Does a DUI show up on a background check in Canada?

Whenever you are convicted of a crime in Canada the record will show up during any background check. Even if you are not found guilty there are records of the arrest that can easily be viewed by employers and other interested parties.

If you have a DUI conviction – or even i you have only been arrested for a DUI but not found guilty – you should apply to have your record removed.

Non conviction

If you were not convicted following a drunk driving arrest you should apply for a purge and file destruction.


If you were convicted for your arrest you need to apply for a pardon.

Getting a pardon or file destruction for a Drunk driving charge

If you think you will want to eventually obtain a pardon for your DUI charge the first thing you should do after being convicted is pay your fine. For the purpose of your pardon the sentence being considered will almost invariably be the fine you receive provided there was no jail time involved.

For whatever reason, the license suspension is not considered a part of the sentence during the pardon application. So it is conceivable that you could have your criminal record sealed but never bother getting your license back.

If you decide to apply for a pardon for a DUI charge you will want to make sure you have no traffic violations of any kind during the eligibility waiting periods as they can be used against you during the review process. But provided you meet the eligibility criteria and you satisfy the good conduct clause you will be able to seal your criminal record and remove that DUI charge once and for all.

Most driving offences – like speeding or making an illegal turn – are not criminal and, therefore, will not go on your criminal record. But impaired driving can be considered sufficiently serious to warrant a criminal conviction, especially if the driver has a blood alcohol level over 0.08.

These offences happen for lots of different reasons and this partly has to do with the fact that alcohol affects people in very different ways. Many of our clients say they didn’t feel drunk at all. Most were surprised when they failed the breathalyser test. But none were able to convince the police officer that it made any difference.

We also hear stories from people who say they remember getting drunk, but don’t remember getting in the car. But most cases fall somewhere between the two extremes. Usually the offenders know they’re too drunk to drive but risk it anyway because they need to get home.

If you’re convicted

Most impaired driving charges are dealt with summarily by the courts and the usual sentence is a fine and a suspended license. You will be able to apply for a pardon five years after you’ve paid your fine because the license suspension is not considered part of your sentence for the purposes of a pardon. So pay your fines as soon as possible to avoid delays getting your record cleared.

It’s possible for a DUI to lead to an indictment that comes with a heavier sentence but this is normally reserved for repeat offenders. It would also be common in cases where the offence was especially serious because it caused injury or involved further criminal activity like trying to evade the police.