Does Being on Probation for a DWI Affect My Background Check?

If you are currently on probation for driving while intoxicated, or DWI, and have been asked, or required, to consent to a background check, you may be concerned about whether you are on probation will appear on the report and what effect it will have if it does appear. In most cases, your conviction will show on the background report, although the sentence, or that you are still currently on probation may, or may not, be included in the report.


  • While your DWI conviction will show up on a background check, whether or not you are still on probation may not.

Getting a DWI Conviction

Before you can be placed on probation for a DWI, you must either plead guilty to the crime or be found guilty at trial. State laws determine whether the crime is a misdemeanor or felony. Often, a second or subsequent conviction will be charged as a felony. Other aggravating factors such as an accident or the presence of minors in the vehicle may also raise the crime to a felony.

If a period of probation is ordered, it is normally in lieu of a prison term. Probation can include a number of conditions such as monthly reporting, house arrest, alcohol education and even an ignition interlock device placed on your vehicle.

Required Background Checks

Backgrounds checks may be ordered for a variety of reasons, such as a condition precedent to an offer of employment, for the purpose of renting a property to you or because you applied for a professional license of some sort. The extent of the background check can vary widely depending on the purpose and the service used to obtain the information. In almost all cases, however, criminal convictions will appear on a background check.

Effects of a Conviction

Because probation follows a criminal conviction, the conviction itself will most likely appear on a background check. The fact that you are currently on probation may, or may not, be included in the report provided to the requester. A criminal conviction alone can have an effect on a job application, rental application or the issuance of a professional license. If you are currently on probation, it may also negatively affect you as you are considered to be under court supervision and may have constraints on your freedom that could affect your job or your housing.

Always Be Honest

If you are asked to consent to a background check, it is best to be honest ahead of time. Although being on probation may negatively affect your chances of being accepted as a tenant, obtaining a license or being offered a job, not disclosing that you are currently on probation will generally be looked upon as lying which will certainly have a negative impact.

Once your term of probation has been successfully completed, you may wish to consult with an attorney regarding the possibility of expunging your conviction. Some states allow convictions to be expunged under certain circumstances which will remove the record of your conviction from the public records.