Even the most law-abiding citizen can get caught speeding sometimes. It is the one offense that anyone can fall into. But once you have paid off your ticket, is that the end of it, or does the ticket stay around on your otherwise unblemished record? And if it does, do you need to worry about it? In this guide, we will tell you everything you need to know about speeding tickets, how to find out if your tickets show up on your background check, and what you can do about it.
So, you broke the speed limit and got caught! What’s the end result? A speeding ticket and a fine are pretty much a given. You could get some points on your license too. But could your speeding ticket have more long term consequences? Will it stay on your record and could it cause problems if you apply for a job and have to go through a criminal background check?
It’s a question we get asked all the time, so we thought it was about time to write a comprehensive article to explain exactly what happens when you get issued with a speeding ticket.
We will tell you everything you need to know about speeding tickets, how they are classified, and how they appear on your record. We will also show you how you can take a look at your own record to see if your speeding ticket appears and offer some advice on what you can do if it does.
How is a speeding ticket classified in law?
If you have picked up a speeding ticket and are worried about it appearing on your criminal record, you can rest easy. Given that an estimated one in three US citizens has a criminal record, it would be easy to assume that speeding tickets did leave you with a record.
But it doesn’t. A speeding ticket is not classed as a criminal charge under US law. The majority of minor traffic violations are treated as civil citations. They are not considered to be either felonies or misdemeanors under US law and will therefore not leave you with a criminal record.
As a result, if you are subjected to a background check that looks solely at your criminal record, you have nothing to worry about. Your speeding ticket will not appear.
Does a speeding ticket appear on your driving record?
While there will be no record of a speeding ticket on your criminal record, this is not the only record held against your name. Your driving record contains all the details of your driving history including all major and minor traffic offenses you commit.
Your driving record will contain details of your speeding ticket, including the nature of the offense, where and when it was recorded, and what penalties you were given.
This will include the amount you were fined and how many points were added to your driving license.
In most states, your driving record is maintained by the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Laws vary from state to state, but most operate a points system. This means if you get too many points from speeding tickets you could find your driving license suspended or even revoked.
Does a speeding ticket show up on a background check?
Most employment background checks will look into various different public records to provide employers with a detailed insight into your past. Your driving record is publicly available and the majority of background checks are likely to look at this alongside other records.
If you are applying for a job that involves driving or operating heavy machinery, you can be sure that your driving record will be one of the records that your employer is keen to scrutinize.
If an employment background check does look at your driving record, then your speeding ticket is likely to show up on that check and your prospective employer will know about it. Whether they decide not to offer you a job on the basis of the ticket will depend on the nature of the role and what their internal policies are.
Best background checking site for speeding tickets
If you choose to look at your driving record through a public background checking site, the biggest dilemma you will face is which background checking site to use.
There are hundreds out there and they all claim to be the best in the business. The truth is that some are significantly better than others. So, which should you choose?
Our researchers have spent the last few months testing all the top background checking sites to see which is best at accessing driving records and other information. As a result of these tests, they have identified the two sites that performed head and shoulders above the rest.
As a result, we can confidently recommend the following two background checking sites:
Instant CheckMate is the fastest background checking site we tested. If you need to get accurate details from your driving record, they are another great choice. In our tests, Instant Checkmate generated detailed and accurate driving record data in moments. Impressively this speed didn’t mean compromising on quality either with results being on a par with other top sites.
Instant CheckMate also offers nice mobile apps for iOS and Android devices and a user-friendly desktop dashboard that allows you to manage multiple searches at the same time. Information is compiled into a finalreport that simple to follow despite the speed it is generated in.
At $34.78 per month or $27.82 per month for a three-month subscription, Instant CheckMate is not the cheapest option. But if you need details of your driver records fast, it is well worth the money.
TruthFinder’s big USP is accuracy. In our tests, it produced unerringly accurate driving record data and other information every time. Even when you input misleading or wrong information, its algorithms are somehow able to figure out what you mean and access the right data.
Truthfinder does not offer the most consistent speeds but while searches can take longer, you can be confident you won’t need to rerun them. The final reports generated by TruthFinder are well-designed and the desktop dashboard and mobile apps are brilliant and make managing your searches a delight. Customer support is also superb with 24/7 service on offer via a toll-free number.
Prices for Truthfinder are reasonable and one thing our researchers really appreciated was the sense that the customer is always their top priority. Not every site feels that way and it really helped TruthFinder stand out as another first-rate site.
How can you know if your employer is checking your driving record?
Professional background checks are governed by a number of regulations. The main law that oversees them is the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
The FCRA stipulates that if an employer is going to run a background check as part of their employment process, they have to inform you in advance and receive written consent from you to do so.
This consent should be requested in a clear and separate document, not as part of a catch-all application form. It should also specify what information they are going to look at. This means that if your prospective employer is going to look at your driving record, you should be notified about this in advance.
You, therefore, have the option to refuse them permission to run a background if you are worried about what they will find. But the chances are they will just dismiss your application if you do that.
A better option is to be in control of the situation. That means you need to know in advance what information will show up on your background check and be in a position to explain the situation to your prospective employer in advance.
How can I check to see if my speeding ticket shows up on a background check?
If you want to know if your speeding ticket shows up on your driving record, you will need to take a look at that record yourself.
There are three ways you can do this:
Request a copy of your own driver record from the DMV
As your driver record is held by your state DMV, this is the obvious first place to look for it. Some DMV’s allow you to check your driving record online. This is a quick and simple way to check but be aware that this is an unofficial copy and may not contain details of more recent offenses if they haven’t been uploaded yet.
If you request an official copy from your DMV with all the latest details included, you will have to make a formal request. Most DMVs will charge you a small fee for this. This will usually be no more than $10 but exact prices can vary from state to state.
Processing requests for official copies of driving records is generally not a quick one. It can take several weeks or longer. So, if you need a copy urgently, you might be better exploring other options.
Request a copy of your driver record from your insurance agent
When your car insurance company reassesses your insurance rates, it will usually request a copy of your driving record. Some insurance companies (but not all) are willing to provide you with a free copy of the information they receive. A few will even do so free of charge.
You have nothing to lose by asking as they can only say no. But a downside to this method is that your insurance rates will still be processed using the original report. This means if you spot any errors, you will struggle to persuade your insurance agent of the fact quickly enough.
This is likely to mean you will end up with higher insurance rates but you will still get an official copy of your driver record. If you prioritize your job application over your insurance rates, this might seem like a good bet.
Run a background check on yourself
The third option is to do exactly what your prospective employer is going to do and run a background check on yourself.
Companies will be using a professional background checking provider that is fully compliant with FCRA rules and regulations. But there are also plenty of public background checking sites available too and these will be able to access all the same driving record information.
If you run a background check on yourself, you can expect to get up-to-date details from your driving record including the latest offenses.
If you choose the right background checking site, you should be able to access this information in no more than a few minutes too. It is probably the fastest and most reliable way to see a copy of your driving record.
What to do if your background check does show a speeding ticket
If you have run a background check and found that it does indeed show up a speeding ticket, you have a couple of options.
If you think the speeding ticket is on there in error, you can request that this error is fixed and your driving record ins amended. Be aware that this is not a fast process. But if you make the application and then inform your prospective employers of the error upfront, they might accept your claim.
If the ticket is genuine, there isn’t much you can do to stop a prospective boss from finding out about it. But what you can do is control the narrative and this can really work to your advantage.
Instead of letting them find out about your ticket first when the results of your background check arrive, be upfront about the ticket and give them your side of the story.
There are lots of reasons why people get tickets and often the circumstances are perfectly innocuous. If the speed limits weren’t clearly sign-posted, or your wife was in labor and you were rushing her to hospital, tell them that. It is much better to hear your side of the story than just see a ticket on a report and make their own assumptions.
The short answer to the question in the title of this article is, yes, a speeding ticket will show up on a background check. But only if that check looks at your driving record. A speeding ticket is not a criminal offense and will not show up on a check that just looks at your criminal record.
In this guide, we have explained how you can check your own driving record to see if a speeding tickets shows up and recommended the best background checking sites to use for this. We have also given you some tips on what to do if a speeding ticket does appear on your check and you are still worried about it.
Have you ever missed out on a job because a background check returned details of a speeding ticket? Was it genuine or a mistake? What did you do about it? Do you have any tips for our readers we have missed out in this guide? It is always helpful to hear the thoughts and advice of our readers, so why not share them with us today using the comment box below?