Many things can happen when you get a DUI. One of the most important things that will happen to you after a DUI conviction is the DUI will show up on your criminal record as either a misdemeanor or a felony charge. While a DUI can only be used against you for sentencing purposes on subsequent offenses for ten years, a DUI may always be visible on your criminal record unless you get it dismissed. Anyone wanting to do a background check on you will be able to see your DUI conviction. Because many employers today require background check clearances before you can be hired, this can obviously be a problem. Even though DUI is a common charge in California, that politicians, celebrities and regular people alike have gotten, employers still may discriminate against you for any criminal conviction. If you are convicted of a DUI, you may not be hired for a job you are applying to. Similarly, you could be let go from your job or prevent your contract from being renewed because of a DUI, if your employer does a background check on you. Many employees are in what is called an at-will contract, meaning at any time, either the employee or the employer can end the contract. Essentially you can quit anytime and they can let you go anytime, as long as they are not discriminating against you for reasons you are protected from, such as sexual orientation, race or union membership. Some employees may have more protection if their contract is not at-will however in many cases, a criminal conviction can prevent at least a contract renewal. This is especially important to teachers on yearly contracts. A DUI charge can cast a negative light on someone working with children and could very well result in your contract renewal being denied. It is important to note that if you were arrested for a DUI but were never convicted, for any reason, you cannot be fired nor do you have to disclose it to any employer. California law protects those arrested but not convicted from employment discrimination. California employers are not allowed to ask an employee or potential employee about an arrest that did not end in a conviction. Similarly, if they do discover that you had been arrested but not convicted, they cannot use that specific arrest against you for employment purposes. For example, if you were arrested but were never convicted, an employer cannot ask you to disclose the arrest on an application nor can they deny you employment or fire you based on your arrest alone. You will, however, have to disclose any criminal convictions, if they ask. However, this law only prevents non-governmental employers from using an arrest against you. Government employers are permitted to ask about arrests that did not end in a conviction. They can also fire you for getting a DUI conviction. For many government positions, you have to disclose any and all criminal activity including false arrests and charges that were later dismissed. Obviously some employers will not care if you get a DUI. A DUI is considered a non-violent crime and one that is in actuality pretty common in California. Many people get DUIs and go on to serve in important roles in their community and it doesn't hold them down. Some employers, however, may feel like if you are the kind of person who gets a DUI, you aren't fit to serve in that role anymore. Most employers retain the right to make this decision, especially if you are in a role where you work with vulnerable populations or handle important information. It goes without saying that if you drive for a living and have a commercial license; you will no longer be able to legally work after you get a DUI, even if you were not driving your commercial vehicle. Your commercial license will be suspended for a period one year but even after that, you may face significant barriers to employment should you choose to stay in that field. If you drive for a living and are facing DUI charges, contact a DUI defense attorney immediately. They can advise you on how likely you are to be convicted and what your options are at that point. They may also be able to help you get a charge dismissed to help your employment prospects going forward. Many employers do not do background checks on current employees and may not care anyways if you get a DUI. A reasonable and understanding employer will not hold such a conviction against you, however it is best to do all you can to avoid any discrimination in the future.
Are you facing DUI charges and have questions about your employment rights? Contact attorney Christopher Martens and his legal team. Experienced in DUI laws, our Visalia area legal team can ensure you have a strong defense. Mr. Martens can fight for your rights and will not be afraid to take your case all the way. Call our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.