Driving under the influence is an offense that is placed on the criminal record upon conviction. Getting a DUI can have long-term consequences from an employment perspective. However, mistakes can be made during DUI arrests and a good defense lawyer will identify and point these out to the court. If a DUI arrest does not result in conviction, the outcome will be different.
After being convicted of a DUI and facing the monetary consequences and license suspension, many people think the worst is behind them. Unfortunately, a DUI conviction can remain on the driving record for between three and twelve years based on state of residence. While the DUI is on the record, the state court system will view the individual as a repeat offender. How employers view the conviction can be just as damaging.
In most states, a DUI conviction is considered a driving infraction and a serious crime. Many employers conduct criminal background checks prior to extending employment offers. These investigations may reveal both DUI arrests and convictions. These blemishes will remain on the criminal record forever unless the record is sealed.
An important distinction exists between a DUI arrest and a conviction. When a court dismisses a DUI case, a note is added to the criminal record explaining that the charge was dropped. An employer may not view this as a deterrent to hiring the individual. Employers take DUI convictions more seriously but according to state law, even a conviction may not prevent someone from being hired.
DUI and Current Employers
Employed individuals often worry that a DUI will affect their current jobs. In some cases, it might, but usually only if it results in a conviction. DUI penalties typically include driver license suspension so workers who drive company vehicles may lose their jobs. If jail time is a penalty of DUI conviction, the time away from work can lead to firing for excessive absenteeism. Individuals who work in the public eye may be terminated based on the potential affect on the employer’s reputation.
The good news is that employers are not usually permitted to inquire about a DUI arrest that did not result in conviction. While good DUI attorneys never recommend lying about a DUI conviction, they may also advise clients not to volunteer information regarding a DUI charge that was dropped. Consult an attorney through DUIRights.com to learn about regulations in your state and how to handle a DUI arrest or conviction.