Do Traffic Violations Appear in a Background Check

Published: Jun 29, 2020

Traffic ViolationsTraffic violations show up on your driving record in certain circumstances. If your traffic violation was classified as a criminal offense, then it can show up on a background check. Only major violations or those that you did not resolve can show up on the criminal history portion of a background check.

If the background check is being done by an employer who requests your driving record, then your traffic violations will show up. Requesting your driving record is usually only done if you will be driving a company vehicle or driving as part of your job.

Online background checks are done for employment, or personal reasons, will usually not reflect traffic violations. Checkpeople, a reputable site for background checks, does not show traffic violations unless they are a criminal offense.

When is a traffic violation a crime?

Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, even prescription medication that leaves you impaired, can lead to a DUI. Reckless driving, which is classified differently in each state, can also result in a criminal prosecution that shows up on your background check. Reckless driving charges usually result from driving at speeds that are deemed exceedingly dangerous, deliberately running red lights or stop lights, or racing other vehicles are all examples of what states would consider reckless driving.

Traffic citations that you do not resolve by paying your fine, or appearing in court, can also result in the issuance of a warrant for your arrest. When that happens, a traffic citation may then appear on a background check as part of your criminal history. Other significant violations, such as driving without a license or with a suspended license or leaving the scene of an accident, can also result in criminal charges that will show up on a background check.

Will traffic violations impact my ability to get a job?

Some employers do requests your driving history as part of an employment background check. There are numerous reasons an employer might request this information, such as:

• You will be operating a company vehicle

• You will be driving as part of your job for the company

• Your employer wants a thorough background check as part of their policy regardless of whether the job involves driving.

If your employer requests your driving record, even minor violations will show up, but that does not mean you will be disqualified from the job. Employers are looking for things that will affect the cost or feasibility of adding you to their insurance, or a pattern of irresponsible behavior. The things that will affect their ultimate decision about the weight of traffic violations include:

• The seriousness of the violation. Two speeding tickets a couple of years apart for less than ten mph over the speed limit will have less weight than one ticket for fifteen mph over the speed limit.

• How many traffic violations do you have? Employers look at the number of violations to see if there is a pattern of irresponsible driving.

• How long ago was the most recent violation? Older violations carry less weight than those that happened recently.

• Did you resolve the fine for the violation? Employers want to ensure that you have handled any violations responsibly.

Depending on the job you are seeking, a less than stellar driving record should not impact your ability to get a job that does not require that you drive for the job. Most employers will not request your driving record unless you will be driving on the job. If they do requests a copy of your driving record, remember they are looking for patterns of behavior behind the wheel. One or two minor violations, especially if they are not recent, should not hurt your chances of getting the job.

What can you do to improve your driving record?

The most important thing you can do to improve your driving record is to drive safely. The longer you go without a traffic citation, the cleaner your driving record will appear. Non-criminal citations do not stay on your record forever, but how long they show up depends on the state. On average, traffic violations remain on your driving record from two to five years.

Pay any outstanding fines for traffic violations, or contest the ticket. Do not let an unresolved traffic violation linger on your record. You might consider requesting a copy of your driving record to see what will show up when someone else requests the record. Having the information beforehand can help you prepare an explanation for your driving record.

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