) Most employers shouldn’t ask about these types of cases on employment applications. (Labor Code § 432.8.) Offenses involving sale, cultivation or possession for sale aren’t covered by this remedy. We discuss the remedy for getting marijuana convictions off your record in detail in Chapter 7.

Dude! “Maintaining a Disorderly House”? (and since I found out my wife stalks me here, I won’t put in any cutsie remarks about her ending up on death row for this offense :smiley: )

How did you pull that off? This sounds like a good story waiting to see the light of day.

Frostee Rucker? Sounds like a nice ice-cream treat. You might very well ask, “I’ll have a Frostee Rucker, please.” Of course, you’ll want to hold the nuts.

You should never tell a lie on any job application. However, you don’t have to hang your laundry everywhere either. I have heard some people suggest that when an application asks about arrests, convictions etc. you should write something like “will discuss at interview.” Then you can tell them what they need to know in person, you can put it into a context (“I made a terrible mistake when I was young and stupid”), and you keep your personal business away from every file clerk who handles your paperwork. And you can’t really be accused of concealing anything: you’re volunteering to talk about it.

I’m curious, too. If it’s not prying–well, it is prying, but if you don’t mind–how does one “maintain a disorderly house?”

I wonder about this too. I have a misdemeanor weapons charge from 9th grade. This was back in 1998. I am now a sophmore in college, and I can’t see why this screwup should matter to any employer. It was five years ago now, and I was 14 at the time. Would it be a good idea to list it anyway?

From Black’s Law Dictionary:

(FTR, a “bawdy house” is a house of prostitution.)

You’re welcome.

Oh, and Ray, if you were a minor at the time of the offense and it’s been so long since then, don’t list it.


Now that just makes it sound even more interesting. Thanks, Robi/yn!

Reader99 wrote:

I have read that you should write “will discuss in interview” as well, but also that you should never say anything in the tune of “I made a terrible mistake.” You’ve already been punished for your infraction, and there’s no reason to put it yourself on trial again. You should be direct, although not apologetic. This will just make is sound even worse.


For myself, the link posted yesterday says that legally I have no requirement to report my marijuana tickets, and so I’m not going to.

As far as my maintaining a disorderly house story . . .

It was basically just your typical college kegger. The house was filled with people, the lawn was filled with cars, there were people constantly going in and out. We all knew that it was only a matter of time before the cops came.

But when they came, none of the roomates (including myself) wanted to go to the door. We all figured that someone else would have to. So the cops kept pounding on the door, and everyone just went up or downstairs, and nobody answered the door. They had no warrant or anything, so they left. We thought that we figured out the way to prevent getting busted! The party continued once they left.

But then they came back about 30 minutes later and they were PISSED. Some of us were on the back roof smoking and they told us to come to the door. Only two of us did . . . and guess what? We both got ticketed and had to go to court! The others got off free, although we all split the court costs. So me and my buddy were punished for being stand-up guys. Well . . . stand-up guys the second time around.

The cops proceeded to tell us that had we answered the door the first time around, they would have just told everyone to leave. But who knows if that’s the truth.