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Must I Report a 10-Year-Old DUI on a Job Application?


Suppose you are currently in the market for a new job. Maybe you’re looking for a job that involves driving. Maybe it’s a city or government job. Maybe it involves working outside or inside an air-conditioned office building. Regardless, it’s been 10 years since your DUI conviction, and one thing you’ve learned for sure, is “The DUI has been a real headache as far as employment goes. You’ve lost out on some golden job opportunities because of the DUI.”

Now that 10 years have passed, the DUI is no longer reported on your DMV record. Does that mean you’re in the clear? Does that mean it won’t come up on employer background checks any longer?

Will a DUI Still Show Up on Background Checks?

Unfortunately, your DMV record and your criminal record are two separate things. Even though a DUI automatically falls off your DMV record after 10 years, that is NOT the case with your criminal record. Unless your DUI was expunged, it will still show up on any background checks run on you.

When Should I Include a DUI on My Job Application?

Your DUI may be 10 years old and it may no longer be on your driving record, but it’s still relevant in regards to employment. Even if it was 20 or 30 years old, it should still be listed on job applications if an employer asks about it.

The key is to read the job application carefully. Some applications ask about only convictions and not arrests, while others only ask about felony convictions and not misdemeanors.

Some applications want to know about all convictions – misdemeanors and felonies. Whatever you do, don’t lie about it. It’s easy to convince yourself that the employer may never find out about it, but it’s a risk that’s not worth taking.

If the application asks about any convictions and you were convicted of misdemeanor DUI, by all means, disclose it.

California's "Ban the Box" Law 

On January 1, 2018, California passed a law banning employers from inquiring about an applicant's criminal history before making a conditional job offer. This is to protect job seekers so they will not be excluded from the early stages of recruitment due to their criminal history. Even if your convictions are discovered in the later stages of the recruitment process, employers are forbidden from denying you an offer solely based on your criminal background

What About Expunged DUIs?

If your DUI is expunged, you are no longer obligated to disclose it on job applications, with very limited exceptions. If you completed your DUI probation and you have not expunged your DUI, you should consider doing it – it will make it a lot easier to find a job.

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