You’re driving down the road when your brain registers sirens behind you. You move over to the side, hoping that the patrol car will go past you, but it doesn’t. You pull all the way over off the road and wonder what you did to draw the attention of a police officer.

By the time your encounter with the officer ends, you drive off with a traffic citation. Even though you don’t really want to pay the cost of the ticket, you may think that doing so as quickly as possible will put this unpleasant business behind you. Before you do that, however, you may want to take the time to consider what ramifications that citation could have on your employment prospects.

It isn’t that serious, is it?

Many Ohio employers run background checks on applicants. This includes a criminal history and possibly a driving history as well. Your traffic ticket could show up on either of these checks, depending on the infraction. What you may not realize is that some traffic violations are actually criminal violations.

Reckless driving, excessive speeding and the like may only result in you getting a ticket, paying a fine and adding points to your license, so it’s easy to forget it is actually a criminal offense. When determining whether that traffic stop will affect your ability to obtain employment, you need to consider this possibility along with the following:

  • The more over the speed limit the ticket indicates you were going, the more serious the infraction and the more a potential employer could consider it as a mark against you. 
  • Do police officers often pull you over for traffic violations? Even minor infractions add up when an employer reviews your record and sees multiple infractions in a short time span, since it establishes a pattern of behavior that may be unwelcome.
  • The more recent the citation is, the greater the possibility is that an employer will consider it when reviewing your application.
  • If you fail to pay the fines associated with the ticket, that could also count against you with a future employer.
  • Depending on the type of job you apply for, the company may have restrictions when it comes to traffic violations, which could exclude you from employment.

For these reasons, you may want to proactively deal with the matter. Under the right circumstances, you may even keep the ticket off your record, which would provide you with the optimal result. The only way to know for sure whether it will show up on your criminal or driving record is to explore your legal options and take action before simply paying the ticket and hoping it will go away.