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Will a DUI Arrest Show Up on Background Records?

Your criminal background check could be pulled for any number of reasons throughout your life. People – both individuals and companies – use background checks for many different things. Sometimes, they’re just checking to see if you’re telling the truth. Other times, the party who’s checking your background may have certain restrictions, which could prohibit you from moving further in the process if your records show red flags.

Background Checks: DUI Arrests Versus Convictions

DUI arrests do not always show up on criminal background records. After all, just because a person is arrested for a DUI, it doesn’t necessarily mean he or she will be convicted. A number of events and scenarios could occur, which can relegate a DUI arrest into nothing more than a night in jail. Typically, a person who’s been arrested for a DUI in California should call upon the assistance of an experienced DUI lawyer to achieve optimal results in a DUI case, as an attorney will understand the legal system and help navigate his or her clients toward the best possible outcomes.

There are some elements related to a DUI, however, that will typically be reported on a background check. If you were convicted of a DUI, for example, your conviction will likely appear on your criminal background records – again, it is important to be aware that there is a difference between a DUI arrest and a DUI conviction.

Background Checks: Who Pulls Them and Why?

Your criminal background check could be pulled for any number of reasons throughout your life. The following are a few common examples:

  • Future Employment. These days, people seldom stay at the same company throughout their careers. Odds are, eventually you’ll find yourself applying for work with a new employer or few as time marches on. Companies tend to be among the highest users of background checks, often pulling these reports to determine whether or not a candidate is fit to complete the hiring and onboarding process.

If you’re on the job hunt and have been convicted of a DUI, it’s quite possible that your conviction will show up on a background check. Honesty can be the difference between getting a job offer and getting passed along in favor of another candidate. Unless your DUI has been officially expunged by the courts – if you are asked to disclose a DUI conviction on an application – your best bet is to do so honestly. If you lie and your records later reflect information contrary to what you provided on your application, you may be sacrificing a great opportunity.

  • A DUI won’t likely prevent you from attending college or another type of higher education institute. That said, if you lie about your DUI, only to have it disclosed after you’ve submitted your application, the university, college, or educational facility you’re applying to could very well deny your application on the grounds of a false application.
  • Professional Associations. There are a number of professional associations that require clean background checks in order to be admitted. While your DUI arrest or conviction may not be a breaking point – particularly if you’ve shown outstanding knowledge or skills as they relate to the field in which the professional association resides – it’s best to be honest and upfront if you’re asked about prior convictions. Many applications will afford you the ability to explain your own unique situation; this is the time for you to turn up your outstanding abilities and shine above the rest so your DUI doesn’t damper your chances.
  • Volunteer Organizations. Be mindful that some volunteer organizations require background checks. In particular, if you’re applying to volunteer with organizations that work with children, battered women, or other vulnerable groups of people, a volunteer facility may decline your application as a result of a DUI conviction or arrest.

It’s not necessarily illegal to lie on an application, but if your background check – or a simple Google search of your name – contradicts the answers you’ve put down on your application, you can almost assuredly know you’ll be passed by for the next available person.

Can Your DUI be Expunged?

In some cases, you may be able to expunge your DUI, which basically eliminates it as a conviction (except for use as a prior if subsequently arrested within 10 years of conviction). Although expungement doesn’t make it go away completely, it’s often a great solution. A criminal DUI conviction cannot be held against you after it’s been expunged, even if it’s reported on a background check. If you were denied employment, housing, or professional licensure after proper expungement, the denying party could be guilty of discrimination.

You’ll likely need the assistance of a DUI attorney to ensure you:

  • Are eligible for expungement
  • Have the necessary documentation
  • Can proceed with a high likelihood of success
  • Are able to fight the prosecuting attorney, in the event the expungement is challenged

Once expunged, your DUI conviction becomes a non-issue in terms of employment, apartment and lending inquiries, and professional licensure applications.

Confused about how your DUI may or may not affect future applications? Background checks can be a little confusing. If you’re not sure how your prior actions may impact future opportunities, reach out to a Los Angeles DUI attorney who will be able to help you decipher the way your DUI arrest may look to future employers, lenders, or landlords.

Contact Jon Artz today if you’ve been arrested for DUI in Los Angeles.

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