In addition to the fines and potential jail time, having a DUI charge on your record greatly affects your career. Although DUIs are considered misdemeanors, there’s a good chance that a DUI charge will limit your chances of getting a new job in the future and may even cause you to lose the one you currently have.
The first and most obvious impact of a DUI on your career will be your inability to drive to work every morning. In most states, drivers’ licenses are suspended for up to a year after a DUI charge. Apart from special exemptions granted to a handful of individuals, suspended licenses mean you’ll be riding the bus, hiring a car, or bumming rides from friends to and from work each day. An uncertain transportation situation can mean losing your job if you’re repeatedly late.
Court dates for DUI hearing are non-negotiable. Missing work to attend court is an embarrassment in itself, but missing too much work to take care of a reckless drunk driving charge could mean the end of your job anyway. If you’re out of sick days or paid time off, getting the necessary days off to attend court hearings and rehabilitation classes may be impossible and your employer will cut the cord for your absence.
Educational Scholarships or Applications
Almost all college applications in the United States ask questions about prior criminal convictions and your arrest record. Even though treatment programs can lighten the load on your permanent criminal record, a previous DUI charge could mean students will lose scholarships or get expelled from their current institution. With some high-demand scholarships and universities, cutting a student with a prior DUI conviction is a no-brainer.
Many professional licenses like those for teachers, healthcare professionals, and even electricians, require you to disclose past criminal convictions every time you renew your license. In many cases, a DUI charge could lead to a revoked license. If you’re in a specialized field of work, it could be the end of your career if you’re unable to work without a proper license.
Lose Your Job Immediately
Although DUIs may not impact your job performance, they’re considered by many companies to be a moral character flaw and are grounds for termination, no questions asked. How will your employer know you got a DUI? Employee handbooks typically contain a clause that requires employees to notify their employer within 72 hours if they’ve been arrested. Failure to notify your employer of an arrest, even if no charges are filed, is grounds for immediate termination.
Because of how difficult a DUI charge can be on a person’s future, if you think someone you know is driving recklessly or consuming alcohol in an unhealthy way, it’s important to try and get them help. The long-term impacts of a DUI charge can’t be reversed and seeking help before it’s too late can mean the difference between a successful career and a lifetime of paying for a single mistake.