Will a Pending Ticket Show Up on a Background Check? Only Sometimes

Background check repair icon.Written by Background Check Repair

Background Checks | September 14, 2022

Will a pending ticket show up on a background check a man scratching his chin wonders while looking at a background check on a large computer screen on the left and a police officer on the right holds up a pending traffic ticket to give the man.

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Will a pending ticket show up on a background check? This is a question that many people ask when undergoing checks for employment, and the good news is that it will rarely be something that a potential employer can see.

Luckily, only sometimes will a pending ticket show up on a background check, and most individuals will have nothing to worry about when it comes to how it will affect their chances of getting hired.

And, there’s one very fast and easy way to check if a pending ticket shows up…simply learn how to do a background check on yourself first. They are quick and easy and can search the public records potential employers will see.

This guide outlines when a pending ticket will show up, how anyone can find out if they have a ticket pending, and how to remove pending tickets and other issues on how to fix your background check.

Do Pending Tickets Show Up on Background Checks?

When preparing for a job interview, it is always a good idea to learn what may show up on any potential background checks that may be performed as a condition for employment. Although most people are aware of any criminal offenses that are likely to show up, traffic offenses are another thing to consider for many jobs.

To properly answer the question, will a pending ticket show up on a background check, or do traffic violations show up on criminal background check reports, there are a few different things to consider.

The first is the severity of the offense. Even if it was a traffic offense, if the charges are for a misdemeanor then they will certainly show up on a background check that runs even the most basic of criminal history checks. This is because the average pre-employment background check will perform a criminal history check using court records and even police records. In this case, any misdemeanor or higher crime will be present on the check, even if the charges are still pending.

Related Reading: Do Pending Charges Show Up on a Background Check?

Assuming the traffic violation was only an infraction and not a misdemeanor or higher, then the next thing to consider is the kind of background checks that the business will be performing. Specifically, if a driving record check is likely to be performed. Although it is not always possible to learn the exact kind of checks that are being performed, it is usually fairly simple to figure out if a driving record check will be a part of the background check.

All background checks cost money, the more checks that are performed the more expensive the check becomes. This means that companies will not perform unnecessary checks as it is essentially wasting money. If the job being applied for doesn’t involve any kind of driving while on company time such as driving a company car, operating heavy machinery, etc. Then it is extremely unlikely that the employer will perform a driving record check.

Without a driving record check, the employer will have no way of finding out about any traffic violations that have been committed as this information is generally not a part of the court records that most employers check as part of the criminal history check.

If the job does involve the use of heavy machinery or driving a car, then it is entirely possible that a driving record check will be performed through the DMV. This check will include all driving history information such as speeding tickets, reckless driving tickets, distracted driving tickets, and any pending tickets.

Are Speeding Tickets Public Record?

Speeding tickets are considered public records in the United States. This means that anyone can access this information, providing they contact the proper courthouse to obtain the information using a freedom of information act request or something similar.3 This may sound concerning to someone that’s wondering “will a pending ticket show up on a background check?” However, a typical background check will only uncover this information if a driving record check is specifically requested by the employer.

Screenshot of FOIA website page with a yellow arrow pointing to the Freedom of Information Act Statute.

Most employers outsource their background checks to a third-party company that performs the check on behalf of the employer after receiving the applicants’ information. When these checks are performed, police and criminal records will be used to uncover the individual’s criminal history.

Driving history information is usually held by the DMV, rather than alongside criminal records, so most background check services simply will not uncover this information.

If someone is running a background check for personal reasons, rather than for employment, it is much more likely to find speeding tickets. Most personal background checks search every available database for an individual’s name, which makes the possibility of speeding tickets showing up much more likely.

When Does a Ticket Show Up on Your Record?

A ticket is fairly unlikely to show up on most background checks, but it is possible. If a ticket was issued for a traffic violation, then this means the violation was only an infraction. Since the traffic violation did not delve into the realm of a misdemeanor or a felony, then the ticket should not appear as part of a typical criminal history check. Most criminal history checks only cover misdemeanor charges and above.

However, a ticket will show up in your driving record. Virtually any interaction with law enforcement involving a car will have some kind of record with the DMV. This can include speeding tickets and other moving infractions but will also include non-moving infractions. Things like parking tickets or tickets for expired license plates will appear as part of a motor vehicle check, but in most cases are extremely unlikely to have any real effect on employment or on your driver’s license.

Accidents will also show up as part of a driving record as they are usually required to be reported to the DMV, even if it is a minor accident that does not involve law enforcement.

Related Reading: Do pending court cases show up on a background check?

If applying for a job that requires the use of a car or heavy machinery, it is best to plan on having a driving record check performed. The best way to prepare for this is to request your own MVR from the local DMV or equivalent department. Looking for terms like “MVR Letter of Clearance,”1 on your DMV website is usually a good place to start.

Screenshot of the Colorado Department of Revenue website page for Division of Motor Vehicles will yellow arrow pointing to the Purchase Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Letter of Clearance.
Much like performing a criminal history check on yourself to prepare for a background check, knowing exactly what is on your Motor Vehicle Record can be a huge boost when it comes to the interview.

Employers are likely to ask about your driving record for jobs where this information is relevant, so being able to explain the circumstances of any accidents or tickets and talk about steps that you have taken to become a safer driver can go a long way.

Does a Ticket Show Up on a Background Check? (Will a Pending Ticket Show Up on a Background Check?)

A ticket will only show up on a background check if an MVR check is performed. Very few jobs are likely to perform MVR checks as they are unnecessary for most jobs. However, delivery driver jobs, construction jobs that require the use of a forklift or similar equipment, etc are all likely to perform MVR checks.

The same as a criminal history check is performed to keep the workplace safe and limit the risk of legal issues, employers will perform MVR checks for the same reasons.

Do Employers Care About Traffic Misdemeanors?

Employers will usually care about a misdemeanor, regardless of what it was for. In many cases, individuals with misdemeanors on their records will be automatically disqualified for certain jobs. However, most employers will be able to overlook most non-violent misdemeanors if the individual has taken steps to better themselves and move past a criminal past.

Many people asking: ”will a pending ticket show up on a background check?” are concerned about a traffic infraction affecting their chances of getting a job.

When it comes to traffic misdemeanors specifically, the same rules apply. Certain employers may be willing to overlook the charges whereas others will not be able to. For example, a job involving driving passengers, such as a bus driver, will be unlikely to overlook a traffic misdemeanor whereas a retail job is much more likely to do so.

Many people wonder, will I pass a background check with a misdemeanor? But the same rules apply.

Why Would a Background Check Be Pending?

There are tons of reasons for a background check to be pending. The reasons are often nothing to worry about as things like a backlog of checks, holidays, system crashes, etc. can all cause a background check to be pending.

It is also possible that something may have stood out on the individual’s background check that requires more additional research so that the hiring manager can make a determination.

The best thing to do is to perform a background check on yourself before an employer does. This will allow individuals to know exactly what is present on their background check and be able to prepare for any questions that an employer may have. This will also prevent individuals from needing to call to see why their background check is taking so long.

Screenshot of a website page about what a person can do before job application with yellow arrows pointing to its actual steps such as checking of credit report, checking local police and NBI for criminal records, and knowing rights as a job applicant or employee.
This also gives individuals a chance to find any mistakes in their background checks with ample time to fix their background checks. Mistakes on background checks are more common than many individuals think so it is always worthwhile to check just in case.

There is a lot to consider for individuals about to undergo a background check. The best plan is always to perform a check on yourself beforehand, that way you can know for sure, will a pending ticket show up on a background check?

Frequently Asked Questions About Will a Pending Ticket Show Up on a Background Check

Do Pending Tickets Show Up on Driving Record?

Pending traffic tickets will show up on a driving record check, tickets will usually show up on DMV checks shortly after it is issued.

Will a Traffic Ticket Show Up on a Background Check?

A traffic ticket will only show up on a background check if an MVR check is performed. Traffic tickets will not show up on a normal criminal history check, however if the job requires driving, it is likely a motor vehicle record check will also be performed.

Will Tickets Show Up on a Background Check?

A ticket will only show up on a background check if an MVR check is performed with the local DMV, instead of the standard criminal history check.

Will Driving Without a License Show on Background Check?

Most states consider driving without a license to be a misdemeanor offense. Misdemeanors and higher charges will show up on any standard criminal history check, even if the charges were dropped.

Do Traffic Misdemeanors Show Up on Criminal Background Checks?

Any crime that is a misdemeanor or higher will show up on a criminal background check, regardless of the specific charges.

Will Pending Charges Show Up on a Background Check?

Pending charges will show up on a criminal background check. As soon as the charges are filed they will begin to appear on background checks. Even if the charges are ultimately dropped, they will likely still show up on a background check unless they have been expunged.

What States Prohibit Pending Charges on a Background Check?

California, New Mexico, New York, and Kentucky all prohibit pending charges from appearing on a background check. These states only allow convictions to be included on background check information. However, the records will still exist, they just can’t be reported by a background check service.

Can You Do a Background Check With a Driver's License Number?

It is possible to perform a background check using an individual’s drivers license number and their SSN. However, the FCRA requires that those performing  background checks that use an individual’s SSN must obtain the written consent of the individual being checked.2

Will a Pending Ticket Show Up on a Background Check?

A pending ticket will only show up on a driving record check, and will not be present on a standard criminal history check.

Will a Suspended License Affect a Background Check for a Gun?

The ability to buy a firearm with a suspended license will depend on the state. Although not technically a disqualifier, a valid driver’s license is often required to purchase a firearm. Therefore an individual with a suspended license will not have the proper identification to make the purchase.

Will a Traffic Misdemeanor Affect Employment Opportunities?

A traffic misdemeanor will have some effect on employment opportunities. However, most employers will be willing to overlook misdemeanors if the individual has convinced them that they have moved past their criminal activity and have taken steps to improve themselves.

Do Traffic Tickets Matter on a Background Check?

Traffic tickets rarely matter on a background check. Jobs that require driving will consider traffic tickets, but unless there are numerous tickets, it is unlikely to play a major role in the decision.

Do Pending Traffic Tickets Show Up on Background Checks?

Pending traffic tickets usually do not show up on a background check, unless the infraction reached the level of a misdemeanor.


References

1Colorado Official State Web Portal. (2022). Purchase Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Letter of Clearance. Colorado Department of Revenue. Retrieved August 4, 2022, from <https://dmv.colorado.gov/purchase-motor-vehicle-record-mvr-letter-clearance>

2United States Government. (2022). Fair Credit Reporting Act. Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved August 4, 2022, from <https://www.ftc.gov/legal-library/browse/statutes/fair-credit-reporting-act>

3United States Government. (2022). Home. FOIA. Retrieved August 4, 2022, from <https://www.foia.gov/>

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