Speeding tickets are usually something we’d rather forget about. But what happens when you’re sending out resumes and gearing up for interviews? Employers often want to know more about you before making a job offer, which usually means running a background check.
According to federal law, employers are not prohibited from conducting background checks before an offer of employment is made. However, a few states do not allow it, and some even restrict the type of information employers can request in a background check, such as sealed or expunged records, certain offenses, or arrests that didn’t lead to convictions.
This article will discuss whether or not speeding tickets show up on background checks and how long they stay there. We’ll dig into what kinds of background checks might show speeding tickets and what that means for you.
Do Speeding Tickets Appear on Background Checks?
Speeding tickets normally don’t show up on the background checks that most employers run, which are actually criminal history checks.
Whether a speeding ticket will matter can also depend on the type of job you’re applying for. If you’re looking to be a delivery or bus driver, traffic violations might be a big deal. Employers for these types of jobs often run more specific driving background checks.
Why Speeding Tickets Don’t Show Up on a Criminal History Check?
A speeding ticket is usually considered a traffic violation, not a criminal offense. Usually, simple traffic violations like speeding don’t appear on a background check.
However, if you were speeding and it led to something more serious, like reckless driving or an accident, it could become a criminal offense. In that case, it might show up on a background check.
Does a Speeding Ticket Appear on Your Driving Record?
A speeding ticket does show up on your driving record and is also considered to be public record, meaning anyone can access the information by running a public records search (you can find our favorite one here).
A driving record, also known as a motor vehicle report, includes detailed information about accidents, tickets, license suspensions, mailing addresses, and more.
When it comes to employment, you still have a bit to worry about. You see, some employers don’t just run criminal background checks; they also look at other parts of your background, like your education history, professional certifications, and employment history. These additional checks may also include reviewing your driving record.
But, as discussed above, not all employers have a reason to run such detailed checks on you, especially if your job doesn’t involve driving. Even if your job primarily involves driving, a speeding ticket or two won’t usually be a deal-breaker.
However, if the employer asks for your consent to check your driving record, you must be proactive. This is your chance to be upfront about minor violations like speeding tickets. Honesty goes a long way in establishing trust, and it’s better for them to hear it from you than to discover it on their own.
How Long Does a Speeding Ticket Stay On Your Driving Record?
If you’ve ever received a speeding ticket, you probably wonder how long it will stay on your driving record. The time can vary depending on the state you reside in. In some states, a speeding ticket stays on your record for three years. In other states, it stays for as long as seven years.
Landing a Job With a Speeding Ticket on Your Record
If you’re job hunting and have a speeding ticket on your driving record, you might be worried about how it will affect your chances. The good news is that a single speeding ticket usually isn’t a major red flag for most employers. However, it’s good to be prepared and know how to navigate the job search with this in your history.
First things first, always be honest. If a prospective employer asks you directly about your driving record or wants you to consent to a check, it’s better to be upfront about it. No one likes surprises, especially not employers who are about to make an investment in you.
Focus on the skills and qualifications that make you an excellent fit for the job. Everyone has made a mistake or two, but that doesn’t define you. So, if the topic does come up during an interview, address it directly, explain the situation briefly, and then pivot the conversation back to your strengths and what you can bring to the position. This shows that you’re not only honest but also focused and goal-oriented.
Prepare for Your Background Check Ahead of Time
Speeding tickets are primarily considered traffic violations and generally do not appear on standard criminal background checks. However, the nature of your job and the employer’s specific requirements may influence whether they choose to examine your driving record.
As for how long a speeding ticket sticks around on your record, it depends on where you live. In some states, it’s three years; in others, it’s seven.
It’s important to know that a speeding ticket or two won’t cause much problem. If an employer asks about your driving record, be honest about the speeding tickets. Being open and explaining, if needed, can show you’re responsible.