If someone receives a ticket for breaking the speed limit, they may worry about future impacts. Could tickets have an impact on an individual’s job prospects? Sometimes, a job application will ask if you have any criminal convictions. Applicants might wonder if a ticket counts. If they answer “no,” will that speeding ticket be on a background check?

Nervous job-seekers can breathe a sigh of relief. In most cases, traffic offenses aren’t criminal in nature. Instead, they often fall into the category of “civil citation.” Most such tickets do not even require a court appearance. These tickets don’t constitute criminal offenses in the same way that a misdemeanor or felony does. However, some traffic violations can be felonies or misdemeanors. Additionally, there may be some records that report speeding tickets.

Let’s take a closer look at how tickets can and can’t affect pre-employment background check results.

Will a Speeding Ticket Show Up on a Background Check?

In employment contexts, a “background check” usually reports to a criminal history report. Many employers use these checks as a key part of the hiring process. The goal is to identify potentially risky hires to avoid situations that could harm the public or the business. So, do speeding tickets appear on most employers’ background checks?

The answer is no. The average speeding ticket will not appear on criminal history reports. A ticket issued for going five miles over the speed limit is a minor issue to the courts. You may need to pay a fine. The state may also apply punitive “points” to a license for speeding. After that, the state concludes the matter. Multiple tickets and too many points could lead to the suspension or loss of a license.

However, there can be times when the law looks at speeding more severely.

How the Law Handles Serious Speeding and Other Violations

Remember that most basic traffic citations aren’t criminal charges, but civil infractions. Infractions aren’t misdemeanors or felonies. That difference is why infractions don’t appear as part of an individual’s criminal record. Not all speeding or traffic violations are the same, though.

In some states, speeding at a certain level can become a misdemeanor crime under traffic laws. For example, someone going 100 miles per hour in a 45-mile-per-hour zone seriously endangers the public. The state may charge the driver with a crime related to speeding or the charge of “reckless driving.” Some reckless driving charges only carry fines with the remote possibility of jail time. These charges may require a court appearance.

Do traffic ticket misdemeanors show up on a criminal history search? Yes. If the individual pleads guilty, the misdemeanor conviction will appear. Such charges could accompany other moving violations. If the individual was driving under the influence, they may face DUI charges, too. Again, if convicted, all these would appear on a background check.

Does a Speeding Ticket Appear on Your Driving Record?

Criminal background checks aren’t the only tool employers use to screen applicants. Businesses also consider factors such as employment history and education. Some jobs may require special licenses or certifications. In the transportation industry, employers must also conduct a driving record check. In most cases, this is a mandatory requirement set by the Department of Transportation.

Traffic violations do appear on your driving record. This history is also called MVR, or motor vehicle record. Even a civil infraction, such as a speeding ticket, will appear on your MVR. How long the infraction remains on your record varies by state. In some states, a speeding ticket may only stay on your report for five years. In other states, it may remain for up to ten years.

Not all employers use driving history checks as part of their background check process. Businesses usually only consult MVRs when the DOT requires them to do so. If you will operate a company car, you may also have your MVR consulted. However, the MVR is not likely to be relevant for someone working a desk job with computers.

Do Traffic Violations Stop You from Getting Jobs?

When considering the impact of tickets on your job prospects, remember the different categories. A non-criminal traffic ticket is unlikely to hinder a regular job. Even a more serious charge may not be a barrier if the job does not involve driving. For example, A retailer may still hire someone with a DUI to be a cashier.

The considerations change when the job involves driving. Bus, truck, and many other drivers must do their jobs with safety in mind. Transportation employers will consider all the facts about someone’s history on the road. One minor ticket from years ago may not be an issue. A pattern of violations, though, could be a red flag. One or more serious convictions for traffic crimes could also curtail job opportunities.

Businesses that make risky hires could face claims of negligent hiring in the future. Employers who examine someone’s MVR must know they can trust the driver. If that driver causes an accident later, the business must show it did its due diligence. Otherwise, it could be liable. Speeding tickets might stop you from getting such a job if you have more than one on your record.

Know What to Expect When Applying for a Job

Are you concerned that an employer may see a speeding ticket in your background check? At backgroundchecks.com, we simplify understanding what’s in your history. Order your own MVR today to see everything it contains. You can also order your own criminal background check for more information. Get started today and better prepare for your next round of applications and interviews.


Do background checks contain civil citations?

Most driving infractions are only civil citations. Such infractions include speeding, failure to signal, or running a stop sign. These infractions don’t appear on criminal background checks. Driving history checks will reveal these infractions.

Does driving without a license appear on a background check?

“Driving without a license” is a crime in every state. Some states charge this as a misdemeanor, while others will make it a felony charge. Someone with a suspended license charged with this crime is more likely to face a felony. A conviction results in a permanent criminal record.

Does your driving record reveal speeding tickets?

Yes, a speeding ticket becomes a part of your motor vehicle record. Most states limit how far back they report certain driving records. These periods may span five, seven, or even ten years. If you have a speeding ticket that is more recent than that, employers who look at your MVR will see it.

Will a pending ticket show up on a background check?

The citation a driver receives at the roadside does not immediately represent a conviction. Drivers always have a chance to contest traffic tickets they receive. Therefore, some tickets may count as “pending.” Usually, drivers have a set period to pay the fine or visit court. Paying the fine counts as admitting guilt, which finalizes the ticket and its place in your record.


Pending tickets aren’t evidence of guilt. Even if you receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution, you do not yet have a conviction. However, these issues may still appear on your driving record until you clear them. Likewise, a pending traffic misdemeanor will be on your criminal history report. Whether employers can consider such pending charges is a different matter, as they do not evidence guilt. If you successfully contest the ticket or criminal charge, your record will not contain its information.

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Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

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

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