By Kristen Wakulchuk


If you are an employer who conducts background checks on prospective employees, it’s important to understand the difference between a misdemeanor and felony. By doing so, you can make the best hiring decisions for your organization. You can also avoid safety issues and turnover down the road.  


What is a Misdemeanor? 

While a misdemeanor isn’t as severe as a felony, it can still be quite serious. For example, even though burglary and assault leading to bodily injury are considered misdemeanors in some states, they are serious offenses. In most cases, misdemeanor crimes are punished by fines and some time in a county jail. 


What is a Felony? 

The most serious crimes one can commit are known as felonies. These include disturbing crimes such as kidnapping, rape, and homicide. Non-violent crimes like forgery, embezzlement and theft are also classified as felonies that can be concerning to you as an employer. Felony crimes come with serious consequences such as hefty fines, prison time, and the loss of voting and firearms rights.  


Crimes Are Classified Differently Between States 

It’s important to note that how a crime is classified varies from state to state. For example, while an offense for the possession of 1 oz. of marijuana is a misdemeanor in Texas, it’s a felony in Arizona. As an employer, it’s a good idea to find out how various crimes are classified in your state.  


Should You Overlook a Misdemeanor or Felony? 

If you find out a prospective employee has been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, you may be wondering whether you should hire them. The answer is – it depends. If they committed a violent felony last year, hiring them would likely pose a safety risk.  

On the other hand, if they faced a misdemeanor for reckless driving five years ago, you may still want to consider them. Think about the nature and date of their crime as well as the position they are being considered for before making a decision.  


Contact Chane Solutions  

For more information on the difference between a misdemeanor and felony, contact Chane Solutions, a quality employment screening and drug testing provider today.   



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