Do OWIs Show Up on a Background Check?
Drunk Driving Convictions Appear on Public Record
If you have a prior OWI conviction, it is part of your public record and may show up on a background check run by potential employers, landlords, educational institutions, and others. An OWI 1st offense may not appear on CCAP because it is not a criminal offense, but if the background check includes the Wisconsin Department of Justice Crime Information Bureau or the Department of Transportation, the charge is more likely to appear.
Although the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) restricts reporting criminal arrests after 7 years, criminal convictions may be reported forever. An OWI expungement is impossible and there is no way to remove your OWI conviction from your permanent public record.
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How to Talk About a DUI in a Job Interview
It is important to be honest about past convictions when applying for a job. If you say on your application you have no prior convictions, but your prospective employer sees an OWI on your public record during the background check, he or she will doubt your integrity and wonder what else you might be hiding. Even if they don’t see the conviction in your background check, they may find out later, and you could be fired.
In applications and interviews, answer questions about past convictions truthfully. If you mention your OWI on your application and your interviewer does not bring it up in the interview, you are not obligated to mention the conviction. Simply describe your experience, qualifications, skills, achievements, and any volunteer work to demonstrate you’re the right person for the job.
If the interviewer asks about your OWI conviction, be up front about the circumstances and how you’ve changed since then. Explain you made a poor decision and describe any treatment or DUI courses you completed, showing the potential employer you accept responsibility for your mistake and have worked to improve.
Contact our OWI defense lawyer for more information.