Many people make reckless mistakes when they are teenagers and young adults. Mishaps like driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol can come back to haunt you long after you have grown up and moved on with your life.
When you are interested in a law enforcement career after a DUI has been placed on your record, you may wonder Can You Become a Cop With A DUI conviction from the past? The answer to this question can depend on the state in which you plan to work and the police department at which you plan to apply. You can better your chances of becoming a police officer with a DUI by hiring an attorney to help you avoid an intoxicated driving condition or clean up your criminal and driving records.
How a DUI Can Impact Your Law Enforcement Career
What is the answer to Can You Become a Cop With A DUI on your record? As noted, the answer to this question can be unclear and largely dependent on what state you want to work in as well as for what law enforcement agency you want to work.
Some police departments throughout the U.S. are overwhelmingly forgiving and can overlook a single past indiscretion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Your LEO recruiter might acknowledge that you made a single mistake that could happen to anyone and thus pose no risk to the public’s safety. If you have multiple DUI convictions, however, you may be viewed as a liability and not allowed to continue with the recruitment and application process.
This single discretion can also be overlooked easier if it occurred several years ago rather than recently. An old DUI conviction may not disqualify you from joining the law enforcement sector especially if you do not have any recent offenses on your criminal or driving record. Multiple DUI offenses could sink your chances of becoming a police officer, however.
Finally, a DUI conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol may be overlooked easier than a conviction of driving under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs. The sale and use of alcohol is legal in every U.S. state, making alcohol DUI offenses relatively more common than drug-related DUIs. In fact, the prior use of illegal drugs alone could prevent you from becoming a police officer anywhere in the U.S.
So what can you do if you have a DUI on your record and still want to start a career in law enforcement? For that matter, what are your options if you are about to apply for a police officer job but have recently been arrested for DUI? Your best option for both situations involves hiring a competent and experienced DUI attorney to help you today.
Why Hire a DUI Attorney to Help Your Law Enforcement Career Chances
What can a DUI attorney do to help you become a police officer? A skilled DUI lawyer can actually do a lot to better your chances of embarking on a long, successful, and honest career in law enforcement. For example, if you already have a DUI conviction on your record, you may prefer that it not be visible to a recruiter who might conduct a thorough background check on you.
When recruiters do background checks, they can typically see all of your prior driving and criminal offenses regardless of how long ago these crimes took place. The smallest mistake from decades ago could sink your chances of becoming a police officer.
As such, you might want a DUI conviction to be off-limits to the person doing your background check. Rather than withdraw your application for employment or outright lie about your past, you can hire a DUI lawyer to have the record expunged.
An expungement means that the DUI conviction is essentially hidden from certain parties who perform background checks on you. People like law enforcement or corporate recruiters, leasing agents, insurers, and others cannot see the conviction and thus will have no knowledge that you were ever arrested for and convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
You may be able to get the record expunged easier if certain criteria apply to your DUI case. Some courts will approve an expungement request if you:
- were a juvenile when the offense took place
- satisfied the terms of your community service, jail sentence, or monetary fines
- were wrongfully convicted or had your rights violated
- had ambiguous field sobriety test results
Your attorney can review the specifics of your case and request an expungement if the right circumstances apply. This concealment of your conviction could allow you to move forward with your plans to become a police officer.
A DUI lawyer can also be your best ally as you pursue a police officer career if you have recently been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. As mentioned, a recent DUI conviction can bar you from going through with the LEO application and vetting process. You need to avoid a conviction if you want recruiters to take you seriously and give you a fair chance of pursuing your law enforcement career goals.
As such, you need a DUI lawyer to take your case and fight for you in court. You should retain an attorney immediately after your arrest and ideally after you have been booked and processed at the police station. If you can, you should get one on retainer before you appear at your arraignment hearing.
If you cannot hire one before you are arraigned, you should retain a lawyer as soon as you make bail and are released from jail. Your attorney can immediately begin working your case, making sure that your rights are protected and that you were legally pulled over, tested, and detained for DUI.
Your attorney can also bargain down the charges against you or ask to have them dropped if you are a first-time or juvenile offender. If you have no prior convictions for any offense, let alone DUI, you may succeed in having the charges reduced greatly or dismissed altogether.
If not, your lawyer may be able to settle out of court so that your case avoids going to trial. If you go to trial, the details of your case may be released to the local media where anyone including LEO recruiters can read about it.
By settling out of court and taking a plea bargain, you may avoid the public scrutiny that could sink your LEO career plans later. A settlement also could result in you being sentenced to community service or paying monetary fines rather than jail time.
These punishments work in your favor better if you want recruiters to overlook your DUI conviction. If you served time in jail, which is a sentence that can be handed down to you if your case goes to trial, you more than likely will not be considered for any position in law enforcement.
Many people assume that police officers have spotless criminal and driving records and that they have never been convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, police officers are like anyone else in the public and prone to making mistakes that they later regret.
Do not allow a DUI conviction to stop you from pursuing your law enforcement career dreams. Find out what it takes to become a police officer with a DUI on your record and how you can start a law enforcement career after a DUI. You may find that achieving your goals of becoming a police officer is easier if you have a skilled and experienced DUI attorney helping you as you strive to avoid a DUI conviction and clean up your past criminal and driving records.