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Impact of a DUI on Employment in DC

Many jobs run regular background checks for employees or potential employees that could have an impact on a person’s ability to secure employment or maintain their current employment. But not every person necessarily faces negative consequences to their job as a result of a DUI arrest.  Some jobs only check for felony convictions, in which case, a DUI charge or conviction might have a fairly minimal impact on a person’s job.

Do DUIs Show Up on Background Checks?

Yes. However, other employers may check for any criminal convictions by hiring someone to do a background check or by searching the online DC Courts Case Search. That means they could ask if a person has been found guilty of even misdemeanor offenses. Since driving under the influence (DUI) is a misdemeanor offense, there are some jobs that seek to find out if a person has been convicted of driving under the influence. That is not to say that being convicted of a DUI necessarily results in a person being terminated from their job. It could result in their employer simply inquiring about the offense and making a decision based on several other factors regarding what to do about the person’s employment. Depending on additional circumstances of a person’s employment, it could have an adverse effect on their job.

There are other types of jobs that inquire about any type of criminal involvement including arrests that did not result in convictions. These are jobs that deal with sensitive information such as jobs in healthcare, or jobs that require security clearance.

When a person’s employer inquires or finds out about their employee’s arrest, it may not necessarily result in the employee being terminated. The policies depend on the type of work and the specific nature of the offense.

DC Laws on Job Offers and Background Checks

In Washington DC, there are laws that prevent employers from running background checks or inquiring into potential employee’s criminal history prior to making conditional offers of employment.

The reason these laws exist is due to the potentially unfair impact of people being discriminated against for criminal offenses that have no impact on that person’s ability to do their job. As a result of these employee protections, many Washington DC employers cannot run background checks until after an offer of employment has been made.

However, there are many types of DC employers, including employers that require security clearances or deal with vulnerable populations that can still run background checks as a condition of employment.  Many jobs will also regularly run background checks on current employees. These policies vary greatly depending on the specific type of employment a person is seeking or the specific type of employment they already have and are seeking to maintain.

Impact of a DUI Charge or Conviction on Job Search

If a person applies for a job with a DUI or DWI conviction on their record, it does not necessarily prevent the person from gaining employment. Many employers might see a person’s DUI conviction, but do not necessarily hold that conviction against the prospective employee as long as the person does not have multiple convictions and does not have any other disqualifying information on their record.

A potential employer that might deny employment based on a DUI conviction includes government or private employers that require top secret security clearances or certain kinds of employers where a conviction for an alcohol related offense is seen as having an impact on that employee’s ability to do a certain kind of job.  Employers that ask questions about criminal convictions on job applications may have a negative opinion of an applicant who they feel did not answer questions about their background honestly.

Will You Have a Chance to Explain Your Record?

There are certain kinds of employers that might deny a person employment or terminate employment based on a DUI conviction without allowing a person to explain the conviction. However, many other kinds of employers, in the event they do find out about an employee or prospective employee DUI conviction, will grant a person the opportunity to explain that conviction. An employee or a prospective employee might also be permitted the opportunity to explain that after a DUI charge, they completed alcohol treatment, education programs, or had their charge dismissed upon completion of certain conditions.

A person should discuss their employment situation with their lawyer so their defense lawyer can take into consideration any impact to their employment when building a defense strategy and when making recommendations to their client as to the proper course of action to take in a DUI case.

How a DUI Can Impact Your Current Job

A person already employed may face adverse consequences as a result of a DUI charge. There are certain employers that require employees to notify their employer when they are charged or convicted of any criminal offenses including DUIs.

A person should be aware of the requirements of their employment contract or the requirements of any government security clearance soon after being arrested for a DUI. Some employers require employees to notify them of any arrest within a very short period of time. Therefore, immediately after an arrest, a person should understand what their employment requirements are when it comes to reporting any changes in their criminal situation.

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