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Does DMV Background Check?

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The biggest challenge for felons after returning home is finding a job.

If you have experience driving, you may seek a job as a driver, which would involve the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

The question is whether or not the DMV runs background checks.

Let’s take a look at this.

In this blog post, we’ll cover the following:

  • Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
  • Driving Record
  • National Driver Register
  • Background Check?
  • Jobs That Often Request a DMV Check
  • Expunging a Driving Record
  • Take Action 


Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

Of course, you have heard of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

But what exactly is the DMV?

Let’s start by looking at this agency.

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) deals with vehicle-related issues.

This includes “vehicle registration, safety, and emissions inspections, issuing driver’s licenses and ID cards, keeping driving records, title transfers, bills of sale, and selling personalized license plates.”

While some similar agencies may be operated at the national level, the DMV operates at the state level.

This means that each state has its own separate DMV.

Each agency follows the laws and policies of the state in which it is located.

If the name DMV doesn’t sound familiar, it may be because the name of this agency is different according to the state.

There are different names for this official agency in various states though each of these individual agencies is typically part of each state’s Department of Transportation or Department of Revenue.

Driving Record

Every licensed driver in the United States has a driving record. 

A driving record is a public account of various aspects of your driving history.

Every state’s motor vehicle agency (DMV, MVA, or OMV) maintains driving records for all licensed drivers within the state.

These records go back at least three years depending on the state and include:

  • Basic identifying information (name, address, and gender)
  • Driver’s license number and state of issuance
  • License classifications and endorsements
  • Driver’s license status and expiration date
  • Violations and convictions, including information on traffic tickets and speeding tickets
  • Penalties like points, fines, suspensions, and revocations
  • Number of collisions

Ok. So what else is there to know?

Well, in addition to this national database of all licensed drivers, there is also a national database that includes information on those licensed drivers and offenses against them.

This is the National Driving Register.

National Driver Register

The National Driver Register (NDR) is recorded and administered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

It is a computerized national database of all licensed drivers in the U.S. showing which have lost the right to drive or have been convicted of a serious traffic offense. 

The NDR is one way for states to share information about driving violations and to prevent a driver with a suspended license in one state from going into another state to obtain a license.

Another way that such driver information is shared between states is through an agreement that has been set up to record this data.

This is the Driver License Compact (DLC), which is an agreement in 45 states that records drivers’ arrest warrants or traffic violations in other states.

That is, if you have a significant traffic incident in one of these states, that information will be reported to the DMV in your home state.

According to the DLC, the state in which the offense occurred will treat it as if it had been committed within that state’s boundaries.

Does DMV Background Check?

This may seem a bit complicated, but it isn’t really. Where does the background check come in?

If you have committed a traffic offense, your record will be checked to determine if you have any traffic-related offenses or convictions, but that isn’t a background check.

If you are applying for a job like a driving position, your potential employer will probably run a background check on you during the application process.

So how does that work?

In the U.S., most violations of vehicle or driving laws will typically create two kinds of records: criminal records and DMV records.

As you likely already know, criminal convictions whether felony or misdemeanor, will remain on your record for life unless they are expunged or sealed.

For DMV records, they are usually removed by each particular state after a period of time determined by each state’s laws. 

Also, DMV records are not typically shared with background check companies.

They are usually stored only at the DMV.

So, when a potential employer runs a background check, that check will likely include DMV records on applicants if the employer specifically includes the DMV for obtaining information on you.

Of course, if the driving violation resulted in a criminal charge, either a felony or misdemeanor, that changes things. That will likely appear on a background check.

A background check that looks at the record through the DMV (and the NDR associated with your record) is typically requested by any employer offering a job that involves driving. 

That check would likely look at your driving history over the past seven years looking for any driving-related convictions.

Of course, the exact length of time would be up to the individual employer.

Jobs That Often Request a DMV Check

Here are some instances in which DMV records might be requested. 

Employers might request access to your driving record as part of an employment screening. 

A driver’s license agency might require a background check before you can obtain a certain license, such as a commercial driver license (CDL).

There are many driving jobs that might request a driving record background check.

These include bus drivers, as applicants with criminal records will typically be rejected.

It also includes commercial drivers. Federal law requires all hazardous materials (Hazmat) drivers to pass a criminal record check, which includes fingerprinting. 

A DMV background check is provided to the requesting person in a Motor Vehicle Report.

It verifies that an applicant has a driver’s license (license type, current status, standing, and possible restrictions). 

It may also include information regarding reckless behavior, including substance abuse, repeated traffic violations, failures to appear in court, and unpaid fines. 

Expunging a Driving Record

So, what about expunging a driving record?

While you can often expunge your criminal record, the same is not true for a DMV record.

Most states don’t allow driving records to be expunged.

Most driving offenses are considered to be minor, meaning that they do fall under a different section of the law.

Many driving violations are not considered to be criminal offenses. 

Therefore, they typically don’t qualify under state law as being able to be expunged.

If it is a criminal violation amounting to a felony or misdemeanor, that would change things.

That part of your record might be eligible to be expunged.

But remember that the DMV routinely clears a driver’s records after a certain period of time.

That accomplishes the same thing. 

The difference is that it would be strictly up to the DMV in each state to decide when each record would be cleared.

So what do you think about this blog post about whether the DMV runs background checks?

Have you or someone you know had the DMV run a background check?

What was that like and what happened?

Please tell us in the comments below.

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