Crime doesn't pay. In fact, even misdemeanor crimes can literally prevent you from being paid. That's because committing a crime can cost you your job and potentially ruin your entire career. And murder isn't the only charge that can devastate your career prospects. Less severe misdemeanor charges can also have major career consequences. Here are seven misdemeanors that can ruin your career.
- Petty theft: Petty theft is defined differently in different states, but generally involves theft of personal property valued at less than $100. While this may not seem like the end of the world, a conviction for petty theft can be the equivalent of career suicide. That's because employers aren't likely to trust someone willing to steal the things they want. If an employer can't trust their employees not to steal, it's unlikely they will hire a convicted thief, or retain a recently convicted thief.
- Simple assault: Simple assault is physical bodily contact without the consent of the person being touched. This can include acts of violence, such as striking an individual, or less violent acts such as shaking, grabbing, or non-sexual touching. Simple assault doesn't carry the heavy punishments associated with aggravated or sexual assault, but there's a good chance your employer may not know that. An assault charge may signal to employers that you're unable to control your emotions, and could therefore represent a potential liability in the workplace. That could end your career as quickly as it began.
- DUI/Drunk driving charges: There may be no more potentially devastating misdemeanor citation than the dreaded DUI. These misdemeanor offenses are common, carry stiff penalties, are potentially difficult to remove from an employee's criminal record, and can send the wrong impression about an employee's level of maturity and responsibility. Getting hired with a DUI on your record can be more difficult, and for certain types of employees, a DUI can spell the end of a perfectly good career. Don't drink and drive!
- Sex offenses: Sex offenses are major red flags for employers, even if they're misdemeanors such as indecent exposure. That's because sex offenses have major political implications that can be a nightmare for employers in certain situations. In addition, inappropriate sexual behavior is one thing that no employer is willing to handle on the job, and if you're acting sexually inappropriate in your personal life, you're more of a liability on the job. These highly sensitive offenses can be a disaster for employees in all careers.
- Public intoxication: It's amazing how enjoying one too many drinks on the beach can quickly turn into career suicide. A citation for public intoxication is a serious matter, and employers are sure to notice. After all, if you can't handle your booze in a public place in your free time, how responsible will you be on the job? Employers simply can't afford to take any chances on someone who is convicted of public intoxication, even if it is a misdemeanor charge.
- Weapons charges: Are you a gun fanatic? In addition to handling your weapons with care, you had better be sure you don't get cited for misdemeanor weapons violations like carrying a concealed weapon or brandishing a concealed firearm. These charges could end your career. How would you expect an employer to react to an employee's conviction on a weapons charge? What if the employee brought the weapon to work? What if the employee had the weapon concealed during business hours? And what if something happened that caused the employee to use the weapon? An employer is likely to conclude that hiring or retaining an employee guilty of a weapons charge might not be worth the risk, and that's not a position you want to be in.
- Trespass: Trespass occurs when an individual enters the real property of another without consent. This may sound fancy, but it's easier to trespass than you might think, and getting cited for trespass can be a one-way ticket to the unemployment line. A trespass violation may be innocent enough, such as attempting to enter a nightclub without authorization, but the charge carries negative connotations that can cause employers to think twice about hiring or retaining you. Before involving yourself in any questionable behavior, be mindful of whose property you happen to be on at the time.