Jessica Sautter has a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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Natasha McLachlan is a writer who currently lives in Southern California. She is an alumna of California College of the Arts, where she obtained her B.A. in Writing and Literature. Her current work revolves around auto insurance guides and informational articles. She truly enjoys helping others learn more about everyday, practical matters through her work.

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UPDATED: Oct 1, 2020

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A criminal background check is required for several situations in the US and it’s important to be aware of what will show up once the process begins. Some people assume certain details will show up but they don’t and that’s why it’s essential to be aware.

This read will do the research and offer insight on whether or not your criminal background check is going to affect or show information related to your license. This is an answer you will want to have in case the background check has to be done in the future.

National Driver Registry

Background Check and Driver's License

This is where all driver-related information is stored by the state in which a license is established. The National Driver Registry is a computerized system that is responsible for this information and is kept up-to-date by an entire government division. This ensures the information is accessible, relevant, and updated as necessary.

It is kept by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis and is well-regarded for housing all of this information in relation to licenses.

If a person has a suspended license, it is going to be kept under their name at the National Center for Statistics and Analysis.

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Criminal Background Check

Now that we are aware of where the record is kept, it’s time to dig into how the criminal history search is conducted. In the US, the criminal background check is established with the help of the criminal database that is run by local and federal agencies. This includes the local police, FBI, and other relevant law enforcement agencies in the nation.

Please note, these databases are not the same as a National Driver Registry and is not maintained by the same government division.

The criminal database is home to other information.

Suspended Driver’s License

Will it show up during the background check?

No, it will not show up in the background check unless it is asked for by the initiating officer. However, if the check does venture down this path, it will not be looking for a suspended driver’s license. The goal is to check for “criminal” activity that might have been engaged in using a vehicle and that does not include a suspended driver’s license.

In most cases, an individual who has a suspended driver’s license will not be in a criminal investigation and if he/she is, it will already be in the regular criminal database with additional information.

This is why it is best to assume the background check is not going to take a look at the license or even head over to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis for a peek at the National Driver Registry.

It is deemed unnecessary and is not going to be something the criminal background check is going to be after. It is not the number one priority when the check is going through nor is it going to matter if it gets to such a point.

What Will Show Up On A Criminal Background Check?

At some time in your life, you are bound to undergo a background check. This usually rears its head when you apply for a job, are looking to rent or buy a new home, or purchasing a firearm among others. They provide interested parties with helpful information about your past history, whether you are who you say you are, whether you are a trustworthy person, or whether you may pose a threat to others or a business.

If you have nothing to hide there is usually nothing to worry about, however, if you know or suspect that you have a serious misdemeanor lurking in the background, it is best to find out exactly what it is before applying for a job or accommodation.

So: What is a Background Check?

This is used to verify that a person really is who they claim to be in the first place and also provides an opportunity to check their employment history, education qualifications, whether they have any criminal records, and other past activities that may affect a decision to hire or do business with them.

The aim is to find helpful information about a person in order to confirm their validity and assess whether they are generally trustworthy or not.

Can Anyone Perform a Background Check?

The short answer is yes. Anyone can run a background check on anyone else. All they need is a name to look into your personal history, check your criminal record, and find out details about your driving record.

However, in certain circumstances, there could be legal implications for performing a background check without the consent of the person concerned. It all depends on whether the check is conducted in a professional or personal setting.

Professional Setting

These checks are usually required when screening a potential applicant for a job or by a landlord who needs to know more about potential tenants before approving a contract. In these kinds of settings, there are numerous laws that govern what can and cannot be done.

In a professional setting, your consent has to be obtained before any investigation into your background can be undertaken.

For example, If you are a prospective tenant or employee, your rights are legally protected and anyone requiring a background check has to obtain your consent and comply with the law as breaching compliance on this level can give you the right to legal action.

Employers are required to comply with the regulations of the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) that has several detailed policies and steps that must be followed before conducting a background check.


Not all background checks are conducted in a professional setting and anyone can run a check for personal reasons. Background check scenarios on the personal side of the spectrum may look something like this:

→ You have met someone you consider having a personal relationship with, whether personally or online, and you would like to know more about them. In this scenario, you can run a background check without their permission to find out if you can trust the authenticity of their profile and whether there is anything undesirable in their past that may affect your future together.

→ You have found a babysitter but you don’t know the person. In this scenario, it is critical to run a background check for any potential red flags before entrusting your children to their care.

→ New neighbors have moved in that seem suspicious to you. In this scenario, you can run a background check to find out more about them and their history.

The rules surrounding personal background checks are typically less enforced. Most background information, including criminal history information, is public record and can be accessed just by Googling a person’s name.

As long as the information you are seeking is exclusively relative to a personal relationship and not on an employer-employee basis you do not need consent.

However, it is always wise to obtain consent from anyone you consider hiring or providing a personal service to you or your families such as housekeepers, realtors, investment brokers, and even babysitters as they are being paid to do a job.

Carrying Out a Self -Check

You can also run a background check on yourself. For example, if you are interested in applying for a new job, it will help if you know ahead of time exactly what it is that an employer will find when they run a background check on you.

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Criminal Background Checks

Check Crime Report

More than 80% of employers who run background checks look for criminal records to find out if any serious crimes have been committed by a potential candidate.

Organizations need to know about any major criminal offenses such as fraud, embezzlement, sex crimes or felony convictions that could create an unsafe work environment or pose a threat to customers before approving a job application.

Other individuals need this information before making decisions regarding things like granting a firearm license, adoption, military enlistment, etc.

In some industries, for example, the healthcare industry, there may be laws against hiring felons with convictions that are relevant to the job.

What Does a Criminal Background Check Involve?

Usually, criminal record checks are included in a basic background check but there are extended searches available in addition to normal national databases to check for aliases or to access federal, county and state criminal records.

When conducting a criminal background check, the following record sources will be accessed:

  • National criminal databases
  • Federal and state criminal records
  • County criminal courts
  • Sex offender registries
  • Domestic and global terrorist watch lists

What is likely to come up in a Criminal Background Check?

In most states, criminal records are limited to actual convictions where an individual has been found guilty by a qualified court or has pleaded guilty to an offense. It may also include pending charges, arrests, charges that have been dismissed, and acquitted charges.

A criminal background check contains real police records such as court-ordered driving citations, speeding tickets, sexual offenses, felonies, misdemeanors, court documents, civil judgments, and other highly sensitive information.

Some of the more common examples of Class-A misdemeanor crimes include:

  • Assault resulting in bodily injury
  • DUI and DWI
  • Burglary and Theft
  • Domestic Violence misdemeanor
  • Conspiracy
  • Perjury
  • Obscenity
  • Resisting arrest

How Long Does A Criminal Record Last?

Depending on the severity of the charge a criminal record can stay with you for the rest of your life and will affect certain freedoms that will impact your ability to lead a normal life.

Criminal records are no longer that unusual. In fact, it is estimated that one in 15 people in America have been in prison for some reason at one point in the lives and 6.5% of the US population has a felony record.

The good news is that it is possible to have a criminal record expunged which will make it inactive. However, this option is only available to relatively few people and the information will continue to be accessible to government and law enforcement officials.

If you are lucky enough to have your criminal record expunged, you can legally declare that you have no criminal record. The rules of expungement differ from state to state and in some states, it is not even allowed.

The judge will decide on each case by considering the following:

  1. The type of criminal offense
  2. How much time has passed since the conviction or arrest
  3. Whether a sentence has been completed
  4. Whether there was a conviction or just an arrest
  5. Previous criminal records.

You may be wondering: Is a Criminal Record the End of the Line?

For most criminals who have been incarcerated a criminal record can be a barrier to reentering into the workforce and it is extremely difficult for convicted felons to rehabilitate into society.

However, this need not be the end of the road as the federal government offers employers incentives through the Work Opportunity Tax Credit Program for hiring convicted felons in an effort to decrease recidivism rates and increase employment opportunities for individuals with a criminal record.