Is a DUI Considered a Traffic Violation on Applications?

By Lisa R. House
Police car siren.
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A traffic violation is a violation of local and state motor vehicle laws. Minor traffic violations include things like parking tickets, speeding and broken taillights. DUI means driving a vehicle under the influence of drugs, alcohol or prescription medication. It is a serious traffic violation and a criminal offense. Whether you need to disclose a DUI on an application depends upon on the type of application and how the question is asked.

Driving Under the Influence

Depending upon your state, a DUI may be known as OWI, operating while intoxicated; OVI, operating vehicle intoxicated; or DWI, driving while intoxicated. In all of the states, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher. If you are arrested for a DUI, and the charges are later dismissed, you may still have to disclose the information on certain applications because arrest charges remain on your legal record and may be discovered during a background check.

DUI Conviction

Punishments for DUI convictions vary by state, but even with a first conviction, you may face large fines and fees, license suspension and possibly even jail time. A DUI conviction is part of your permanent criminal record. It can be either a misdemeanor or felony, depending upon the circumstances of the conviction and the state in which you were arrested. For example, in New York, your first DUI conviction is a misdemeanor, but the second is a felony.

Penalties for DUI Convictions

Misdemeanors are generally punishable by a fine, incarceration in a county jail for less than one year, or both. A felony DUI usually carries a sentence of greater than one year in prison. Generally, a high blood alcohol content, bodily harm caused to another, prior DUI convictions, children in the vehicle or driving under the influence while on a restricted, suspended or revoked license are all circumstances that rise to the level of a felony DUI.

Disclosure of a DUI on an Application

Disclosure of a DUI on an application depends upon how the question is asked. If the application asks if you have ever been convicted of a felony, and your DUI was classified as a misdemeanor, then you do not have to disclose it. If the question asks if you have ever been convicted of a traffic violation, other than a minor traffic violation like a parking ticket, then you must answer yes. Nonetheless, some occupations mandate reporting a DUI on a job application, such as truck drivers, mass transit drivers, pilots, law enforcement, doctors, nurses, law enforcement, and child care workers. If you have had your DUI arrest officially expunged from your record, you do not have to disclose it. If you have questions regarding whether you need to disclose a DUI on an application, contact a DUI attorney in your state.

About the Author

Based in New York City, Lisa R. House has been actively involved in the health and fitness industry for more than 20 years. She is a Tough Mudder Finisher, triathlete, ballroom dancer and former fitness competitor. Her certifications include Zumba and NASM. She holds a Master of Science in nursing from The Ohio State University and a Juris Doctorate from Capital University Law School.