Background Checks and DUI

A DUI will show up on most background checks unless you get it expunged.

The penalties of DUI go far beyond just the official sentence handed down by the judge. A DUI conviction can serve as a black mark on your reputation—in some cases, it could follow you for years. One of the most common questions we hear from DUI defendants is whether their DUI will show up in a background check.

The answer in most cases is “yes.” But there are different kinds of background checks used by different entities. The most common background checks are those used by:

  • Insurance companies
  • Employers
  • The courts

Each one handles DUI a little differently.

DUI Background Checks by Insurance Companies

If you have car insurance, your insurer will periodically check to see if you’ve had any traffic tickets or other driving related crimes. To do this they will pull your driver record. Your driver record is a public document (anyone can request it) and there is no way to stop them from getting it.

If convicted, your DUI remains on your driver record for 10 years from the date of the incident. It can affect insurance rates the entire time. After 10 years it disappears.

DUI Background Checks by Employers

Employers have a right to ask you about any criminal history you may have, and they can base their hiring decisions on the answer. Many companies will use a criminal background check, so lying about your DUI is never advisable. Employers can also run background checks on existing employees, so a lie on a resume can come back and haunt you years later.

Employers look at more than just your driving record. They run a full criminal background check. This will show your DUI conviction no matter how long it’s been. However:

  • A criminal background check may not show an expunged DUI conviction
  • Even if the expunged conviction does show up, employers cannot use an expunged conviction as a factor in deciding not to hire you

This is why it can be so helpful to seek an expunction.

The California Courts and Your Criminal Record

Last, the courts themselves may look at your criminal record. In California, a DUI is a “priorable” offense, meaning that the penalties are worse if you have prior DUIs on your record. Thus, all DUI proceedings include a look back at your previous record to see if this is your first offense.

When the courts look at your record they are drawing directly from court documents. They can see a DUI conviction no matter how long ago it was, even if it was expunged. However, a DUI conviction from more than 10 years ago (prior to the date of your new arrest) will not count as a prior offense.

Have you been charged with DUI? We can connect you with an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer and get you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call (310) 862-0199 and get your free consultation today.

Related Frequently Asked Questions