Driving under the influence or a DUI can have serious consequences on almost every aspect of your life if you’re convicted and in some cases just arrested.
Not all DUI laws are the same, and there can be differences in the penalties based on factors such as what your blood alcohol concentration was when you were arrested, and whether you’re a first-time offender. Also relevant are factors like whether or not you injured someone.
Some of the specific laws related to a DUI include driving under the influence of alcohol, driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent, driving under the influence of drugs, and DUI with an injury. If you’re charged with a DUI-related crime you’re going to have to pay fines and penalties, you may be on probation, and you’re probably going to have to pay a lawyer to defend you as well.
Being charged with any of these and then convicted is going to have a lasting impact in ways you might not even initially realize. So what about your job and career specifically? How can a DUI conviction affect you at work or in a future work situation? There are direct and indirect consequences a DUI conviction can have on your career.
One of the primary penalties for a DUI, even if you’re a first-time offender, is license suspension. The specifics of this vary from state-to-state and situation to situation. However, in most cases when someone is convicted of driving under the influence, they will receive a license suspension that can last for several months. If someone is a second or third-time offender, the suspension will likely be even longer.
There may be restricted licenses so that someone can drive to school or work for example, but if not you may not be able to drive yourself to work.
If you do have a restricted license that allows you to drive to work, you may have to use an ignition interlock device.
If you don’t have this option during the time your license is suspended and you have problems getting to work or being there on time, it can be detrimental to your career.
Time Off Work
When you get a DUI, it’s going to take some time to handle everything that comes with it. You’ll have court dates, and possibly community service or even jail time. You’ll probably have to meet with your lawyer on different occasions as well. You may have to take classes or go to court-ordered counseling. All of these can interfere with your work schedule.
If you’re taking too much time off work, you may be using vacation days, or it may create a problem in your workplace that could lead to your eventual firing.
In some situations, a DUI conviction can lead to your immediate firing. For example, if you’re a teacher, a commercial driver or a member of law enforcement or the military a DUI conviction may lead to immediate job loss. If you do lose your job because of a DUI, then it’s going to be tough for you to find a similar position in the same field.
Maybe you’re not necessarily thinking about your current job, but you’re wondering how a DUI conviction could impact your ability to secure future employment. The answer here is that it depends. Different state laws determine what employers can screen for and ask.
In California, there are certificates of rehabilitation available for employment purposes for eligible individuals convicted of a DUI or other crimes. This can help remove some of the barriers to future employment. Also in California employers can’t ask about arrests that didn’t lead to a conviction.
In this state, if you complete your DUI probation, you can file a motion to set the verdict aside or withdraw your plea, and that shows in records that your case was dismissed.
These kinds of protections aren’t in place in all states, however, and in some states, just an arrest and not even a conviction can cause problems securing employment. It can also depend a lot on the type of job you’re applying for.
Ultimately if you are arrested for a DUI, the best thing to do is start working with a lawyer right away. A lawyer can help you fight the charges, and can help you get your life back on track and minimize the damage to your career or other areas of your life.
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