Drinking and driving has become a sort of epidemic nowadays and a huge number of people are convicted for driving under the influence. Whether you drink or not is your own decision. However, driving under the influence of alcohol and illegal substances is everybody’s problem as it often hurts people around you as well. We all say ”It won’t happen to me”, but just one mistake and you may end up in gaol, lose your license, hurt or kill somebody or yourself. Even if nobody gets hurt, and you still have your license, this mistake might affect your current job and future employment in a negative way or even end your career.
If you lose your license due to a DUI conviction, it will cost you a lot. You’ll need to reapply for a license, pay for driver’s classes and lose time and money on taxi or public transport. Being caught in a misdemeanor might cost you much more than just money and license, but you can prevent this from happening and evade serious punishment by knowing some legal loopholes. It’s best to contact a criminal defense attorney and employment lawyer immediately after the arrest to learn how it will affect your job. However, the best possible prevention is quite simple – don’t drink and drive.
How might DUI affect your work and future career? First, besides losing your driver’s license, you may lose your professional license as well. Many professional licensing agencies demand that every single arrest must be reported to them as soon as possible. Therefore, if you are a lawyer, nurse, doctor or a handyman, you might lose your license (depending on the laws in your state). If that happens, you will lose your job as well. Also, some employers have a mandatory firing policy in case of employee convictions and they demand immediate notification about the arrest. You can always find out your company’s policy regarding this matter by reading their handbooks and contracts.
What to do if you are looking for a new job and have a DUI on your record? Lots of people have DUI these days, and most attorneys think that this is not a thing that will necessarily end your career. However, the DUI will affect more those who are between jobs than those who already have a long career or a business. At the same time, even one single DUI conviction might have a detrimental impact on your future career if you’re employed or looking for a job in certain professions (a driver, for example).
Some states don’t allow employers to ask their potential or current employees about their convictions, but this is rarely the case. Also, have in mind that most companies run background checks on their employees. Certain professions (e.g. working with children) require disclosures that involve both spent and unspent recorded convictions, so your DUI will surely show up. Most people wonder what happens if they simply “hide” their DUI from their employers (in case they didn’t ask for notification). This is not against the law. However, if you lie about your DUI when asked directly about it, you may end up being fired, not because of your misdemeanor, but because you were lying.
How to bring this topic up at the job interview? Be honest when the employer directly asks you, and when the job application requires information about misdemeanors and felonies. Do not write about your DUI in the cover letter; this will just bring attention to it and give them a reason to eliminate you in the first round of job interviews. If the employer notices your DUI in the application form, they will probably ask you about it in the interview. After the interview, your employer will decide whether your mistake is important enough and whether it will affect your work performance.