Can a DUI Affect My Career

On top of the legal and financial consequences of a Driving Under the Influence conviction, there can be a considerable impact on your career. In order to protect your livelihood and future opportunities, you need a skilled criminal defense attorney to help you fight your charges. Best & Brock considers all the potential consequences of a DUI conviction in order to create a personalized defense strategy that prioritizes your needs.

You’ll Probably Need to Miss WorkCan a DUI Affect My Career

If you’ve been charged with DUI, you may have to miss work for court appearances. Then, if you’re convicted of the charge, you may be required to miss work to serve jail time, complete court-ordered substance abuse or driving programs, fulfill community service hours, and satisfy probation requirements. Some employers are understanding and offer their employees flexibility as they navigate the complicated legal process following a DUI arrest. However, other employers do not tolerate employees missing work for their court case. You need an attorney who will negotiate with the court on your behalf to minimize the amount of work you are required to miss following a DUI arrest.

Your Company May Have Policies Related to Criminal Charges

Many companies have procedures in place for when their employees are charged with a crime. These company policies may require employees to be fired, suspended, or demoted if they are charged or convicted of a criminal offense. Since every business will differ in their approach to this situation, it is vital that you review your company’s policy and have a conversation with your manager or human resources department. Sometimes, companies require their employees to report any new criminal charges immediately. Other companies only require their employees to notify management after they have been convicted of criminal charges. Depending on the policy of your company, you will need to advocate for yourself and your job. Your criminal defense attorney can furnish letters to your employer demonstrating your compliance with court requirements or the resolution of your case.

You May Lose Your Ability to Commute to Work

A DUI charge can result in your license being suspended or revoked in several different ways. If you refuse to consent to chemical testing, under the Implied Consent laws of Tennessee and Georgia, your license may be subject to an administrative suspension. Then, if you are convicted of Driving Under the Influence, the court can suspend or revoke your driving privileges. Some drivers convicted of DUI are able to get a restricted driving permit, typically with the requirement that they install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle. The court can order you to only drive a vehicle with an IID, even if you are unable to install the ignition interlock device in your car – which would effectively mean that you are not allowed to drive. Furthermore, if the IID detects that your blood alcohol content is higher than the limit it is calibrated to, it will prevent your car from starting.

In predominantly rural states like Tennessee and Georgia, where there is little access to public transportation, the ability to drive is critical to maintaining professional, educational, and personal obligations. Best & Brock’s criminal defense attorneys will help you navigate any administrative or judicial suspensions of your license, and will advocate for you to get back on the road as soon as possible.

DUIs Stay On Your Record Forever

A driving under the influence conviction is not eligible for expungement in Tennessee or Georgia. This means that future employers or educational institutions will see your DUI conviction if they decide to run a background check on you. Unless lawmakers decide to reform the laws on expungement, this will not change. Therefore, it is critical that you hire a criminal defense attorney who can help you fight against driving under the influence charges. By pursuing a solution in the courtroom that avoids a DUI conviction, your attorney will prevent this misdemeanor from permanently remaining on your record.

Background checks for employment purposes must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). FCRA is intended to reassure consumers that they have a right to be informed when an employment background check is made, to review information compiled on them and dispute any inaccuracies, and to know when information is used in employment decisions that affect them. If employers are not compliant with FCRA requirements when conducting background checks on prospective or current employees, they may be subject to legal action. If you believe your employer or a business you applied to violated your rights under FCRA, you might consider reaching out to a labor law attorney to explore options to remedy the issue.

Commercial Drivers Are Particularly At Risk

Commercial Driver License holders face stricter penalties for DUI than non-professional drivers. Because CDL-holders drive for work, employers are likely to view a DUI conviction as an indication that driver is a liability. Those who are currently employed as commercial drivers may face suspension or termination from their company following a DUI charge or conviction. Those who are interested in pursuing commercial driving employment in the future may find that a DUI conviction prevents them from being hired.

Of course, you can’t work as a commercial driver if your CDL is revoked or suspended.

CDL-holders will have their license suspended for 1 year if convicted of a first DUI, then for anywhere from 10 years to life for a second DUI (T.C.A. §55-50-405). This means CDL-holders who are convicted of DUI will be unable to work as a commercial driver for at least a year, if not for the rest of their lives.

Higher Education Institutions Might Require You to Report Your DUI

Being charged with Driving Under the Influence is incredibly serious for those seeking a higher education. Most colleges require prospective and current students to inform the school if they’ve been convicted of a crime, although not all schools require students to report charges before their case is resolved. Colleges and other educational institutions are likely to take disciplinary action upon discovering that their student has been charged with DUI. In programs where driving is a requirement to partake in the profession, such as at lineman school, students are often suspended or expelled from the program following a DUI arrest. Even if you are not required to drive for school or in your chosen career path, your school is still likely to punish you for catching criminal charges. Students convicted of DUI may lose their scholarships, access to on-campus housing, or acceptance to specialized programs. FAFSA, for example, is generally not impacted by alcohol-related DUIs, however a drug-related DUI may disqualify you from obtaining FAFSA funding. If you are currently enrolled in an educational program, or plan on applying to an educational program, it is imperative that you review that program’s policies on students charged with or convicted of DUI.

DUIs Can Be Classified Differently

The severity of a DUI, and thus a DUI’s impact on someone’s career, will vary depending on the circumstances of the case. For example, DUI is generally a misdemeanor. However, after a certain amount of subsequent DUI convictions, a DUI will be prosecuted as a felony in both Tennessee and Georgia. While your employment may not be affected by a misdemeanor DUI conviction, a felony conviction can disqualify you from many jobs, education programs, grants, scholarships, and even volunteer opportunities. DUIs also differ depending on the charges associated with them. A DUI case wherein there was an automobile accident resulting in serious injury or death may be punished more severely than a DUI case wherein no one got hurt. Employers will respond differently to a DUI conviction depending on the circumstances of the charge and the requirements of the job, so be sure to review your case in detail before applying to job opportunities.

Hire a DUI Attorney to Protect Your Livelihood and Your Future

In the face of such significant risks of losing your job or being blockaded from employment and educational opportunities due to a DUI conviction, it becomes clear that you must hire an experienced DUI attorney to help you with your case. Best & Brock’s criminal defense attorneys have spent decades handling DUI charges in courts across Tennessee and Georgia. Let Best & Brock be your first line of defense when seeking a fair resolution to your case.