A DUI conviction does appear on criminal background checks in most cases. Related charges, such as impaired driving or refusing a breath test, can also show up. However, DUI arrests will not always show up.
The way that criminal background checks get used and whether your criminal history can be held against you depends on several factors. It is also possible to have DUI charges removed from your record.
Who Uses Criminal Background Checks?
Criminal background checks may be used in four primary instances, including:
- A possible future employer, when deciding whether or not to hire you
- A current employer reviewing the records of its employees
- Professional associations, when determining whether to license you in a particular skill or trade
- Colleges and universities who are considering whether to accept you as a student
A DUI conviction can count against you in all of these circumstances. It is legal for an employer, or any of these other entities, to consider your DUI when deciding whether to hire, license, or accept you. If they turn you away because of your criminal history, it is not discrimination. It is standard procedure.
Are You Forced to Disclose?
Sometimes, employers will ask you about your criminal history. Nearly every job application has a section for this. However, they won’t always follow that up with running an actual criminal background check. So, do you have to disclose your DUI when applying?
Essentially, the answer is yes. It may not be illegal to lie on an application, but it’s a bad idea. Even if the company does not run a formal background check, they may Google your name and find out about your DUI. Alternatively, they may end up asking for a background check after all. When they find out you lied, your chances of being hired are virtually zero.
Instead, there are ways to discuss your DUI that may make it a non-issue. Even better, you may be able to get it expunged, essentially taking off your criminal history altogether.
Is a DUI on My Criminal Background Check Detrimental?
Yes, having a DUI appear on a criminal background check is extremely detrimental in almost all cases. Unfortunately, many people underestimate just how bad it is to have something like a DUI conviction, whether it is a felony or not, on their record.
A DUI conviction can prevent you from gaining employment, receiving a loan, serving in the military, and obtaining higher education. On top of the financial and legal penalties you go through, it can make navigating through life extremely difficult.
How Can I Ensure My Record Is Clean?
If you want to double-check if your record is clean of any DUI, you will need to contact the California DMV. They can inform you whether or not your driving record is clean. If a DUI is present on your record, the chances of it showing up on a criminal background check is almost always inevitable.
The best way to retain a clean record after getting arrested for a DUI is not getting convicted in the first place. To do that, you will need an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney to help you. Do not try to fight your charges alone. It is always in your best interest to get legal representation as soon as possible.
Possible DUI Defenses
Defending yourself against drunk driving allegations you are facing is crucial if you hope to avoid having a DUI on your record. This is the best way to ensure your driving and background records are clean.
Your DUI attorney in Los Angeles will carefully examine the circumstances of your case to determine which defenses are likely to result in an acquittal, charge reduction, or other favorable outcome. Some of the most commonly used defenses in DUI cases include:
- Law enforcement officials conducting unlawful searches or seizures
- Violations of the defendant’s Miranda rights or other constitutional rights
- Issues with laboratory testing or breathalyzer calibration
- A police officer or prosecutorial misconduct
- Taking specific medications or having certain types of health conditions
- Mistake of fact or wrongful identification
These are just a few defenses that could be used to defend yourself when you are accused of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Your attorney might also suggest working out a plea agreement or entering a pretrial diversion program.
If you enter a pretrial diversion program, the charges against you could be reduced to a less serious offense or ultimately dismissed once you fulfill the terms of your program. You can learn more about how pretrial diversions work and whether you meet the eligibility requirements when you discuss the specific details of your case with your private Los Angeles DUI lawyer.
Getting a DUI Expunged from Your Record
Expunging a DUI means it is “sealed” so that, for most purposes, it is invisible to the public. This does not quite make it as if you never got a DUI at all, but for the purposes of background checks, it comes close.
If your DUI gets expunged, it will not show up on most criminal background checks. Even if an employer does find out about your DUI, they can no longer hold it against you. Unlike a regular criminal conviction, an expunged conviction cannot be considered for employment, professional licensing, or college admissions. Doing so would now count as discrimination.
That does not mean your DUI is invisible, but it does become a non-issue. For example:
- Your arrest may still show up in some records. However, federal law prohibits the reporting of arrests after seven years, so it will fall off the report eventually. It’s illegal for employers to consider arrests that didn’t result in convictions.
- Sometimes a criminal check will show a conviction but will note that it got expunged. It’s illegal for employers to discriminate based on an expunged conviction.
- Employers cannot even ask you about expunged convictions or arrests that didn’t lead to convictions.
The expunging process is best done with a DUI lawyer to help you. They will make sure you are eligible to go into the process with a high chance of success. They will also prepare your expunge request so that it is less likely to be challenged and, if it does get challenged, they will fight it out with the prosecution for you.
The Limits of Expunging
As noted above, expunging your DUI does not completely remove it from criminal background checks. There are some additional limits to the power of expunging a DUI in California:
- It will not help you reinstate a suspended driver’s license under California Penal Code (CPC) §1203.4.
- It will not restore your right to own a gun if it was stripped as part of a felony proceeding.
- It does not remove the “points” that a DUI puts on your license.
The DUI will still count against you as a past offense if you get another DUI within ten years. Even with these limits, expunging your DUI is a powerful step. It can put you back on a level playing field with other candidates when applying for jobs and get your career and life back on track.
Eligibility for Expunging a DUI from Your Record
If you want to expunge a DUI from your record, you will need to fit these eligibility requirements:
- The successful completion of probation for your DUI offense.
- You did not serve time in state prison, OR you served time in state prison but would have served it in jail following Proposition 47.
Virtually all DUI convictions will meet these requirements. However, if your case does not, it does not mean there is no hope. You should get in touch with one of our attorneys today to discuss all of the legal options available for your specific case.
Talk to a Los Angeles DUI Attorney Today
Our Los Angeles DUI attorneys can help you fight against your DUI charges. Do not let a DUI conviction show up on a criminal background che