Imagine driving across Phoenix on your way home from work. It’s Friday, so you decide to stop in and have a couple of cold ones at your favorite watering hole. At the end of happy hour, you hop back in your car and head home. You didn’t drink much and you feel totally fine to be behind the wheel, but what if you get pulled over by the police? Would you still pass a Breathalyzer test?
Unfortunately, many drivers still get behind the wheel after drinking and even a seemingly minor buzz might be enough to put them over the blood alcohol limit. The resulting driving under the influence (DUI) charge could cost you thousands in fines and court fees and even land you jail. Moreover, a DUI can do some serious damage to your career prospects. Here are a few ways that a DUI can affect your job.
Sensitive jobs and codes of conduct
Some jobs require that workers have clean criminal records. For instance, if you work with children, your employer might have grounds to let you go due to a DUI conviction. Jobs that require you to drive either your own car or a company vehicle while on the clock could also be out of your reach if you have a DUI on your record.
In addition, certain companies might have policies in place that prohibit hiring individuals with criminal records. In some industries, such as law, public accounting and medicine, the state licensing boards have a code of conduct employees must abide by. A DUI could be a violation of the code and a doctor, public accountant or lawyer could lose his or her license to practice.
Loss of license
In many cases, the Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your license as a result of a DUI conviction. If you cannot drive, you could be ineligible for many jobs since most employers require workers to have reliable transportation. If you do get a job, you will have to rely on public transportation, which can get expensive, or friends or family, which could be unreliable, to get to and from work. In other words, if you are late getting to work too many times, you could lose your job. Or, if you continuously have to take days off to attend court appearances and handle other legal issues associated with a DUI, your employer might decide to replace you with someone who does not need so much time off.
Character and disclosure
Even if you are not applying for a job that has policies in place about DUIs, you might still have to answer questions concerning criminal convictions. If your employer doesn’t ask, you do not have to volunteer the information. However, if your employer does ask and you lie about the conviction, it could cost you the employment opportunity.
If you have been charged with a DUI, keep in mind that you still have rights and options. With a proper defense, you might be able to fight back against the charges and keep your record clean.