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Will a Speeding Ticket Show Up on a Background Check?

Michelle Wilson - July 22, 2022

Will a Speeding Ticket Show Up on a Background Check?

No one likes getting a speeding ticket, but if you’ve recently been cited for driving a little too fast, you’re likely wondering if the infraction could negatively impact your job prospects. Does the average pre-employment background check include your speeding ticket? Would you need to disclose the ticked if asked about criminal history on a job application?

Thankfully, most traffic offenses aren’t considered criminal. Civil citations won’t appear under an individual’s criminal record. You’re not required to attend court unless you’d like to contest the violation, nor will you be found guilty of any crime. Occasionally, a traffic violation may be classified as a misdemeanor or felony when it exceeds a civil citation level. A few employers will take this step to fill driving-related offenses.

Will the Speeding Ticket Show Up on a Background Check?

People often refer to the criminal record when asking about the background check an employer may ascribe the most weight during the hiring process. The simple answer is no if the question relates directly to whether your speeding ticket will show under this section. Why? A criminal background check is often reserved for misdemeanor and felony convictions.

How Does the Law Classify a Speeding Ticket?

The average traffic ticket is not classified as a criminal citation. Most minor traffic offenses are recorded as a civil citation, meaning they’re not considered misdemeanors or felonies. Therefore, these infractions won’t appear on your criminal record. As a result, speeding violations will not typically show on a background check, mainly if the screening focuses on criminal history.

Will a Speeding Ticket Appear on Your Driving Record?

Criminal background searches aren’t the only type of background checks an employer might run on you. A prospective employer may wish to look at other parts of your background, from education, employment history, professional licenses, or certifications, and more. These additional background checks may include a review of your motor vehicle history. If that’s the case, a driving record check will likely show your traffic violations.

Not all employers use driving history checks as a routine background check process. If you’re looking for a position that doesn’t involve motor vehicles, there isn’t much reason for an employer to worry about your motor vehicle history. Any information available should be relevant to the job in question, whether these are current judgments or past convictions. If you’re applying for a job that involves driving, assume the company will investigate your motor vehicle record.

Will Traffic Violations Stop You from Getting Jobs?

When applying for a position that involves driving, mainly when it’s primarily high levels of the job requirement (for example, a situation that requires a commercial driver’s license), there’s a good chance that a traffic infraction might impact how hirable you are. For instance, a delivery driver with a history of speeding tickets or other traffic violations may be considered an unnecessary risk to the employer.

The nature of the ticket might also influence whether your history is an issue for your job prospect. If you’ve only received your first speeding ticket last month and were driving five miles above the limit, there’s probably not much to worry about. These types of violations are relatively minor, especially as a first-time offense. Thankfully, the history is viewed differently than driving histories indicating several crimes. For example, an individual ticketed for speeding three times in the last six months or for going 30 miles per hour faster than a posted limit is viewed more harshly by the employer.

Will More Serious Offenses Appear?

Unfortunately, more severe traffic offenses like reckless driving or hit-and-runs can result in misdemeanor convictions. By law, these infractions are considered criminal traffic offenses and will always show up on the criminal background check. Other driving infractions that fall into this category include driving under the influence, driving on a revoked or suspended license, or any instances of vehicular manslaughter. With a judgment, employers will still weigh the risk of hiring the applicant against current safety policies.

An employer trying to fill a driving-related position will typically look at these infractions as major red flags, often disqualifying the applicant from the job. Hiring an applicant with such a driving history is a significant liability risk.

Does a Speeding Ticket Show Up on a Background Check?

Ultimately, the easiest way to answer this question is to say, “it depends.” Depending on the background check a prospective employer runs on you, there’s always a chance past traffic violations will show up on the report. A driving history check will find all minor and major traffic violations, often within the last seven years (including speeding tickets). The criminal history check won’t show minor speeding tickets but will always include more severe criminal offenses like hit-and-runs and DUIs.

If you’re curious about your driving record, consider running a driving or criminal record check on yourself. A self-check will give you a better sense of what an employer might be seeing or assuming based on the record.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do civil citations show up on background checks?

Many driving infractions are considered “civil citations.” Changing lanes without signaling, speeding tickets, and running a stop sign would all fall into this category. It doesn’t matter if these charges are settled or pending judgments; they will always appear on a driving history check. For criminal background checks, these charges won’t appear.

Does Driving Without a License Show Up on a Background Check?

Driving without a license is one of the driving infractions considered to be a criminal matter. The first offense is labeled as a misdemeanor crime and is punishable by fines and possibly jail time. The second offense and beyond will charge you as a felony, resulting in much steeper fines or consequences. Even as a first offense, driving without a license is deemed to be significantly more severe than a speeding ticket.

Will Speeding Tickets Show Up on Your Driving Record?

Yes. A speeding ticket will show as part of the motor vehicle record. Many employers will pull driving records over seven years. If you’ve gotten a ticket during this time, there’s a good chance your potential employer will see it.

Do Pending Tickets Show Up on a Background Check?

When you receive a traffic ticket, the officer will typically give a piece of paper with the offense, punishment, and conditions to fulfill. All tickets are usually pending for a specific time after receiving them. If you choose to fight the ticket, it won’t be part of an official record until it’s settled. The traffic violation becomes part of your record if you accept guilt and pay the ticket.

Conclusion

Although many people receive speeding tickets throughout their life, it shouldn’t pose any significant problems to future employers (unless there’s considerable history). For many employers, the occasional infraction isn’t a huge problem unless it’s a misdemeanor or felony charge. Likewise, employers may decline applicants with a severe history of speeding or traffic violations.

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