How to Explain DUI on Background Check

Drunk driving accidents kill over 10,000 people in the US annually, as per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Driving under the influence (DUI) is a crime in all states and is treated as a serious matter. If you have been convicted of a DUI, it will appear on your background check, and potential employers or landlords may judge you harshly. However, the right approach can explain DUI through a background check. This article will provide a comprehensive guide on explaining DUI on a background check.


A DUI conviction can significantly setback your personal and professional life. It can affect your ability to get a job, rent an apartment, or even get a loan. However, it does not have to be the end of the world. You can still explain a DUI conviction on a background check and overcome the negative perception associated with it.

What is a background check?

A background check is when people like bosses, landlords, or banks check a person’s info to see if they’re okay. The information they gather can include criminal history, employment history, credit score, and education. A background check confirms the applicant’s info and reviews for any concerns that could make them unfit for the job or service they want.

See also  Per Se vs Impairment DUIs: Understanding the Key Differences

How does a DUI conviction show up on a background check?

A DUI conviction constitutes a criminal offense and will appear on a criminal background check. The state where the crime occurred determines the duration of the DUI’s appearance on a background check, which can last up to 10 years or more. The person conducting the background check assesses the severity of the DUI conviction, which can affect its perception.

Who can view my background check?

Potential employers, landlords, and financial institutions can legally view your background check. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) controls background checks and ensures they’re done fairly and accurately.

How can I explain a DUI on my background check?

If you have a DUI on your record, it may not ruin your job or admission opportunities. You can explain it on a background check in a way that might help your chances. Here are five tips to help you define a DUI on your background check:

Take Responsibility for Your Actions

To explain a DUI on a background check, take responsibility for your actions. If you admit your mistake and learn from it, it can help gain the person’s trust in a background check.

Be Honest and Transparent

When explaining a DUI on a background check, it is essential, to be honest, and transparent about what happened. Do not try to hide or downplay the offense, as this can make you look untrustworthy.

Explain What You Have Learned

Another crucial aspect of explaining a DUI on a background check is to explain what you have learned from the experience. Discuss how the experience has changed your behavior and attitude toward alcohol. And how you have taken steps to prevent it from happening again. This can show the person conducting the background check that you are responsible for your actions and committed to making positive changes in your life.

See also  Will a DUI Show Up on an Employment Background Check?

Show How You Have Changed

In addition to explaining what you have learned, showing how you have changed due to the DUI conviction is essential. Highlight any classes, programs, or therapy you have completed since the conviction demonstrating your commitment to making positive changes in your life. This can help alleviate concerns about your ability to make responsible choices in the future.

Emphasize Your Positive Qualities

While addressing the DUI conviction, it is also essential to emphasize your positive qualities. Discuss your skills, work experience, and education and how they make you a good fit for the position or service you are applying for. This can help balance out the negative perception of the DUI conviction and demonstrate that you are a qualified and capable candidate.

What Not to Say When Explaining a DUI on a Background Check

While it is crucial to be honest, and transparent when explaining a DUI on a background check, there are also some things you should avoid saying. Do not make excuses for your behavior or blame others for your actions. Only discuss the details of the offense if specifically asked, and do not downplay the severity of the crime.


Explaining a DUI on a background check can be challenging, but with the right approach, it is possible to overcome the negative perception associated with it. Improving your chances of getting hired or accepted even with a DUI conviction requires taking responsibility, being honest, explaining what you learned, showing how you’ve changed, and highlighting your positive qualities.


Can a DUI conviction prevent me from getting a job?

A: It depends on the job’s nature and the severity of the DUI conviction. Some employers may view a DUI conviction as a red flag, while others may be more lenient.

See also  Does a DUI Always Stay on Your Record?

Will a DUI conviction show up on a background check forever?

A: The length of time a DUI conviction appears on a background check varies by state. It will usually show up for at least 7-10 years.

Should I mention my DUI conviction on my job application?

A: It is only necessary to mention your DUI conviction on your job application if specifically asked. However, it is essential, to be honest, if requested during the interview or background check process.

Can I have a DUI conviction expunged from my record?

A: In some states, you can clear your record of a DUI conviction through expungement. Contact a criminal defense attorney to discuss your options.

Can I still get a security clearance with a DUI conviction on my record?

A: A DUI conviction can impact your ability to obtain a security clearance, but it is not necessarily a disqualifying factor. During the security clearance process, the authorities will consider the severity of the offense and the circumstances surrounding it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *