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DUI and Your Job

As if finding work in today's tight job market isn’t hard enough already, a DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated) arrest or conviction can make your job search much more difficult. If you’re already employed, a DUI could set your career back to square one.

Some employers may terminate longtime employees for DUI convictions. In addition, insurance companies may advise their business clients to verify that prospective and current employees have never been convicted of DUI to avoid substantial jury awards. 

Fairly or unfairly, a DUI charge – and not even a conviction – can undermine your best efforts to secure employment. Many employers are reluctant to hire applicants who have DUI arrests or convictions on their records, regardless of their educational background, employment history, or qualifications. 

Fairly or unfairly, a DUI charge can undermine your best efforts to secure employment. Many employers are reluctant to hire applicants who have a DUI on their records, regardless of their qualifications.

A drunk driving arrest or conviction can haunt you, too. Background checks and simple Internet searches make it easy for recruiters and employers to dig up information about job candidates. No contest pleas, guilty pleas, and guilty verdicts during a DUI trial leave indelible blemishes on your record. Other adverse consequences include fines, higher auto insurance costs, suspension of driving privileges, damage to one’s reputation, and even jail time. 

Make the intelligent move--use a BACtrack Breathalyzer to stay aware of your alcohol level and that of your loved ones. Stay safe, and never get behind the wheel if you've been drinking. Additionally, make sure your designated driver is at 0.00% before taking the keys.  

Costs and Consequences

Consider the ramifications to your current job, job search, and career if you are convicted of drunk driving.

  • Reduced Opportunities – A DUI conviction may prevent you from being hired for a job, depending on the career field you want to enter. Positions that involve driving, such as sales, truck driving, pizza delivery, catering, or cab driving jobs, may be closed to those who have DUI convictions on their records. And for good reason. Companies must pay for a replacement vehicle should you have an accident while driving drunk. School districts, government agencies, law enforcement, and most medical professions are also likely to pass over applicants who have DUIs on their records. If you wish to work with investors, you will need to be fully vetted to ensure that you can be trusted with their money.
  • Background Checks – Many companies conduct background checks to screen potential new hires and may require a clean driving and/or criminal record. During the job application process, applicants usually need to disclose any criminal history, including convictions for DUI. If a DUI appears on a background check, the applicant may be passed over. DUI arrests and convictions can also have consequences when seeking acceptance the military or admission into professions that have licensing requirements. 
  • Perceptions – Many employers view DUIs as symptomatic of potentially deeper issues, such as alcoholism, and are wary of hiring applicants with DUIs because employees with alcohol problems drive costs up for businesses. Research shows that employees with drinking problems have higher injury rates and lower performance standards, and miss more work than other employees. 
  • License Suspension – If a judge revokes your driving privileges, your job options may be severely limited. Without transportation, you would need to find new ways to commute to your job, such as public transportation or carpooling, which could impact your punctuality and even attendance.
  • Time Off Work – Between court dates, jail time, and court-mandated community service, a DUI conviction can cause conflicts with your work schedule. You will need time off from your job if you are required to perform community service following a DUI conviction. You may also be required to serve jail time or court-ordered counseling sessions. If you are seeking a job, interviews may be difficult to schedule and hiring managers would need to consider the hours that you would be available to work before making a decision. 
  • Job Loss – For some professions, a DUI conviction can be more than a temporary obstacle – it can be a career-ender. School teachers, coaches, and politicians, for example, are often forced to resign following DUI convictions. Some employers that require clean driving records may pass over applicants with DUIs. In addition, many employers do not want the additional liability and higher cost associated with insuring drivers who have previous DUI convictions, particularly felony DUI convictions.

Finding a Job if You Have a DUI 

It isn’t impossible to find a new job if you have DUI arrest or conviction on your record, but it isn’t easy, either. Many employers are leery of hiring an applicant with a DUI arrest or conviction. Human resource experts recommend the following approach to your job search if you have a DUI on your record. 

  • Disclosure – Employers usually require that applicants disclose criminal history, including DUI convictions. You should be forthright about your DUI conviction as failure to disclose it could prevent your being hired. However, many companies and professions will consider the circumstances of your DUI conviction during screening process before making a hiring decision.
  • Disclosure Timing – During an initial job interview or introduction, do not volunteer to the hiring manager or headhunter that you have been arrested or convicted of a DUI unless they ask. Disclosure of this information at the earliest stage of an interview process sends unnecessary warning signals to the employer or headhunter and could undermine your opportunities to advance to the next stage. 
  • Be Honest – If you have a DUI arrests and conviction, your reliability and trustworthiness may be called into question by a hiring manager. However, these issues can be addressed during the interview. If you sense that an employer is interested in you as a potential candidate, you should explain how and when you received your DUI. HR experts recommend that you do this before you fill out an application. Be honest, because even small companies use sophisticated background checks to access your criminal history. If you haven’t been truthful, they may not give further consideration to your candidacy. Employers may still hire you if you are the right candidate for the job –  and you allay their concerns about the circumstances of your DUI. 
If you have a DUI arrests and conviction, your reliability and trustworthiness may be called into question by a hiring manager.

A DUI conviction can set your career back for years. By looking down the road at the consequences of a DUI, you can stay on track.

Shop for BACtrack Breathalyzers now.

This information is provided by BACtrack, Inc. solely for informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice.