Do Traffic Violations Show Up on Criminal Background Check? (Tickets)

Background check repair icon.Written by Background Check Repair

Background Checks | May 3, 2022

Many people wonder do traffic violations show up on criminal background check results? The answer depends on a number of factors that are determined at the state level.

If a person has racked up multiple speeding tickets or traffic violations and is concerned that the tickets will show up on a background check, the most important thing to understand is the difference between criminal and civil convictions. And, to know how to run a criminal background check, that way users can search their own records for any citations and charges.

This one distinction (the difference between civil citations and pending criminal charges) impacts what the background check will show, and whether or not it can impact future employment possibilities.

Will My Speeding Ticket Show Up on a Background Check?

Do traffic violations show up on criminal background check reports? In short, the answer is yes — and no. With speeding tickets, the answer depends on how fast and how dangerous the incident, and how the police report is written.

Most traffic violations are not criminal citations, meaning they will likely not appear on a search. However, criminal citations are likely to show up on a background check showing arrests (which is all background checks).

Traffic violations either show up as a criminal citation or civil conviction.1

Image showing a gentleman in a silver car being issued a traffic violation by a police officer and wondering do traffic violations show up on background checks.

When someone is applying for an open job position, it can help to know exactly what will appear on criminal history reports.

After all, speeding tickets can happen to anyone. With red-light cameras and hidden speed cameras positioned in nearby neighborhoods, small streets, and highways, more and more people get speeding tickets online or through the mail. Sometimes, people may even get tickets without knowing they did, leading to multiple tickets in a very short period.

So, understanding the difference between criminal traffic violations (even arrests without convictions) and regular traffic violations is key to seeing what will show up on a check.

Criminal Citations Will Appear on Background Checks

A criminal traffic citation will show up on a background check as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the severity of the violation and the recurring nature (like if a warrant is issued).

Some violations while driving a vehicle include repeating offenses, driving under the influence, driving without a license, leaving an accident, reckless or dangerous driving, or vehicular homicide or manslaughter.

Since criminal citations and driving records can appear to a potential employer (such as a pending court case), it’s crucial to know what is on the record, how to defend it, and how to explain the situation to a possible future boss.

Employers can find these offenses by doing a driving record screening (MVR report). This record shows the traffic citations, dates of the citations, and the outcomes (verdict, fines paid, jail time, etc.), which can impact driving-centric jobs.

 

Traffic Violations Will Probably Not Appear

The good news is, traffic violations are less likely to show up on a background check than serious offenses. There are three reasons that violations will be less likely to show up on a background check than you would find with misdemeanors or felonies:

  • Reporting time frame — The first reason why a violation may not show up as often as a misdemeanor or felony is due to the reporting limits. Some states have restrictions regarding how long a violation can appear on a person’s background check, such as Hawaii.
  • Type of check — A violation may not show up on a background check due to the type of background check conducted by an employer (it may be less comprehensive).
  • Expunged record — Violations may not show on a person’s background check if their records have been dropped, expunged or sealed by the court.

Most traffic violations are considered a very minor “crime.” Since this crime does not involve endangering anyone else and was not committed with the intent of hurting someone else, it is less likely to appear on a criminal record.

What’s a Criminal Traffic Violation?

Understanding the differences between a civil and criminal traffic violation is essential to seeing what may appear on a background check.

Criminal Traffic Violation

A criminal traffic violation is a more serious offense than a common traffic violation. If a person is charged with a speeding ticket or offense for a civil infraction, this is less severe than criminal traffic citations. 2

Some of the most common criminal traffic citations include driving under the influence, reckless driving, and vehicular manslaughter. In any of these instances, it is considered a criminal traffic violation and although some can result in probation, others can be classified as felonies and involve an immediate arrest and jail time.

The way in which these offenses are charged and recorded on a criminal history will depend on numerous reasons. Since an employer can run a driving history background check, this will include everything from minor offenses to serious crimes. However, in all cases, a criminal traffic violation will appear on the background check.

A criminal violation on a permanent record will depend on the severity of the offense and the number of occurrences. If a driver is a repeat offender, there is a higher likelihood of their criminal traffic violation appearing on a background check. 3

Civil Traffic Violation

A civil traffic violation is a driving infraction that includes both moving and non-moving violations that do not abide by the driving laws.4 Although these offenses do not endanger anyone in any way or have malicious intent, they can still cause unsafe driving scenarios.

Some examples of civil traffic violations include failing to slow down and yield at a yield sign, not stopping at a stop sign, not wearing a seat belt, parking in a Handicapped spot, running a red light, and many others. 5

Do Traffic Violations Show Up On A Criminal Background Check in My State?

The following table provides links to every state’s traffic laws to ensure individuals obey the speed limit, drive on the right side of the road, and avoid traffic citations. 6

 

Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background CheckDriver’s License Handbook
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check AlabamaAlabama Driver’s License Manual
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check AlaskaAlaska Driver Manual
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check ArizonaArizona Driver License Manual
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check ArkansasArkansas Vehicle Driver Manuals
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check CaliforniaCalifornia Driver’s Manual
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check ColoradoColorado Driver Handbooks
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check ConnecticutConnecticut Driver’s Manual
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check DelawareDelaware Driver Manual
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check FloridaFlorida Driver’s Handbook
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check GeorgiaGeorgia Driver’s Manual
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check HawaiiHawaii Driver’s Manual
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check IdahoIdaho Driver Manuals
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check IllinoisIllinois Rules of the Road 2022
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check IndianaIndiana Driver Manual
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check IowaIowa Driver’s Manual
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check KansasDriver’s License Handbook
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check KentuckyKentucky Driver’s Manual
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check LouisianaLouisiana Driver’s Guide
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check MaineMaine Driver’s License Handbook
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check MarylandMaryland Driver’s Handbook
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check MichiganWhat Every Driver Must Know 
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check MinnesotaMinnesota Driver’s Manual
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check MississippiMississippi Drivers Manuals 
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check MissouriMissouri Driver Guide
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check MontanaMontana Driver License Manual
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check NebraskaNebraska Driver’s Manual
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check NevadaNevada Driver Manual
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check New HampshireNew Hampshire Driver’s Manual
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check New JerseyNJ MVC Manual
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check New MexicoNew Mexico Driver License Manual
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check New YorkNY State Driver’s Manual
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check North CarolinaNorth Carolina Driver’s Handbook
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check North DakotaDrivers Manuals
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check OhioDigest of Ohio Motor Vehicle Laws
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check OklahomaOklahoma Driver Manuals
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check OregonOregon Driver Manual
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Driver’s Manuals
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check Rhode IslandRhode Island Driver Manuals
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check South CarolinaAAMVA Model Driver’s License Manual
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check South DakotaSouth Dakota Driver Manuals
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check TennesseeTennessee Driver’s Manual
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check TexasTexas Drivers Handbook
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check UtahUtah Driver Handbook
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check VermontVermont Driver License Manuals
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check VirginiaVirginia Driver’s Manual
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check WashingtonWashington Drivers Guides
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check West VirginiaWest Virginia Driver’s Handbook
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check WisconsinWisconsin Motorist Handbooks
Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check WyomingWyoming Driver’s License Manuals

Do Traffic Tickets Count as Criminal Convictions?

Screenshot of Virginia DMV with yellow arrows pointing to the Virginia Drivers manual which can be used to determine do traffic violations show up on background checks and do parking tickets go on your record.

Different instances on the road will count for either a criminal traffic violation or a civil conviction.

A criminal traffic violation involves police charging an individual with a crime, whereas a civil traffic ticket is typically a monetary fine.7 

The following table provides an overview of the most common traffic violations and whether they will show up on a background check.

Traffic ViolationCriminal ConvictionCivil ConvictionWill It Show Up on a Background Check?
Drinking & Driving ViolationsYesNoYes
Driving On The Right SideNoNoNo
Driving Without a License/Suspended License 8Yes – Depends on the state and circumstancesYesYes
Driving Without Insurance / Insufficient InsuranceYes – varies based on state lawsYesYes
Driving Without Registration / Expired RegistrationNoYesNo
Illegal U-TurnNoYesNo
Running a Red Light/Stop SignNo – only if the driver hits someone or another vehicle maliciouslyYesNo
Leaving the Scene of an Accident / Hit & RunYesNoYes
Mechanical Violations (broken lights)NoYesNo
Move Over LawYesNoYes
Reckless DrivingYesNoYes
Seat Belt / Child Restraint ViolationsNoYesNo
SpeedingNoYesNo
Speeding 15+ MPH over Limit 9YesNoNo
Unlawful Vehicle ModificationsDepends on the stateNoNo
Illegal ParkingNo (except for disabled drivers)YesNo
Street RacingNo – except if injury occursYesYes
Vehicular HomicideYesNoYes

Understanding the answer to  “do traffic violations show up on background check results,” can help job seekers know how to address any instances that may cause a failed background check after a job offer.

Frequently Asked Questions about Do Traffic Violations Show Up on Criminal Background Check

Do Pending Traffic Tickets Show Up On Background Checks?

Pending traffic tickets will show on a person’s driving record. If the charge is a criminal offense, such as driving with a revoked license or malicious driving, this can show on a person’s criminal history during a criminal background check.

Do Traffic Violations Show Up On Background Checks?

If the traffic violation was a civil conviction, such as running a red light by ancient or illegally parking, this will not show up on a criminal background check. However, if an employer runs a specific driver background check, traffic violations will appear.

Do Traffic Tickets Count As Criminal Convictions?

In simple terms, no — a traffic ticket is not directly conducive to a criminal conviction. A traffic ticket can be a harmful offense, whereas a criminal conviction shows malicious intent.10

Do Traffic Violations Go On Criminal Record?

A traffic violation will only go on a person’s permanent criminal record if the conviction was criminal. For example, if a person was charged with reckless driving, driving without a license, or leaving the scene after an accident, this classifies as criminal activity.

Criminal traffic violations (since they are felony and misdemeanor convictions), pending cases, and history of imprisonment are commonly shown on a background check.

Do Traffic Warnings Show Up On Background Checks?

Traffic warnings do not show on a background check. Warnings are typically reported to the local law enforcement agency to keep track of a person’s record and patterns without actually inputting any of this offense into the driving record history.

Do Parking Tickets Go On Your Record?

Parking tickets do not go on a person’s driving record since they do not indicate any malicious intent as a driver, willful ignorance, or safe driving concerns.

Do Civil Violations Show Up On Background Checks?

Civil violations while driving do not show on background checks, but they will show up on a driver’s background check conducted by an employer.

Do You Have To Report Speeding Tickets On Job Applications?

Individuals do not have to tell a potential future employer about any speeding tickets or citations from a fee-based offense, such as illegal parking, overstaying parking, and red light cameras.

What Is Considered A Bad Driving Record For Employment?

Individuals who have multiple criminal convictions when it comes to driving will more likely have a harder time getting a job that involves transportation when compared to those who have a clean driving record. A bad driving record typically includes moving violations, multiple accidents, or severe charges (i.e., reckless driving, driving while under the influence, manslaughter).

Do Traffic Tickets Show Up On FBI Background Checks?

Traffic tickets will not show on an FBI background check, but any instance of criminal offenses while driving will show on the FBI background check. A simple infraction, such as speeding or running a stop sign, will not show on a background check if the criminal check solely focuses on criminal activity.

Will A Traffic Misdemeanor Affect Employment?

Traffic violations and misdemeanors will only deter an employer from hiring you in certain job positions, such as truck drivers, transportation workers, and others operating in the automotive industry.

Will Driving Without A License Show On Background Check?

Since driving without a license is a felony, this will show on a background check. And especially if the person is applying for a DOT position.


References

1Do Employee Background Checks Include Traffic Violations? Apply. Retrieved from <https://applya.com/employment-screening/do-employee-background-checks-include-traffic-violations/>

2Giallanza, M. (2021). How do Violations Show up on a Criminal Background Check? MetroData. Retrieved from <https://www.metro-check.com/2021/08/24/how-do-violations-show-up-on-a-criminal-background-check/>

3Klazema, M. (2018) Do Traffic Tickets Show on Criminal Background Checks? Background Checks. Retrieved from <https://www.backgroundchecks.com/blog/do-traffic-tickets-show-on-criminal-background-checks>

4The Difference Between a Civil Traffic Infraction and a Criminal Traffic Offense. (2013). The Law Office of Timothy Hessinger. Retrieved from <http://www.tampaflcriminaldefenselawyers.com/Blog/2013/May/The-Difference-Between-a-Civil-Traffic-Infractio.>

5Civil Traffic Ticket vs. Criminal Traffic Ticket. (2012). The Wiseman Law Firm. Retrieved from <https://www.wisemantriallaw.com/blog/2012/august/the-difference-between-a-civil-traffic-ticket-ci/>

6State Traffic Laws. FindLaw. Retrieved from <https://www.findlaw.com/traffic/traffic-tickets/state-traffic-laws.html>

7Was Your Ticket a Civil Traffic Ticket or a Traffic Offense or Both? Content Law. Retrieved from <https://www.contant-law.com/criminal-defense/civil-traffic-ticket-violations/>

8Vallet, M. (2021). Driving Without a License: Penalties by State. Retrieved from <https://www.carinsurance.com/Articles/driving-without-license-penalties-by-state.aspx>

9Klazema, M. (2021). Will My Speeding Ticket Show Up on a Background Check? Background Checks. Retrieved from <https://www.backgroundchecks.com/blog/will-my-speeding-ticket-show-up-on-a-background-check#>

10Is a Traffic Ticket a Criminal Offense? (2021). Foley Griffin Attorneys at Law. Retrieved from <https://www.foleygriffin.com/blog/2021/april/is-a-traffic-ticket-a-criminal-offense-/>