How a DUI in DC Can Affect Employment

The impact that a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge has on person’s employment depends on the nature of the person’s job. Many jobs run background checks for employees or potential employees that can have an impact on the person’s ability to secure employment or maintain current employment. As a result, it is important that if you are charged with a DUI, you consult with a DC DUI lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the greater repercussions and begin building a defense. The following is information on the various ways that a charge can impact your employment.

DC Laws Regarding Background Checks

In DC, there are laws that prevent most employers from running background checks or inquiring into a potential employee’s criminal history prior to making a conditional offer of employment. These laws are referred to as “Ban-the-Box” laws. These laws exist to prevent the potentially unfair impact of people being discriminated against for criminal offenses that have absolutely no impact on their ability to do their job.

As a result of these employee protections, many DC employers cannot run background checks until after an offer for employment has been made. There are multiple kinds of DC employers including employers who deal with sensitive information or vulnerable populations that can still run background checks as a condition of employment. This varies greatly depending on the specific type of employment a person is seeking or the specific type of employment they already have and seek to maintain.

Impact of a DUI on Your Current Job

There are some jobs that only ask a person if they have been accused of a felony, which is a serious charge including robbery, burglary, murder, weapon possession or drug distribution that allows for higher penalties than what is permissible for a misdemeanor case such as DUI.

However, other jobs ask if a person was convicted of a crime including a misdemeanor or felony. That means they ask if a person has been found guilty and punished for any type of criminal offense. Since DUI is a misdemeanor offense, there are some jobs that want to know if a person has been convicted of a DUI.

That is not to say that being convicted of a DUI will necessarily result in a person being fired from their job; it could possibly result in their employer only inquiring about the offense. Depending on the additional circumstances of a person’s employment, it could have an adverse impact or adverse action against their employment.

There are other types of jobs, particularly jobs that deal with sensitive information including medical work, jobs in health care, or top secret government employment that inquire about any type of criminal involvement including an arrest without a conviction. The person’s employer inquiring or finding out about their arrest may not necessarily result in the employee being terminated. Those policies depend on the type of work and specific nature of the offense.

Impact on Future Employment

If a person applies for a job and has a DUI conviction on their record, it does not necessarily prevent the person from gaining employment. Many employers may see that a person has a DUI conviction on their record but will not hold that conviction against the prospective employee as long as the person does not have multiple DUI convictions and does not have any other disqualifying information on their records.

The potential employers that could possibly deny employment based on a DUI conviction could include government or private employers that require top secret security clearances, or certain kinds of employment where the belief that a person may have a problem with alcohol could have an impact on that employee’s ability to do a certain job.

There are many people who consider discrimination against people with minimal criminal history including conviction for Driving Under the Influence as unfair to that person’s ability to be able to move on from their criminal history and rebuild their lives after a criminal conviction. As a result of the more recent belief that people with criminal history should be entitled to second chances, many states are establishing laws and rules that limit discrimination against people with a minor criminal history.

Benefit of An Attorney

When a person is arrested for a DUI, they should discuss their employment, along with any kind of licensing their job requires and any security clearances they have with their attorney. A lawyer can discuss what their reporting requirements are and in what situations they are required to report their arrest to an employer.

Sometimes, a person might need to read their employment contract or their security clearance information to determine if they have an obligation to report any arrest. However, there are certain circumstances where a a lawyer can advise them of their obligations.