If you’re searching for a job, a DUI won’t make it any easier. While getting a DUI may not seem particularly harmful at the time, especially considering more people in the U.S get convicted of DUIs than any other crime, it’s a criminal offense that can haunt you the rest of your life. Not only can it affect your ability to get a job, but it can also affect the type of job you get.
With the exception of cases involving injury and death, or offenders with multiple DUIs, the majority of DUI charges are misdemeanors. However, even a misdemeanor DUI conviction can narrow your job prospects.
As you begin looking for employment after a DUI, most employers will ask if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime. Many employers also now run background checks, so it’s important to be candid and tell the truth about your DUI if asked about your past misdemeanor or felony convictions.
“Will a DUI prevent me from getting a job?” This is a popular question asked by everyone arrested for DUI, and honestly, it depends on the type of job you’re applying for.
If you’re looking to work in a field that requires driving, working with children, or operating heavy machinery, a DUI conviction will almost certainly rule you out. In other fields, however, your DUI conviction may not be a concern for employers.
What Type of Job Are You Applying For?
When getting a job after a DUI, almost any type of driving job will be tough to obtain. Companies who hire drivers usually can’t hire anyone convicted of a DUI within five to seven years after the arrest due to increased insurance rates.
Many other employers view DUIs seriously because a DUI conviction may indicate a potential alcohol or drug problem. Not only will many companies not want to work around the time off needed for drug classes and court cases, but they may wonder about your ability to safely perform the job as well.
For some occupations, the effects of a DUI conviction can be immediate and severe. Military members can be denied promotion, merchant seaman and anyone with an FAA license are immediately investigated, and teachers are often fired.
Don’t let a DUI conviction ruin your job prospects or current career. Consult with a DUI lawyer today before pleading your guilt!
Arrest vs Conviction – What’s the Difference?
When asking yourself, “Will a DUI prevent me from getting a job,” another factor to consider is whether you were convicted of a DUI or simply arrested. In most states, employers are allowed to ask job candidates about past convictions, but they’re not allowed to ask about arrests.
That being said, some states allow certain employers to inquire about prior arrests. For example, for those living in California, anyone applying for a job as a pharmacist, nurse, or any other occupation with access to medication must disclose any drug arrest, not just convictions.
However, for most people seeking employment after a DUI, there’s no need to volunteer information about the arrest, and information about the conviction should only be given if specifically asked on an application or during an interview.
If you’re having a hard time finding the job you want after a DUI conviction, consider talking with an attorney to get it expunged from your record. Although your original attorney wasn’t able to beat your DUI charges, an experienced DUI attorney may be able to help clear your name.
Getting a Job After a DUI
If you aren’t applying for a job with restrictions regarding DUI applicants, make sure to prepare some answers in advance to minimize any damage caused by your DUI conviction. While you shouldn’t volunteer any information, don’t hide the truth if asked about prior convictions. A background check, which most employers perform these days, will disclose the DUI and any other convictions you may have.
According to researchers at the University of West Virginia, DUI is the most common crime in the U.S., so an interviewer shouldn’t be shocked to discover it on your record. When explaining the DUI, keep it short and try to sound as apologetic as possible. However, don’t overdo it. Simply mention you had a momentary lapse in judgement, you’ve learned your lesson, and won’t do it again.
Although that should suffice, don’t stop there. Follow up by providing some recent examples of responsible actions and let the employer know you’re striving to make positive changes in your life.
Here are a couple more helpful tips to overcome employment discrimination and ensure a DUI conviction doesn’t come between you and your next job:
• Secure a Strong Referral
Your resume won’t come to your defense when a hiring manager spots an issue and wonders about the negative impacts it may have on his business. Only someone who knows you well can defend you and put to rest legitimate concerns by emphasizing the benefits and results you’ll provide an employer.
The answer is a simple one: Invest your time in securing a strong referral. Choose a credible person who respects you and have him or her contact the employer to give their recommendation of you as an employee.
Depending on your relationships with past managers or bosses, this may be easier said than done. However, it’s definitely the best tactic and well worth the effort.
A reference doesn’t necessarily have to be a former boss. It could be a previous co-worker, a manager from another department, or even a customer who respects you and knows your work ethic. In any event, your reference should be someone who’ll pick up the phone, make the call, and go the extra mile on your behalf.
• Help the Employer See What Matters Most
An employer has a right to be worried if your background check shows a DUI. After all, any red flags could become a risk to the business. Therefore, it’s up to you to remove any doubts and ease any worrying.
To do so, be candid and honest about your DUI, but make it a point not to dwell on it. If the subject arises, answer any questions and quickly shift the focus towards your ability and commitment to improve the success of the business. In other words, draw attention away from your problems by focusing on what matters most: improving the business and the bottom line. Show you’re worth the perceived risk.
A DUI Lawyer Can Help
If you’ve been charged with a DUI, it’s vital for your freedom, finances, and future job prospects to talk to an experienced DUI lawyer today!
In addition to being able to answer any questions you may have regarding jail time, suspension of your license, fines, and so on, a DUI attorney will do everything in his power to receive a not guilty plea or have the charges dismissed to keep your record clean.
With DUI cases, it’s critical to review all of the options with a DUI lawyer prior to entering a plea. A guilty plea and sentence is difficult to undo after entering your final plea, so make sure your attorney understands your career goals to take every measure possible to avoid a plea deal.
That being said, if a “not guilty” verdict seems like a longshot, a DUI attorney may be able to negotiate a deal that minimizes the impact of a DUI conviction on your career. He or she may also be able to handle any possible employment discrimination claims that arise and have your DUI expunged if convicted.
Have you been arrested for a DUI? Worried about losing your job? Do yourself and your future a favor by discussing your case with an experienced DUI lawyer today!