Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Operating Under the Influence (OUI) not only lands you in legal trouble, but it can affect other aspects of your life. It’s important to know how it can affect you professionally, so you can better navigate the aftermath at work. Depending on whether you currently have a job, or are looking for a new one, this article is here to assist you in your career.
If your conviction is recent, it’s always best to work with a Concord DUI lawyer for appropriate legal advice.
If You’re Currently Employed
As a currently employed person, when you’re charged with a DUI, one of your first concerns is whether or not to let your employer know. The requirements will vary depending on your industry.
Certain industries have zero-tolerance policies regarding breaking the law–such as transportation, healthcare, and law enforcement. Employees in these industries may have contracts that stipulate the necessity of a clean criminal record, and failure to disclose a DUI could result in termination or disciplinary action.
You may want to review your company’s policy to be sure.
If You Have a Professional License
Individuals with professional licenses or certifications may face additional challenges. Medical professionals, lawyers, pilots, and others are at risk of losing their licenses following a DUI conviction.
Reporting the incident to the relevant licensing boards is typically mandatory, and consequences may range from suspension to revocation, depending on the severity of the offense and the individual’s professional responsibilities.
For Those Looking for Employment
If you don’t have a job, you may wonder how it will affect future employment opportunities. Many employers conduct background checks before offering a candidate a position, and a DUI record may show up during a background check–depending on the position.
If driving is a critical part of the job duties, such as commercial truck driving, then an employment screening will likely check candidates’ driving records before making a hiring decision.
Depending on your state, your record has different lengths for how long a DUI will be listed. You can check your state requirements here.
Even if the job doesn’t have driving responsibilities, the stigma associated with DUIs may lead some employers to hesitate in hiring individuals with such convictions. Some may see it as a warning sign of risky behavior.
However, you don’t have to shy away from your past. Having a DUI on your record is not the end of the world, and you can learn how to talk about your experience effectively.
Should You Disclose a DUI to a Potential Employer?
If a job application asks whether you have been convicted of a crime, it is good practice to tell the truth. To do otherwise and for your potential employer to find out during a background check would look much worse than simply being honest.
If there is a space to explain on the application, you can mention the date of the offense and the steps you took after the conviction to pay for your crime. Provide all information you can, such as community service, volunteer work, or alcohol education classes.
If someone asks about it during the interview, you can say that it was a mistake and that you’ve since learned your lesson. The point is to show that it was in the past and that you would not make the same mistake again. Prepare for the question in advance, so you’re not caught off guard.
How an employer responds will depend on the industry, company culture, and individual hiring manager. Employers are legally allowed to not hire someone because of a criminal record. But that doesn’t mean a candidate should lie, and an empathetic employer might commend your transparency.