DUI Convictions and Online Background Checks

DUI Convictions and Online Background Checks

If you have been charged with drunk driving, you should know that it can cause you plenty of problems. Jail time, fines, and community service are just part of a DUI conviction. The other is the difficulty of getting a job with a DUI on your record.

After reading this information, you may want to fight a drunk driving charge rather than take the conviction. 

Does a DUI Show Up on a Background Check? 

A DUI conviction is a criminal offense. Most criminal background checks disclose convictions for drunk driving. Depending on the jurisdiction, the background check may refer to it as a DWI or OUI. If your pre-employment background check includes checking your driving record, your DUI conviction will probably appear there. 

If you have not been convicted, your DUI arrest could show up on your online background check if the case is pending, meaning the court has not issued its verdict. Some background check firms will report a DUI arrest that did not lead to a conviction, as long as the case’s filing date is within the last seven years. 

Some companies will report pending cases but may exclude non-DUI convictions from pre-employment background checks to help companies comply with EEOC guidance. This guidance suggests that arrests that did not lead to a conviction should not be held against a job applicant. 

DUI and Background Check Failure

Will you fail a background check if you have a DUI on your record? A DUI will probably trigger an alert on your background check. But this does not necessarily mean you failed the check. Applicants whose background checks come back free of alerts have “passed” the test, but one alert on your check does not necessarily mean you failed it. 

A background check hit or alert about your DUI conviction just flags the matter as an issue that requires the employer to review it. Whether a DUI conviction is grounds to decline to hire a job candidate depends on several factors. 

DUI and Job Hiring Decisions

Unless you are applying for a job that is legally off-limits to someone with a DUI conviction, there is still a chance you would not get hired in some scenarios: 

  • If the company policy has any rules about hiring people with criminal records for specific jobs. 
  • If the position you seek requires you to drive on the job, operate dangerous equipment, or work with children or those with cognitive issues. 
  • Whether the DUI conviction was a felony or a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor DUI is often the first offense. Felony convictions are usually repeating offenses or a DUI offense with injury or death. 
  • How old the offense is. Some state laws limit reporting DUI convictions to seven or 10 years. A conviction can affect a hiring decision based on a recent case or one from five years ago. 


A DUI conviction on your background check means different things to different employers. Much depends on the nature of the offense, how severe it was, and the legal and regulatory requirements regarding DUIs for certain positions. 

If the DUI conviction does turn out to be grounds for denying your application, the company must notify you and comply with fair hiring laws when explaining their decision. 

If you are concerned that a DUI conviction could damage your ability to get a job, it is wise to consult with a DUI attorney to fight your conviction. A skilled attorney may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to drop the charges. He may also convince the prosecutor that you will enter counseling, do community service, and probation in exchange for dropping the charge. 

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