Every year, more than one million people in the United States are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.
What’s more alarming is that 111 million people report that they’ve driven while impaired by alcohol, even if they didn’t wind up in handcuffs.
Think a few drinks before driving home isn’t a big deal? Think again.
Your name will show up in the newspaper and your mugshot could make the social media rounds. Yet, arguably the most damaging result of racking up a DUI criminal record is the effect it could have on your current or future employment.
Today, we’re taking a look at a few ways your career is at stake every time you make the poor decision to drink and drive.
Ready to learn more? Let’s get started.
1. License Suspension
Depending on the state you live in, you could lose your license for months if it’s the first DUI on your record. If it’s your second or third offense, you could be stranded for years.
If you have a job that requires you to drive for a living, you just lost it. Even if you’re in a traditional office environment, you still aren’t out of the woods.
While some states will allow you an exemption to continue to drive to and from work, don’t count on it. Chances are, you’ll be spending valuable time and money hailing a taxi or taking the bus to and from the office or hiring a private driver to chauffeur you around.
If any of these resources becomes unreliable, you could be tardy. Over time, if this becomes a pattern, it won’t be long before management takes notice.
2. Strict No-Crime Policies
Some workplaces have a zero-tolerance policy in place for employees who are convicted of a crime.
Take a second look at your employee handbook or the policies posted in the breakroom. You won’t be able to keep your arrest a secret and keep your job if this rule is in place. Rather, you’ll need to notify your employer immediately after it happens.
Think you can slide it under the rug and pull the wool over your boss’ eyes? Consider the court appearances you’ll attend and lawyers you’ll meet with, usually during working hours.
Especially if your DUI case isn’t cut and dry, these negotiations and mediations could take hours.
Over time, you’ll weave a web of lies so thick it’s impossible to talk your way out.
Do you currently hold an active security clearance? Coming clean about your DUI arrest is a federal requirement.
3. Insurance Changes
Even if you manage to keep your license, your insurance company may be unwilling to cover someone with a DUI charge.
This also applies if you’re covered under your employer’s insurance policy. Keeping you on may cost the company its comprehensive coverage, making it an easy decision to remove you from the payroll.
While you’ll be in a better position if your insurance company still agrees to cover you, understand that the coverage will now be more expensive.
Some companies may not be willing to pay more to keep you on board.
4. Professional Licensure Requirements
There are many trades that require you to hold a license to perform work. These employees range from beauticians and plumbers to lawyers and real estate agents.
Depending on your niche and the state you live in, you could lose your license with a DUI arrest or find it suspended for an indefinite period of time.
That means you’re unable to work and your job is at risk. If you work in a high-demand trade, this could be a detrimental loss that leaves you unable to secure future jobs in the same field.
5. Future Positions
Some states do not allow hiring parties to interview job applicants about their arrests and convictions.
Yet, this is an exception, as most employers will perform a DUI criminal background check before moving forward with the interview process. If your record shows up, it could send out red flags in the HR department.
They won’t have to look far. Your arrest and conviction will be easy to find in public record and on your driver’s license history. This makes getting a job after DUI arrests particularly difficult.
6. Further Education
Are you considering going back to school to pursue post-secondary education? For instance, your employer may require you to obtain a Master’s degree or achieve advanced industry certifications.
Or, you may be ready to graduate from college after taking a few years off to pursue your career.
With a DUI arrest under your belt, those plans may stop in their tracks. Most colleges and universities will require you to report if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime and your answer could dissuade them from allowing you entry.
This review process also occurs in financial aid applications.
Don’t Risk Your Career With a DUI Criminal Record
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and become overly confident in your ability to get behind the wheel after a few drinks.
Ultimately, however, getting a DUI criminal record isn’t just an isolated poor decision. Rather, it jumpstarts a domino effect that could take decades to stop.
To keep your job and ensure your future prospects look bright, hand over your keys. Remember also that buzzed driving is drunk driving.
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Looking to treat a current alcohol or drug addiction before it leads to a DUI arrest? Check out our post on detox clinics today.