August 6th, 2015 | Sterling

Will a DUI Show Up on a Job Seeker’s Background Check?


Background checks are a valuable way for employers to do their research on the applicant they are about to hire.

If you are bringing someone in to take on responsibilities within your company or organization, it is important to make sure that they will be a good fit, and pose no risk to your organization, or other employees. Background checks require both time and money to conduct. It is important the employer understand the information that could potentially return.

One of the most common offenses we find when conducting an employment background check is Driving Under the Influence (DUI).

Some candidates think that because a DUI is a traffic violation that it wouldn’t show up on a background check, but that is not the case.

In some circumstances, an employer will find a DUI offense on a Motor Vehicle Record check depending on a number of factors including the state where the offense occurred and how long ago it took place, however in most cases the conviction will be revealed on a criminal background check.

This brings up an interesting dilemma for candidates when completing a job application that asks if they’ve ever been convicted of a crime. They believe that a DUI is a traffic violation and that it won’t show up on a background check, but that is not the case. Most states have now made DUI’s both a traffic and criminal violation.

This dilemma also confounds employers when a candidate fails to mention this type of conviction and then wonders if the person was trying the hide the record from them.

Here are some important factors employers should consider when determining if a DUI is a disqualifying offense.

  • Is the person applying for a regulated position such as a pilot or a truck driver that prevents you from hiring them?- If the answer to the question is yes, then the decision is out of your hands.
  • Does the person’s job responsibilities require the use of a company vehicle, their own vehicle or to operate machinery?- If yes, it would be helpful to consider factors such as how long ago the offense occurred, whether they are a repeat offender and the steps they have taken to rehabilitate themselves. If the job requirements do not include these responsibilities, you should go through the same exercise but perhaps the hiring criteria is less strict.
  • Has the person been convicted of the same crime or other offenses in the past?- An isolated incident might not be as impactful in and of itself, but a pattern of behavior might call their employment into question.

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.