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Will a DUI Show on a Criminal Background Check?

Driving Under Influence (DUI) is one of the most serious driving offenses you can commit. But if you have a DUI on your record, you might be wondering if it will show up on a criminal record check and, if so, how it will affect your prospects of getting a job. In this guide, we will explain everything you need to know about DUI convictions, explain how you can check whether your DUI shows up on a background check, and recommend the best sites to use to do this.

If you have a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (commonly known as a DUI) you might be wondering if it will only show up on your driving record or whether your criminal history will detail it too.

By its very nature, DUI is a driving offense. But it is also considered a serious criminal offense that can result if your driving license being suspended or revoked, and even a jail sentence.

A few users have asked us whether their DUI will appear on a criminal background check and, if so, how it will affect their prospects of getting a job. In this guide, we will answer these questions and tell you everything you need to know about a DUI, how it is recorded, and what implications it has for a job application.

We will also explain how you can take a look at your own record to see how your DUI is classified and recommend the best sites to use to do this.

What is a DUI and how is it classified?

A DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence. It is a criminal offense that relates to driving or being in control of a motor vehicle while being under the influence of illegal drugs or having more than the legally permitted amount of alcohol in your bloodstream.

DUI is a serious offense but in most cases, a first DUI offense will only be classed as a misdemeanor. This is the law in all 50 states, although there are some extenuating circumstances that can change this, such as if someone is killed is a significant amount of damage is caused.

If you have more than one DUI on your record, you are likely to find it classified as a felony and be subject to much higher fines, a possible jail sentence, and have your driving license either suspended or revoked.

Will a DUI appear on your driving record?

Yes. Your driving record details anything related to your driving history. This means that every driving offense is recorded on it.

That includes parking tickets, speeding tickets, and any other driving offenses, including DUI. Any fines or penalties you receive as a result of a DUI will also be listed on your driving record as well as any points or changes to the status of your driving license.

If an employer runs a background check that looks at your driving record, they will, therefore, see details of your DUI listed.

Will a DUI appear on your criminal record?

Yes. A DUI is a serious criminal offense and even if it is a first-time offense and therefore classified as a misdemeanor, it will still appear on your criminal record just like any other misdemeanor.

This means that even if a prospective employer only runs a criminal background check and doesn’t look at your driving record, they will still see details of your DUI.

Because a DUI is both a criminal offense and a driving offense, it will appear on both records which means any employer that looks at either is going to find out.

Is my DUI a misdemeanor or a felony?

If your DUI was a first offense, the chances are that it will have been recorded as a misdemeanor on your criminal record.

However, there are some exceptions to this. If your DUI involved a fatality, someone being seriously injured, or a significant amount of damage being caused, it could still be recorded as a felony if that’s what the judge decides. You could even find extra charges such as vehicular manslaughter or criminal negligence being added to your records.

Other things that can affect the severity of your conviction and criminal record includes how much alcohol was in your system, whether there was a child in the car, and the status of your license and insurance.

If you have multiple DUI offenses on your record, the chances are that any latter ones have been recorded as a felony.

Will a DUI affect my job application?

This question depends on a number of different things including the type of job you are applying for, whether the job you are applying for plans to run a background check on you, where they will look, and whether it will ask you about your criminal history at all.

Fewer jobs these days are asking about people’s criminal history and some states and jurisdictions have banned the practice altogether. But plenty of jobs still do and if an application form asks, ‘have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense?’ you will have to truthfully reply yes. Any other answer would be dishonest and, if your employer finds this out, it is highly unlikely you would get hired for any job.

A lot of application forms will include a section that allows you to give details of your criminal history. This is an opportunity for you to explain the circumstances behind your DUI, outline any mitigating circumstances, and make the case for why an employer should overlook the conviction. If the application form doesn’t have this section, it is advisable to include such information on a separate sheet of paper if necessary.

Whether your prospective employer will take this information into account or not depends on the type of job you are applying for.

If it is an office-based job, manual labor, or something similar, there is no reason why they shouldn’t overlook a DUI. If the job involves driving or related tasks such as operating heavy equipment, they are more likely to take a DUI seriously.

Will my DUI definitely show up on a background check?

Probably, but necessarily. If your employer runs a background check that doesn’t take a look at either your driving record or your criminal history, it is quite possible that your DUI will not show up, providing there isn’t other evidence such as media coverage or social media posts about the incident. It should be noted that most background checks will cover at least one of these records.

There is then the issue of when your DUI took place. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the legislation that oversees background checks, any criminal records more than seven years old cannot be considered by employers. In some states, this length is even shorter.

However, while any criminal record of a DUI will not show up if it happened more than seven years ago, it will still show on your driving record. This means that if an employer looks at both, they will still find out about your DUI.

How can I find out if my DUI shows up on my background check?

If you want to find out the status of your DUI record and whether a DUI from your past will show up on your criminal background check, the best thing to do is run a background check on yourself.

There are two main types of background checking sites available. Professional sites are used by employers and are fully compliant with the FCRA and all other relevant laws and regulations.

Public background checking sites cannot be used by employers and are not compliant with these laws. But they are open for anybody to use and they will source information from many of the same sources. A public background check on a premium site should reveal all of your criminal history as well as the full details of your driving record.

In other words, if there is a DUI on your record, a public background checking site will find it.

Choosing the best background checking site

Deciding to run a background check on yourself is the easy part. Choosing which site to use is much harder. There are literally dozens of different public background checking sites out there and all claim to be the best in the business.

In reality, of course, some are far better than others, so how can you choose the best one?

Fortunately, our researchers have been testing all the top background checking sites so you don’t have to. They have run dozens of different names through their systems to see which can pull up the right information and how well they perform.

As a result of their tests, we can now confidently recommend two background checking sites that are head and shoulders above the rest. Our top tworecommended sites are:

1. Instant CheckMate

Instant Checkmate - Editors choice

Instant CheckMate is a superfast service that is the perfect choice if you need to check the state of your driving record and your criminal record urgently. In our tests, it performed faster than any other site while still generating comprehensive and accurate results. This data is presented in nice, well-designed reports that anyone can read and understand.

Instant Checkmate has impressive mobile apps for iOS and Android devices and a user-friendly desktop dashboard. It also has a customer support service that is helpful, friendly, and responsive.

At $34.78 per month or $27.82 per month for a three-month subscription, Instant CheckMate is not the cheapest site available. But if you need to find out details of your driver records and criminal history fast, Instant CheckMate is a terrific choice.

2. TruthFinder

TruthFinder - Editors choice

TruthFinder produces unerringly accurate driving and criminal record data every time. It is a site that really lives up to its name and even when we input inaccurate or misleading data, it was still able to dig out the right information every time.

TruthFinder does not have the most consistent speeds but it more than makes up for this with its consistency and accuracy. The detailed information it produces is set out in a final report that is really well-designed and the desktop dashboard and mobile apps you manage your searches on are exceptional. Another big USP is the customer support which is available 24/7 and accessible via a toll-free number.

TruthFinder prices are pretty reasonable and one thing our testers really appreciated was the sense that the customer is the top priority at all times. Not every site gives this feeling and it is one of several things that really makes TruthFinder stand out.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL: Looking for deep insight into your own public record? Try TruthFinder, one of the industry titans. Get the service with our generous reader discount.


If you have a DUI offense on your record, the chances are that it will show up on a background check. DUI’s are listed on both your driving record and your criminal history and there aren’t too many background checks that don’t look at at least one of those.

But just because a DUI will show up on a background check, doesn’t mean you don’t have a hope of landing the job. As we have explained, a first-time DUI is only classified as a misdemeanor and most jobs that don’t require you to drive or operate heavy machinery will not have a problem with that.

If you want to know how to check your own record, we have advised you to run a background check on yourself and we have also recommended the top two sites to do this.

Have you ever been convicted of a DUI? How was it recorded on your file and has the issue ever come up in a job interview or employment background check? If so, how did you handle the situation? Do you have any tips or advice for our readers that we haven’t mentioned in this article? If so, please do share them with us using the comment box below.

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