if you are looking into any gov work you are fubar'ed...
I almost got a misdemeanor for speeding which I fought and my lawyer told me I would lose my clearance and would also impact any non-clearance-required gov positions... I have since slowed myself down quite a bit-
I start a new job Monday, and when the HR department performed a criminal bg check, I had two very old misdemeanors show up. One was Mis Trespassing, and the other was underage passenger in a vehicle with an open container. It was really not an issue, but I had completely forgot about them and truthfully never expected something 27 years old to show up anyway. Since I checked No on my app, they had to ask me to write up an explanation for each one.
As mlseim and alykins said, if you're trying to get in a government job, then yes you may have some issues. Otherwise, I think it depends on the corp itsself and how lax they are on their policies.
Thanks for the responses. Out of my own curiosity, I emailed about 10 recruiters and they all came back and said I am still eligible to apply for any jobs. Often times I'll be asked to explain the misdemeanor, but they said it's not that big of a deal in most companies.
As I mentioned, I am currently employed as a computer programmer so I'm not concerned about the immediate future. However, I'd be upset and devastated if an opportunity arose 7-10 years from now and I was turned down for this single act. I know time is on my side and my record is clean otherwise.
I've been reading a lot of "Yahoo Answers" and similar sites where people claim it's virtually impossible to find a job after a misdemeanor. I think that is what worried me the most. However, I know those aren't in my exact situation (computer programmer, college, experience, etc), so it was probably a mistake on my part to believe everything I read.
You wouldn't want to work for the government anyway, taxpayer money is involved and most government work would suck the enthusiasm out of you.
I got a misdemeanor disturbing the peace when I (foolish as I was) got caught stealing something from my university's bookstore when I was 22 or 23. I applied for and got a job with a non-governmental corporation and it was not an issue. HR never brought it up (which makes me wonder if it ever even showed up, I don't know what the threshold is for criminal background checks), and it's never been an issue.