Can You Pass a Background Check with a Misdemeanor DUI?

At The Wagner Law Firm, we understand the intricate web of legal consequences that stem from a misdemeanor DUI conviction in West Virginia. Beyond the immediate penalties imposed by the court, individuals often find themselves grappling with the long-term repercussions, including the daunting prospect of passing a background check.

In today’s digital age, where information is readily accessible and background checks are commonplace for various endeavors, the question looms large: Can you pass a background check with a misdemeanor DUI on your record?

Drawing upon our extensive experience in West Virginia DUI law, we’ll explore the factors at play and offer practical insights to help individuals understand their rights and options moving forward.

Whether you’re facing the aftermath of a recent DUI charge or seeking guidance on behalf of a loved one, our team is here to provide the knowledge and support needed to navigate the legal landscape effectively. 

Understanding Misdemeanor DUIs Under West Virginia Law

DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence, and it refers to the act of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that it impairs the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle safely. In West Virginia, as in many other states, DUI is a serious offense with significant legal ramifications.

Understanding Misdemeanors

Before delving into misdemeanor DUI specifically, it’s crucial to understand what constitutes a misdemeanor under West Virginia law. In legal terms, a misdemeanor is a criminal offense that is less serious than a felony but more serious than an infraction. Misdemeanors typically carry penalties such as fines, probation, community service, and in some cases, incarceration for up to one year.

Misdemeanor DUI in West Virginia

In West Virginia, a DUI can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on various factors such as prior convictions, the presence of aggravating circumstances, and the level of intoxication. For the purposes of this discussion, let’s focus on misdemeanor DUIs.

A misdemeanor DUI in West Virginia typically occurs under specific circumstances. First, if it’s a first-time DUI offense without aggravating factors, it is generally charged as a misdemeanor. This means that if you are caught driving under the influence for the first time and there are no additional circumstances such as accidents or injuries, you will likely face a misdemeanor charge.

If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeds the legal limit of 0.08% but does not reach certain thresholds that would elevate the offense to a felony, you may be charged with a misdemeanor DUI. Lastly, if the DUI incident does not result in serious injury or death to another person, it is more likely to be classified as a misdemeanor rather than a felony.

Penalties for Misdemeanor DUI in West Virginia

The penalties for a misdemeanor DUI conviction in West Virginia can vary depending on factors such as prior offenses and aggravating circumstances. However, common penalties may include:

– Fines ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars

– License suspension or revocation

– Mandatory participation in a substance abuse treatment program

– Probation

– Community service

– Ignition interlock device installation

– Possible jail time (up to one year)


Harley and Heather gave me peace of mind as they walked me through the process of my DUI. Heather was so quick to answer even the smallest and probably irrelevant questions I had. I was extremely nervous to walk in the courtroom, but Harley made sure I was in and out of there in no time with the best deal I could think of. My DUI charge was reduced to a speeding ticket and some online DUI classes. Would absolutely recommend Harley and Heather if you’re ever in need of a lawyer.”

- Antea Jarazi


The Wagner Law Firm was amazing from beginning to end dealing with my case. This was my first time ever dealing with anything like this and they helped me tremendously and answered all my questions super fast. We got the best outcome possible for my case and I will be recommending Harley and Heather to anyone that’s ever in my situation."

- Savanna Cummings


Harley and Heather do not stop and are excellent at always keeping their clients up to date on the status of their case and never left wondering. They do all the work and are very well connected throughout the state. I will forever be grateful to both Harley and Heather for what they did for me,,,, they aren’t just another law firm, they are great people who truly care. Thank you."

- Clint Anderson

Understanding Background Checks

A background check is a process used to investigate an individual’s history, typically for the purpose of assessing their suitability for a specific role or endeavor. These checks delve into various aspects of a person’s past, including criminal records, employment history, education, credit history, and more. Employers, landlords, financial institutions, and other entities commonly utilize background checks to make informed decisions about individuals.

How Background Checks Are Conducted

Background checks begin when an entity or individual, such as a prospective employer, landlord, or financial institution, initiates the process to obtain information about a subject. The subject must first provide authorization, typically through a signed consent form, to ensure compliance with privacy and consumer rights laws.

With authorization secured, the entity conducting the background check collects information from various sources, including public records, databases, credit bureaus, educational institutions, previous employers, and law enforcement agencies. This gathered data is then verified for accuracy and analyzed to determine its relevance to the purpose of the background check. This step may involve cross-referencing records, confirming employment dates, checking for criminal convictions, and evaluating other pertinent details.

The findings are compiled into a comprehensive report and provided to the requesting party. This report may include information such as criminal history, employment verification, creditworthiness, and other relevant data.

Case Results

DUI Felony 3rd Offense

Not Guilty

DUI 1st

Not Guilty

Aggravated DUI 1st

Charge Reduced

.08 DUI Causing Death

Case Dismissed

DUI Felony Fleeing / Attempted Murder by Vehicle

All Charges Dismissed

.14 Felony DUI Causing Death Case

Reduced to Misdemeanor

Types of Background Checks

There are several types of background checks commonly conducted for various purposes. Criminal background checks focus on an individual’s criminal history, including arrests, convictions, and any pending charges. Employers often conduct employment background checks to verify an applicant’s employment history, education, credentials, and any relevant professional licenses or certifications. Credit checks are used by financial institutions and landlords to assess an individual’s financial responsibility and creditworthiness. Additionally, employers may perform reference checks by contacting references provided by an applicant to gather further information about their character, work ethic, and qualifications.

Harley Wagner

Defending West Virginia Residents for over 24 Years

Can You Pass a Background Check with a Misdemeanor DUI? 

When it comes to misdemeanor DUI convictions, the answer to whether they will appear on a background check is generally yes. Misdemeanor DUI convictions are criminal offenses, and as such, they are typically included in criminal background checks conducted by employers and other entities.

Strategies to Minimize the Impact

While a misdemeanor DUI conviction may appear on a background check, there are several strategies individuals can employ to minimize its impact. One option is expungement, where eligible individuals can have their DUI conviction erased from their criminal record, making it inaccessible to most background checks. However, eligibility requirements vary, and not all DUI convictions qualify for expungement. It’s important to note that a DUI cannot be expunged from your driving record at the DMV.

If expungement isn’t feasible, another option is to have the criminal record sealed. Sealing a record doesn’t completely erase the conviction but restricts access to the information, making it less likely to appear on background checks conducted by employers or other entities.

To navigate these options effectively, consulting with an experienced DUI attorney is essential. An attorney can evaluate your specific situation, determine eligibility for expungement or record sealing, and provide guidance on the best course of action to mitigate the impact of a misdemeanor DUI conviction on background checks.

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Protecting Your Future

Can you pass a background check with a DUI depends on whether or not a DUI is a disqualifying factor in the test, as it will almost surely come up. But whether through expungement, record sealing, or legal consultation, individuals can take proactive steps to address the consequences of a DUI conviction and move forward with their lives.

At The Wagner Law Firm, we understand the complexities and nuances of West Virginia DUI law, and we’re here to provide the guidance and advocacy you need. If you’re facing DUI charges or grappling with the aftermath of a conviction, don’t navigate this journey alone. Our experienced attorneys are ready to stand by your side, offering personalized legal counsel and fighting tirelessly to protect your rights and future.

Contact us today for a confidential consultation and let us help you navigate the legal landscape with confidence. Your future is our priority, and we’re here to help you every step of the way.