Why do employers run background checks?
Background checks have become a regular part of the hiring process for all industries. They provide a relatively reliable way for employers to screen employees. Information discovered in a background check could reveal dishonesty on an application or resume, violent or dishonest behaviour, and safety risks. These are all important considerations for employers given that they are often liable for their employees actions.
What types of background checks can be performed?
The most obvious place an employer would check for a DUI conviction is in a criminal record check. There are certain policies and procedures that employers must abide by when conducting these background checks but ultimately an employer can deny employment because of your criminal record.
In extremely limited circumstances you may be able to get your DUI conviction expunged. For more information on this possibility, see our article “DUI Expungement”.
Department of Motor Vehicles
Your driving record is kept by the DMV and is separate from records kept by the court. In Iowa, DUIs remain on your driving record for 12 years.
In today’s technological age, many employers immediately turn to Google and social media after receiving an application. While you do have control over what you post on social media, you cannot control Google results. Your DUI may appear in public records that cannot be erased even if your conviction is expunged from your criminal record.
Depending on the type of job, employers may additionally want to check arrest records, court records, or incarceration records. Furthermore, many employers ask for personal or character references. These people may be asked if they know of any prior arrests and your DUI could come up.
Where would an employer see my DUI conviction?
An employer could discover a record of your DUI from any of the sources discussed above. Even if your conviction has been expunged from your criminal record, an employer could discover it from another source.
An increasing number of states have banned initial employment application questions about criminal convictions but Iowa has yet to join the list. Even in the states that do ban the initial questioning, a criminal history check may be part of employee hiring later in the process. Additionally, it is important to note that hiding or lying about a criminal conviction during the hiring process will not protect you from being fired when your dishonesty is discovered.
The best course of action if you must disclose your DUI record or know it will be discovered during a background check is to show the employer how you have changed since your conviction. This may include showing anything you have overcome that led to your crime or steps you have taken to prevent a repeat offense such as drunk driving education or community service.
Do I need a lawyer?
Yes. The best time to consult with a lawyer about your DUI charges is during or as soon as possible after an arrest. DUI’s are serious criminal charges that can have a lasting impact. Ray Scheetz is an experienced criminal defense attorney and has worked on numerous DUI cases. Contact his office for legal assistance.