A charge and conviction of driving under the influence can negatively impact your job prospects even under the best of circumstances. It signals to potential employers that you have made bad choices in the past. It also could alert them that you cannot be trusted with any type of responsibility.
Before you pursue a career path, you may want to find out for sure what kind of impact a DUI on your record could have on your future. You also may need to learn about your state’s laws to determine if you can avoid harsh DUI penalties or have your DUI convictions expunged from your record.
How Does a DUI Affect Applying for a Job?
The impact that a DUI can have on your job prospects now and in the future largely depends on what career path you want to pursue. It also depends on the state laws you live in or the laws in the state in which you were convicted of DUI.
At the very minimum, the presence of a DUI on your criminal and driving record could narrow your job field. If you wanted to join a high-paying white collar profession, you might find yourself out of the running for jobs at this level. You may have to lower your job sights and your ambitions until you can get the DUI removed from your record.
Even simple entry-level jobs many times involve having to go through a background check. For example, if you apply for a job as a pizza delivery driver, your potential employer is going to want to know if you have any blemishes on your driving record. A DUI could make you ineligible for the job because the employer cannot trust you not to drive under the influence while delivering pizzas.
Of course, sometimes the DUI will not matter in the job application process if you were convicted under DUI under your state’s misdemeanor laws. A misdemeanor DUI typically does not carry the same kinds of legal ramifications on your future as a felony DUI. Further, a misdemeanor stays on your record for a shorter period of time than a felony conviction.
Still, you may be embarrassed to apply for any job with a DUI on your driving or criminal record. Depending on your state’s laws, you could have the charges against you argued down or dismissed entirely. After you are arrested on suspicion of DUI, you should hire an attorney who knows the state’s laws and can help you avoid the harshest penalties. A DUI attorney can also use the state’s laws to have your criminal and driving record expunged.
Can You Apply for a Firefighter Job with a DUI?
Many states have laws on the books that prevent felony DUI offenders from applying for jobs in the public service sector. The laws apply to careers like becoming a firefighter. If you have always dreamed of becoming a firefighter but have a DUI on your record, your dreams may be thwarted depending on what the state laws are where you live or what the laws say about the age and severity of the DUI charges.
Further, many fire departments have laws of their own that stipulate who can and cannot apply for jobs with them. In fact, many of these departments have no-tolerance laws that say that anyone with a DUI on their record cannot be considered for a firefighter position.
However, many of these laws are not necessarily as black and white as they seem, allowing some people to apply for and be offered jobs as firefighters even with DUI convictions on their records. A DUI is not an automatic disqualifier, although it will make it more challenging for the applicant to prove his or her mettle to the department.
In particular, if the conviction resulted from a misdemeanor under the state’s laws, it may not be as big of an impediment than a felony conviction. Many misdemeanor DUI convictions are doled out to minors or to people whose blood alcohol content levels were barely above the legal limit established by the laws in the state.
Further, some firefighter department laws say that if an applicant with a DUI on his or her record can prove that he or she has matured and not been a repeat DUI offender, this person could be considered for a firefighter position. You may need the help of an attorney to either get your record expunged or to secure a certificate of rehabilitation or pardon if you have a prior misdemeanor or felony DUI conviction.
Can You Apply to Be a Teacher with a DUI on Your Record?
When it comes to applying to become a private or public school teacher, the laws in the state where you live will largely have the final say. Most states have clear and in-depth laws in place to protect children from being taught by people who may not be the most responsible and safest individuals. Even if the DUI was a misdemeanor charge, you still could find it very difficult to get past the first round of interviewing especially once you undergo a background check. Unless you have your record expunged, your DUI conviction will be visible to potential employers including school districts with which you apply.
Further, having a DUI on your record can put any teaching certifications or licenses that you already have in jeopardy. Many state laws do not allow for even a single DUI arrest or conviction. If you are found guilty of DUI, you may have to resign your position or take a demotion from your current position. Again, the laws vary from state to state, which is why it is always best to retain a lawyer who knows the state’s laws in which you plan to teach or are already teaching.
A DUI attorney will be well-versed in the state’s DUI laws and know how to argue your case to help you avoid harsh legal penalties. With a skilled lawyer by your side, you could avoid being convicted of the charge. You may end up with a charge of public indecency or noise disturbance rather than a misdemeanor or felony DUI conviction. An expert lawyer could even have the charges against you dropped if he or she can find evidence to exonerate you under the state’s current laws.
Teaching is an honored profession that you may want to pursue in the near future. A DUI can be your worst enemy when you have your sights set on this type of job.
Applying to Become a Police Officer with a Prior DUI
The laws are pretty clear in many states about who can and cannot become a police officer. In general, someone who wants to become a law enforcement officer must have a spotless prior record. This requirement is a given considering that the person will be responsible for enforcing the laws in his or her city, county, or state. How can this person enforce the laws if he or she has broken the laws in the past?
With that, you should appreciate the peril that a DUI can put your aspiring law enforcement career goals in if you have this conviction on your driving or criminal record. You have to go through an extensive background check before you can move onto the next phase of applying to become a police officer. Once the DUI is found, you could be disinvited from the rest of the application process.
Again, the laws about becoming a police officer with a prior DUI are not necessarily black and white or clear cut. If you were convicted as a juvenile or 10 years has passed since your offense, you may be given a chance to redeem yourself in the eyes of your potential law enforcement employer. You need to prove that you have not committed the offense again and that you have matured and no longer drive after drinking alcohol.
Of course, you also have the option of having your record expunged if the laws in your state allow you to do so. A DUI attorney will know about the expunction laws in your state. He or she can then walk you through the process of requesting an expunction from the court. Having an expunged record may allow you to apply for a police officer job and move on through all of the phases of interviewing and accepting the position for which you have applied.
Joining the Military with a DUI Arrest or Conviction
The laws that you have to worry about when you want to join the military with a prior DUI are not state laws but rather federal laws. Federal DUI laws can be more stringent and severe particularly in light of this offense. Depending on the type of DUI you have on your record, you could possibly enlist in the military. However, the process for doing so is much more challenging.
In fact, every branch of the military can afford to be picky when it comes to choosing new recruits. The open positions are very competitive and very selective, meaning that if you have a DUI on your record you could be less attractive as a candidate than someone who has a spotless record.
If joining the military is really your dream job, you need to take steps to keep your record as clean as possible. If you have already been arrested for drunk driving, you need a good attorney who knows the state’s laws and can decide what type of legal path for you to pursue. The charges may not be able to be argued down, which means you need another option if you want the DUI to be removed or not viewed as harshly as a felony conviction.
Your best choice depending on your state’s laws could be to submit to some type of legal diversion. For example, the court may give you the chance to re-educate yourself or go through some type of rehabilitation process to get clean. The court will monitor your alcohol use and driving habits.
If you avoid drunk driving while under the supervision of the court, you could avoid having a permanent DUI put on your record. This opportunity again will depend on the laws where you live or have been arrested for the offense. However, it could be your best option if you want to join the military and prove that you are responsible enough to handle weapons, serious duties, and sensitive information.
Can You Be a CDL Driver with a Prior DUI?
Drivers with CDL licenses are trusted to be among the safest motorists on the interstates and highways. They are often tasked with the monumental job of driving big rig semis and massive tractor-trailers that haul thousands of pounds of consumer and commercial goods. People with CDLs are expected to be better than the average motorist when it comes to operating these kinds of vehicles.
With that in mind, it makes sense that many states have laws that prohibit DUI offenders from obtaining a CDL on their driving records. The presence of this conviction on a criminal and driving record demonstrates that the person made a poor choice in the past to drink and then get behind the wheel of a vehicle. State laws cannot allow for such liabilities on the public roadways.
That is not to say that you will be permanently barred from getting a CDL if you have been arrested and convicted for drunk driving in the past. If the conviction is older than 10 years or you were a minor when you committed the crime, you could have it expunged from your record. Likewise, if you pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of DUI, you could request to have it expunged from your record altogether.
If you have your sights set on becoming a CDL driver, it is best to avoid getting a DUI entirely. You need a good lawyer arguing for you in court. Your attorney may get the charges lowered or work it out with the court for the DUI not to remain on your driving record for longer than a few years.
If circumstances prove that you were innocent of the charge, your attorney may even be able to get the charges against you dismissed from the court system. These options allow you to pursue a CDL even if you have been arrested for driving under the influence in the past.
Applying for a Government Job with a DUI on Your Record
A government job affords a number of unique benefits not found with other career paths. You may want to become a government employee because of the good benefits afforded for these positions and the generous vacation and days off that you can enjoy each year.
However, can you really apply for and get a government job if you have a DUI on your record? The answer to this question will depend on the laws in your state and for what job you are applying within the government. Some jobs like those with intelligence agencies or public transportation may be off limits.
However, other positions like working at the DMV or as a county clerk might be open to you if you can show that the conviction was a misdemeanor or that more than a decade has passed since your conviction. The most important aspect to prove to a potential government employer is that you have matured since your conviction and that you have avoided repeat drunk driving offenses.
If you cannot prove that you are not a repeat offender, it might be best for you to hire a lawyer who can file for an expunction of your record. The expunction will make the record effectively sealed in the eyes of the law and off-limits to the employer. The charges and conviction should not show up during a routine background check.
Government workers are expected to possess a certain amount of integrity and honor in their positions. They are entrusted with serving the public and putting the best interests of the taxpayers first. A conviction of drunk driving can mar your reputation and put your ability to carry out your duties in the government job in doubt. An expunction may be your best option if you already have DUI on your record.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is never a wise choice. It is an offense that has long-lasting ramifications on most areas of your life. When you have serious job aspirations, you need to know how this conviction will affect your career prospects.
Rather than allow a foolish mistake to haunt you, you may be able to pick up the pieces of your career dreams by retaining a good DUI attorney and learning how to either get the charges dropped or reduced or how to get your DUI conviction expunged from your criminal and driving records. Your attorney can advise you on the best option to pursue in light of the career aspirations you have.