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DUI's & Background Checks in Washington State

DUI's, Background Checks, & Job Applications in Washington State

Posted by Robert J. Ault on Nov 13, 2014 | 0 Comments

A question we, as Seattle DUI Defense attorneys, frequently get from our clients is,"What is going to show up on a Background Check?"  Unfortunately, there isn't a universal answer to this question, as it all depends on what kind of background search is ran, the stage of the process, etc...  As for the different types of background checks, a search can be ran for one's "arrests," "charges," or "convictions," while another party may merely run a driver's abstract.  Ultimately, what shows up on a background check is dependent on who is running the check, what they are attempting to learn/verify, & what stage of the process the case is in. Regardless of how a case resolves, the mere existence of an arrest should result in the the subject checking the "Yes" box when asked if they have ever been arrested for a criminal offense.  An arrest doesn't occur when a subject's case gets filed or when their case resolves.  Rather, an arrest occurs when someone is, in fact, advised by a law enforcement officer that they are "under arrest."  While being taken into custody, even momentarily, by an officer doesn't necessarily mean that one has been "arrested," such will often comes as a result of an arrest.  An affirmative response to the question of whether one has been arrested should usually not cause concerns, as most people are aware that unlawful & unjustified arrests occur on a daily basis in our country. With law enforcement officers increasingly conducting insufficient investigations, unlawful/unjustified arrests aren't necessarily uncommon.  Further, if a subject's case has been filed against them (i.e. the prosecuting authority has reviewed the law enforcement officer's report, and subsequently decided to file a criminal charge against the defendant), a subject should answer affirmatively when asked if they have ever been "charged" with a crime.  Again, being "charged" with a crime isn't necessarily a red-flag either, as a "charge" is a mere allegation.  Just because someone has been accused of a committing a crime obviously doesn't mean they, in fact, committed a crime. It is important to note though that some companies/agencies will not hire a person who is facing a DUI charge.  For example, in my experience, Boeing, one of Washington State's largest companies, is extremely reluctant to hire anyone with a "pending" DUI charge.  Further, our Armed Services will usually not allow someone to enroll in the military until a case has been completely closed (i.e. even the probationary period, after a case resolves, must be over with).  Finally, a "conviction" occurs after one charged with a crime either enters a plea of guilty to a crime or is found by a judge or a jury to be guilty of a criminal offense.  When applications for jobs, housing, etc..., are being filled out by someone who has been arrested for a Washington State DUI, it is recommended to always error on the side of caution & consult with an experienced King County DUI lawyer before answering any questions.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI in Washington State, contact Veitch Ault & Associates immediately (425-452-1600) to make sure one puts themselves in the best position to fight their charge.

About the Author

Robert J. Ault

Rob's status as one of the premier DUI defense lawyers in the state includes being repeatedly recognized as a Super Lawyer Rising Star.


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Each of our lawyers has been repeatedly recognized by Washington State Super Lawyers as DUI/Criminal Defense "Rising Stars" and "Super Lawyers." The "Rising Star" distinction is awarded to only 2.5% of attorneys under the age of 40 in their respective practice areas, while the "Super Lawyers" distinction is awarded to only 5% of all attorneys in their respective practice areas.