Finding a job can be hard enough and having a DUI on your criminal record can be a source of anxiety when you are job hunting. Many employers do standard background checks for all employees and may discriminate against you as an offender. There are several reasons why an employer may not want to give you a chance, if you have a DUI on your record. For one, it may be company policy that your application be rejected if you have a criminal record or have certain charges on your record. Also, a DUI on your record may reflect poorly on your character.
A DUI charge may suggest to an employer that you may have a problem with alcohol, are irresponsible or have little self-control. Employers likely to discriminate against this are ones hiring you for a job that requires driving or one where you work with children or other vulnerable populations. Employers can play it safe and may find it hard to trust someone with a DUI charge in certain circumstances. For many jobs, however, it might not matter if you have a problem with alcohol at all and in that case, it is unlikely your employer will discriminate against you unless they are mandated to by policy. For example, if you work from home as a computer programmer, having a DUI doesn't necessarily make you a risky investment. If you are a pre-school teacher, however, a school director may find it hard to trust you with young children. What does matter here is the time that has passed since your conviction. Like with many things, time can make up for past errors. Your first California DUI will stay on your criminal record, and thus will show up when employers do pre-employment or periodic criminal background checks, for 10 years. If it has been nine years since your DUI and you have demonstrated that you have changed your ways through a strong employment record, an education or contributions of civic service, you might not be denied employment based on your record. Sometimes corporations will mandate that all employees have a clean criminal record or, often for insurance purposes, that all employees have no past of drug or alcohol problems. In the State of California, those with DUI convictions can apply to get a Certificate of Rehabilitation, which lessens the stigma associated with criminal convictions and can improve employment prospects. Certificates of Rehabilitation can be obtained through an in-depth application process and only after you have fulfilled all your sentencing requirements. However, they can act as demonstration that you have paid your debts to society and have rehabilitated yourself into a better person. This is what employers want to see before they hire someone with a DUI conviction. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are interested in applying for a Certificate of Rehabilitation. California is one of only eight states that extend this opportunity to those with DUI convictions and for some, it can make all the difference. Also, if you have been arrested for but not convicted of a DUI, this cannot count against you. Potential employers in California are not allowed to ask you about an arrest that did not end in a conviction, under California Labor Code section 432.7. If driving is what you do, or part of what you do, for a living, you will face a lot of challenges returning to the workforce. If you are a commercial driver and have gotten a DUI, you will run into significantly more discrimination than a non-commercial driver. With your first DUI, even if it is off the clock and in your personal vehicle, your CDL will be suspended for one year. Even after you have your CDL reinstated, returning to the work force after that will be difficult and subject to the leniency of your potential employer. With any criminal conviction, the best policy is to always be truthful to potential employers. Lying on an application or during an interview regarding a DUI or any criminal background is enough for most companies to not give you a second thought. In a highly competitive work force, employers know that those who lie probably aren't the best investment to them. On the other hand, being truthful and humble, without providing irrelevant information, can appeal to some employers as a strong character trait and in some rare cases, may even work in your favor.
Do you have one or more DUIs on your record 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 take the right steps towards moving on from your charge. Call our offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.