(This post updated on April 18, 2020.)
A reckless driving conviction can impact your future employment opportunities and current employability. Whether a potential employer will care will depend on their hiring policies. And whether a current employer will care will depend on their employee conduct and retention policies. Truckers and bus drivers are particularly vulnerable. Some of my clients are military members or government contractors concerned about getting or maintaining a security clearance.
Most employment applications ask an individual whether they have been convicted of any crimes. Regardless of whether this is asked on an application or not, a conviction for reckless driving would show up in a criminal background check. Employers choosing from many qualified individuals may skip over an individual with a criminal misdemeanor conviction of reckless driving, even if their company policies may not “require” them to disqualify such an individual.
In 2013, I had a client that was concerned that a conviction would adversely affect his employment application to be a firefighter in Virginia Beach. He was absolutely right in his concern. At that time, the City of Virginia Beach listed firefighter applicant disqualifiers on its website. In 2013, the website explained that: “Any conviction of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol; unreasonable refusal to submit to blood or alcohol tests; reckless driving; eluding police; racing; leaving the scene of an accident; or any suspension of driving privileges within the last five years from time of documentation review” is a disqualifying factor, which shall result in non-selection for employment opportunities with the Virginia Beach Fire Department. I was glad to help him avoid a conviction.
Today (April 18, 2020), upon checking the links to the City of Virginia Beach Firefighter and the City of Virginia Beach Police Department websites, it appears that both the Virginia Beach Fire Department and Police Department have relaxed their rules on reckless driving convictions. Now, the City of Virginia Beach Police Department will not hire anyone with “[a]ny conviction of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, refusal to take blood or breath test, eluding police, racing, or leaving the scene of an accident within the last 5 years.” Notably removed was the “reckless driving” disqualifier. However, while a reckless driving conviction is not an automatic disqualifier, the departments will be concerned about “[p]atterns of reckless and/or irresponsible driving” and will ask you to explain why they should still hire you.