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Do Traffic Tickets Show up on Criminal Background Checks?

A traffic violation may seem like a minor issue. However, if not taken care of promptly, it may have an effect on whether you get your dream job or not. While a traffic ticket is not considered to be a criminal citation, failing to pay for a range of tickets and not showing up in court can turn into something much bigger. In order to be confident that you have no misdemeanour charges under your belt, we recommend you use our recommended background check provider below to look into your traffic warrants.

Don’t worry – if you just got your first speeding ticket and haven’t gotten around to paying the fine, you’re likely still in the clear. The catch is not to let this violation turn into your permanent record. Not sure if your permanent record is clean? We’re here to help you out, just read on!

Run a background check on yourself to uncover any warrants

If you’ve got a big interview coming up, make sure you’re 100% sure that your record is as clean as you think it is. The worst thing that can happen is getting caught off guard by a long-standing warrant that grew from an unpaid traffic ticket, as discovered by your interviewer during the interview. To avoid this situation, we recommend that you run your own background check first. This way, you can not only arrive to the interview ready with an explanation, but you can also get the ball rolling on paying these outstanding fines and perhaps clearing your record.

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However, there are many background checking services on the market, each claiming to be the best. If you find the whole prospect daunting, allow us to make a recommendation for the service out there: TruthFinder.

How tickets become warrants

Generally speaking, when you get a traffic ticket, you have two options. The first is to simply pony up the fee, and move on with your life, careful to avoid similar citations in the near future. The second option is to appear in court to contest the veracity or extent of your ticket by pleading “not guilty”. This often leads to a significant reduction in fines, or having it thrown out altogether. It can be difficult to take the time away from work, school or family, but the reward can definitely justify the effort.

Unfortunately, many speeding tickets go unnoticed. Whether it’s the paper citation slipping out from underneath your windshield wiper, or an automatic speed trap hit you with a speeding ticket that you completely missed in the mail, these things can happen. Of course, some people simply decide to pretend the problem will just go away, and ignore the ticket altogether. In either case, the judge of the traffic court will respond the same: by issuing what’s known as a bench warrant for your arrest. As this is a court-issued warrant, it is highly likely to show up on most dedicated background checks.

While the F.B.I. is unlikely to dispatch tactical choppers to apprehend you following a bench warrant (after all, a bench warrant is NOT the same thing as a criminal warrant), you are still at risk. You can, and probably will, be arrested at the next routine traffic stop you encounter, or the next time an office pulls you over for any reason. Bench warrants don’t expire, so you won’t win by “waiting it out”.

What to do if you have a bench warrant

If you suspect you have a bench warrant, it is imperative that you seek clarity on the matter ASAP. Hiring a legal consultant is a smart first move, though it can be beneficial to run a background check on yourself beforehand, as well. Your attorney will help you get in touch with the right jurisdiction, locate the warrant, and schedule an appearance in court. This may sound like a long and involved process, but it beats the alternative. Besides, you may also be able to strike the warrant from your record as part of a plea deal.

It all depends on the background check

Regardless of the record you have accumulated with traffic tickets, it all comes down to the type of check the employer wants to run on you. Background checks have become a routine part of any hiring process, and with 53% of resumes containing inaccurate information, you can see why.

There is one statistic that is particularly surprising. Out of all employers who do background checks on their prospective employees, 82% report to analyze criminal history. With minor traffic tickets, this shouldn’t be an issue since only serious outstanding cases appear in this sort of background check. However, if an employer decides to carry out a driving record check because it is relevant to the role in question, traffic and parking tickets may become a concern.

Another thing to consider is the nature of the ticket. First-timers are rarely penalised for this sort of offense. If you received a ticket for the first time for driving a few miles over the speed limit, you have nothing to worry about. However, if you have accumulated several speeding tickets in half a year for driving 40 miles over the limit, it is viewed as a more serious offense, such as reckless driving. These show up as misdemeanour convictions, which can cause you trouble when an employer is looking into your criminal history. You can check all this detailed, sensitive information prior to applying to a job by running an advanced background check. It will help avoid any unpleasant surprises.

In parting

Depending on how the employer runs a background check, the impact traffic tickets will have on your application vary. If you have a single parking ticket and your employer is only looking into your criminal history, you have nothing to concern yourself with. However, if you have accumulated several traffic tickets in a short period of time or you’ve got a bench warrant out for your arrest for failure to show in court, it could definitely affect the employer’s final decision.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you keep track of your tickets and consult a legal representative prior to applying for jobs. If you’re not sure where you stand, a great first step towards getting on the right path is to run a background check on yourself.

Have you ever been served a bench warrant? What was the outcome? Let us know your story below.

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