Some of the millions of Americans looking for jobs are hiding that they have been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. A DUI conviction remains in the driving record for several years and affects everything from insurance premiums to employment. Even individuals convicted of misdemeanor rather than felony DUI may have trouble finding work.
Employment applications usually include at least one question regarding a criminal record. Typically, the applicant must state whether he or she has been convicted of a crime classified as a misdemeanor or felony. If this information is not requested via the application, it is usually discovered during a pre-employment background check. A DUI conviction will not necessarily prevent a job candidate from being hired but it does not help.
It is important to distinguish a DUI arrest from a conviction. In most states, a prospective employer is not legally permitted to inquire about arrests but is allowed to ask about convictions. Some state laws include an exception that allows a hiring organization to inquire about particular types of arrests based on the open position. However, job applicants are not obligated to voluntarily provide details regarding a DUI arrest and should only provide DUI conviction information when it is specifically requested.
The degree that DUI conviction limits employability depends on the type of work the individual is seeking. Specifically, the person may have trouble getting a job dealing with children or driving a company vehicle. If the organization deals with confidential information, it may refuse to hire anyone with a criminal record. Many government agencies and branches of the military adhere to this policy.
Most states temporarily suspend the driver license following DUI conviction, which can make traveling to interviews difficult. A DUI attorney can help prevent a DUI arrest from becoming a conviction by having the case dismissed due to lack of evidence or errors. If a conviction is unpreventable, a DUI lawyer can help a job applicant expunge the conviction from the criminal record so it will not need to be acknowledged during the hiring process.
Individuals with DUI convictions should have DUI lawyers help them prepare responses to questions that prospective employers may ask about these charges. Lying is never recommended but there are ways to present the information so it is not an employment-breaker. Explaining that lessons have been learned and providing examples of responsible behavior since the conviction can make a big difference.
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