Do Traffic Tickets Show on Criminal Background Checks?

When filling out a job application, you may be asked to disclose prior criminal history. If you end up getting hired for the job, you will also almost surely have to go through a criminal background check before you start work. If you have a series of speeding tickets or other traffic violations, do you need to disclose them as criminal history or be worried about them coming up on your criminal background check?

In most cases, the answer is no. Most traffic violations are not considered criminal citations. Instead, driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit or running a stop sign, for example, would be classified as a “civil citation.” Civil citations are not a part of your criminal record. You do not need to go to court for them—unless you plan on contesting the violation—and will not be “found guilty” or convicted of a crime.

Civil citations exist as a violation below a  misdemeanor . Yes, technically you broke the law. However, since your “crime” was 1) very minor, 2) something that a lot of other drivers do, and 3) likely committed without any sort of malicious intent, your speeding ticket or moving violation typically has no bearing on your criminal record.

For the most part, driving infractions will only show up if someone runs a driving history background check on you. Some employers will take this step if they are filling jobs that involve driving. If you are applying for a delivery driver job, it makes sense for an employer to check your driving record. If you are applying for an office job, your driving isn’t strictly relevant and likely will not be a matter of interest to the employer. However, accumulating infractions on your driving record can have consequences that go beyond employment, including hikes on your insurance rates and changes in your license status.

With all these points made, there are types of traffic violations that can rise above civil citation and be classified as  misdemeanors  or felonies. These violations include convictions related to driving under the influence of alcohol or substances (DUI/DWI/OWI) as well as  offenses  involving reckless driving, hit and run, or drag racing. How these  offenses  are charged will vary depending on numerous factors, including the severity of the  offense  and whether the driver is a previous offender. However, if your record includes one of these  offenses , then you may have a criminal record as a result.

How can you be sure whether your past driving infractions appear on your criminal record or are limited to civil citations? At, we offer self-screen tools our customers can use to check their own criminal records and driving history records. Give these tools a try today to find out whether an employer will see your driving infraction on a criminal background check.

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Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

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