How can a DUI affect your current and future employment?
Your poor choice of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can leave a permanent mark on your life, especially your employment career. Although a DUI conviction doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from employment, it may affect your employment status due to your criminal history.
A DUI charge can result in negative outcomes in your current and future job. However, although all jobs have different policies, one mistake doesn’t make you entirely unemployable. The harsh truth is that you’ll have to accept some bitter truths to get over your past mistakes, but there’s still time to make up for that.
Besides paying a significant amount of money and losing your driver’s license for a specific period, you might be faced with a criminal record that can change your career permanently. On top of that, statistics show that around 1.5 million people are yearly arrested for intoxicated driving, meaning all of these drivers put their lives and driving licenses at risk.
If you’re one of those unfortunate people who have made the same mistake, there are some things should be cautious about, especially when it comes to your career.
DUI and criminal records
If you’ve been convicted of a DUI, the conviction will usually appear on your criminal background check as it’s considered to be a crime in all states. Although states have different BAC levels, many states have adopted the 0.08% limit, meaning if you exceed the limit, you’re immediately considered intoxicated.
Additionally, in some states, DUI charges can appear as traffic offenses, leading to an MVR background check, also known as a motor vehicle record. In these same states, certain factors can result in felony charges or misdemeanors, which are likely to show on your criminal background check because they’re traffic-related.
If that’s the case with you, perhaps it’s time to seek legal help. Your DUI attorney and the charges you will face depend on many factors – all of which can be resolved with the help of a professional lawyer who knows how to handle unique cases. They can help lessen the consequences of your mistakes or help with your employment.
How can a DUI affect your career?
It’s no surprise that a DUI affects your life and employment in many ways. Depending on the severity of your case and the state, a DUI can remain on your driving record for three to ten years. That said, a conviction can have a significant impact on your current and future job opportunities in different ways, such as:
- The court can revoke or suspend your driving privileges
- You can lose your job for a DUI
- You can get a three-year disqualification for CDL (driving a commercial vehicle) which can last up to 10 years
- Potential employers may choose not to hire you due to your record
- Licensing in some professions such as doctors, insurance agents, educators, or real estate agents are likely to suspend or revoke your license after a DUI
While it may be more challenging to find a new career after a DUI conviction, it’s not impossible. For instance, you can search for positions that don’t require operating a vehicle. Apart from that, you can simply make an effort by highlighting your experience and skills to avoid losing job opportunities because of a DUI record.
As always, states have different laws regarding DUI record checks. Some of the main factors which can potentially expunge your criminal record include how much time has passed since your conviction and whether the DUI was your first offense.
If you want to request your DUI, your best bet is an experienced DUI attorney who can ensure a smooth and quick process.
Disclosing a DUI to your employer
Technically speaking, you’re not required to disclose your DUI conviction to a potential employer, unless they want to do a background check. If they do so, you may be disqualified from their list or they may ask you to explain why you didn’t disclose it beforehand.
Additionally, as an applicant, you have the right of disclosing criminal record. For example, according to Resource Center, ‘’federal agencies and contractors may not inquire into an applicant’s criminal history until after a conditional offer has been made.’’
In fact, approximately 96% of U.S. employers conduct a criminal background check on their potential employees for their job openings. Unfortunately, the main issue with a DUI conviction is that it can question your abilities to safely operate a vehicle for a specific job, especially in a field that requires business travel. In the worst case, a DUI may also make your employer think you have a substance abuse problem, leaving you jobless.
If you’re facing DUI criminal record inquiries and feel discriminated against it, you can learn more about your local laws and rights before applying for the next job. The next option is to contact an attorney for further options.
Jobs that a DUI can disqualify you from
As mentioned, many job openings will likely disregard your application due to your DUI convictions and disqualify you from working. Usually, jobs that include driving, operating other vehicles, or business travel have a strong policy regarding DUIs because your driver’s license might get suspended in the long run.
At the same time, there are other jobs that a DUI might prevent you from having, such as:
- Teacher or daycare worker
- Healthcare or other medical fields
- Military or government jobs
- Positions with sensitive information or documents
Each job has its limitations, some of which you can use to your advantage. For example, if a job involved sensitive information but doesn’t require you to drive a vehicle, you can justify your past mistakes by showcasing your values as an employee with experience.
Also, if you’ve already participated in rehabilitative programs, ensure to mention those programs when disclosing your DUI to show your potential employer that you have a strong desire to improve yourself.
Steps you should take after a DUI conviction
One of the most essential steps after acquiring a DUI conviction is to admit to the crime by contacting a professional DUI lawyer who specializes in this field. Their legal expertise can help improve your chances of having a clean record, especially if it’s a minor offense.
These attorneys can also develop a plea deal where you’re required to attend a rehabilitation program or do community service, which is used in exchange for a lesser sentence. As a result, that sentence can have little to no effect on your future job career.
If, however, you can’t afford an attorney, or you’re given a harsher sentence, you can still take legal steps to discuss other alternatives. For example, depending on where you live, you can consider expunging or sealing records if no further criminal activity has occurred after a specific period.
Going beyond legal action, you should always consider highlighting your strengths and experiences as a worker. When disclosing criminal charges, you shouldn’t give information unless you’re asked for it.
While it’s true that a DUI can cost you in many ways, its effects on your current and future employment can have significant consequences if you don’t take action immediately.