Speeding Ticket + Job Application

Around 1.5 years ago, I received a speeding ticket (81 in 65 at 9am) in another state. I pled guilty to the letter I received and paid the initial fine. Two weeks after I received a letter basically saying, “pay our county another couple hundred bucks and we won’t report this to your state DMV.” I did pay the extra money, and my insurance rates didn’t go up and I can’t find record of it outside of that particular County’s public driving records.

I am now applying to a job in my home state and one of the questions is if I have ever been cited for a traffic violation. Am I able to say “no” to this question? If I can’t, then what was the point of the extra money the county had asked for?


This is one of the reasons why I hate those background check forms. Just do the damn background check and find out whether I’ve been cited for a traffic violation! It’s ok, you’re a big boy, you can do this.

The main point is that if you were using a false identity at some time, you might forget which events are connected to your current identity or the others.
One such error means nothing on its own… its forgetting a whole string of facts that makes you suspicious.

If you put on the form a lot info which doesn’t show up on official records - perhaps you used a false identity.

Just say Yes.

It doesn’t matter much to the employer unless you’re applying for a job which involves driving a company vehicle.

Many of those forms are company-wide, so they ask questions that are irrelevant to many (most?) of the jobs in the company. But they might be important to some specific job classes, so they are included. The hiring manager will just ignore the ones that aren’t important for the specific job.

However, if you lie on the form, even on one of the ‘irrelevnt’ questions, they can fire you for this. Even much later. even if you have been employed for years before they happen to discover the lie. It’s a good excuse if they ever want t fire you, without paying severance, unpaid sick leave, etc.

My advice is to always state the truth on these types of forms. One speeding ticket? BFD.

As previously stated, many employers applications are cover all and some questions may not pertain to what you’re seeking, but answer all of them anyway. One thing they are looking for is honesty, so why roll the dice over a stupid speeding cite/ That’s not a serious offense at all.

But what jumps out at me is:

I’ve never heard of a legitimate example of this. Does this sound like a scam to anyone else? It’s hard to imagine a law that would allow such extortion.

ETA: Was the address you mailed the extra money to the same as where you sent the original fine money to?

It was, and the speeding ticket cannot be located if I make a request through my county’s drivers records department nor did my insurance rates go up. I don’t have the letter on me, but the gist of it was:

“Your offense has been reviewed and was deemed as something that we can offer you assistance with. This is due to your offense being declared as a [non-serious/forgiveable/lesser] offense. By agreeing to pay $2XX, we will not send out records of your offense to your local DMV. However, if you are convicted of any other traffic offense in [state], you will have forfeited this offer and we will be forced to submit this offense to your DMV.”

The original fine and this fine were both sent to the same department/address. All in all, I basically paid double the ticket’s value.

It’s an issue for me because the job I’m applying for does require small use of a company vehicle (1 day/week for approximately 3 hours) and I am exceptionally qualified for the position outside of the ticket.

Thanks for all the input so far!

There’s a lot of different ways an employer (or insurance company or whoever) can get your driving record, and the various “deals” the prosecutors will offer you on your tickets may or may not prevent them from showing up. Usually the deals will prevent points from showing up on your license, and might prevent the citation from showing up as a conviction for insurance underwriting purposes, but I definitely wouldn’t bet on it not showing up in a background check.

in Michigan, you have the option of requesting a “civil infraction conference” where you plead to a non-moving violation (thus no points) at the cost of a higher fine.

jyinap, just say “yes” to the question. it’s the honest answer and most of us have received a traffic citation at some point.

the point was that your insurance premium didn’t go up.

Just admit to it, and use the space to explain that it was dismissed (or whatever.) It’s always best to be honest on these things.

What’s the other county and state?

Stupid question, but what legally does “Cited” mean? Charged? Convicted?

You might always argue (if they find out about it) that to your understanding the arrangement you appeared to pay for was a discharge, your record was expunged and therefore does not count as a conviction… which is what appears to be the case if it’s not “discoverable”.

“Cite” is a slightly vague term, and one whose meaning has broadened over time. Orginally it mean a formal summons to court, either as a defendant or a witness, but nowadays its generally taken to cover any formal notification to a person that they may be liable to legal sanction for some breach of the law. So, although a speeding ticket may not be a conviction or even a charge - you only get charged if you fail to pay the ticket - it is a citation, as generally understood in this context, and it would be prudent to answer the question on that basis.

(I should that if you get the ticket, dispute it, fail to pay, get charged and are acquitted, you have still been “cited” and should answer accordingly.)

traffic violations are civil infractions. “charged” or “convicted” are criminal terms.

We have a similar dilemma for some people over here. A driver who gets caught for a minor speeding offence may be offered a “Speed Awareness Course”. There is a charge for this which is exactly the same as the fixed penalty fine would have been. The big advantage is that no points are awarded and most insurance companies ignore them.

The problem is that one insurer now asks - “if they have any motoring offences from the last 5 years”. Most companies ask about “convictions” to which drivers who (like me) have done a SAC can honestly answer “No”.

As far as employment goes, they are only concerned with points on a licence, so SAC’s don’t need to be disclosed.

It is interesting that police forces all over the country are pretty annoyed about this as they say it undermines the whole idea of SACs. Many drivers with clean licences will take the points rather than lose a day’s pay to attend a course.

Could you expand a little (or a lot!) on this or point me to a source that does?

I did a little googling and mostly found questions like this about a specific case.

The thing is- if you lie you can get fired or not hired. If you tell the truth, nothing bad can happen.
Say yes. If there’s space to explain add “offense was declared as a non-serious/forgivable/lesser offense”.

This is only true in some jurisdictions and circumstances. Reckless driving or driving without a license are traffic violations but are punishable as misdemeanors in most states.

IANAL, but…

AFAIK, in Canada it is illegal and a violation of a person’s rights for employers, insurers, etc. to ask if someone has been charged; you can only ask for convictions, and if pardons have been issued (matter of routine after 5 to 10 years of clean record after penalty is over for lesser offenses) you can honestly answer “no”. Speeding, illegal turns, etc. are violations of the provincial highway traffic act, so summary (lesser) convictions unless you fight and win.

The idea of being allowed to ask someone about situations where charges were not proven in court (or the person paid the fine, effectively pleading guilty) just seems utterly alien to me. The presumption will of course be that the person was somehow guilty anyway.

The OP did pay the fine.