So you have run a criminal background check and the report comes back clear. However, the applicant had disclosed an arrest for Driving Under the Influence. Your heart skips a beat and you wonder why this did not show up. I hear you.
There are 4 reasons the DUI did not show on the criminal background check:
- Low Quality Background Check. This accounts for the majority of cases. Organizations are relying on a criminal database as their screening program. And if the DUI occurred in one of the majority of states that provide very limited data to the database then it is most likely not going to show up.
- Limited 7 Year Search. I know I bring this up a lot but it is beyond comprehension that a criminal background check should automatically be limited to 7 years. Why? The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act does not require a 7 year limit on convictions. Sure if you live in a state that has further restrictions that makes sense. However, there are only a handful of states with such restrictions. And none of those restrictions apply to volunteers. So does it make more sense to provide a comprehensive criminal record check and then filter it for those isolated states that have employment restrictions?
- Alias or Other Name. The background screening industry standard is to search only the name you provide. So if the applicant has a DUI under an alias or other name, it will not show.
- Court Reporting Error. Yes, the courts can and do make mistakes. One very infrequent court issue we have witnessed a few times over the past 8 years has been a municipal or town court hearing a DUI case. In most states, a town or municipal court is not a court of record so the criminal record should be sent to the county courts as the court of record. If the record is not recorded with the court of record then the criminal record check will not reveal the conviction.
A criminal background check requires a myriad of checks and balances using county courts, federal courts and criminal databases. There is no way to do a criminal record check with a single screening solution.
The same principle applies to DUI’s. We advise our clients that if a DUI would impact your hiring decision then you should be running a driving history check. Why? Because every state provides a driving history as part of their driving record check. This can vary from as little as 3 years to up to 10 years.
Are you utilizing driving records checks as part of your criminal background check program? If not, contact us today.