How DC DUI Affects Employment

Being charged and/or convicted of a DUI in Washington, DC can have a very negative long-lasting impact on someone’s professional life. Employers are not too happy to see that a current employee or a potential employee has been convicted of a DUI. Having a DUI conviction on your record reflects poorly on you and lowers your chances of employment. Speak with a DC DUI lawyer today to discuss how you might be able to minimize the penalties associated with your charge.

Having a DUI Charge or Conviction On Your Record

In DC, many people are employed either directly by the federal government or through companies that contract with the federal government. Being arrested for a DUI or any criminal offense can create employment problems, because people working for these sensitive organizations and agencies are required to notify their employer if they are arrested for anything.

Background Checks in DC

Employers in DC absolutely do run background checks. I would say that it is more uncommon for an employer in DC notto run a background check on potential employees, and perhaps even on current employees, depending upon what the job is.

Simply being arrested can be problematic, but for most people, being arrested for driving under the influence is not going to trigger any immediate negative consequences. However, a conviction is a different subject altogether. Because a conviction goes on your record, people who are subject to background checks, security clearance, etc., will have that conviction show up on any kind of background check.

Most people have to disclose if they have been convicted of a crime. While an arrest may not directly affect an individual who is currently in a position, a conviction certainly would. Contacting a DC DUI lawyer early on minimizes potential repercussions against  you.

Impact on Future Job Opportunities

It gets more complicated if someone is seeking employment, whether it be in a government job or in the private sector, particularly in the DC area. The reason is more and more employers are doing extensive background checks of potential employees. While an arrest may not show up, depending upon what level of background check they do, a conviction certainly will, and that can be problematic.

Also, when you are applying for a job or any kind of program, an increasingly common inquiry is, “Have you been convicted of a crime in the last X number of years?” People need to be honest when they see those questions because they are going to do a background check anyway, and having a crime show up on their record when they deny having one is a poor reflection.

A conviction for any criminal offense can cause problems either in your current job or in seeking a new position. There are also certain types of jobs where a DUI conviction can be fatal to your whole career. This can be true for people who drive for a living, like if it is for the government as a bus driver or for a private company like UPS or FedEx. If you get a DUI conviction, your employer is simply not going to be able to keep you on because you will now have liability and insurance problems. An employer does not want to have somebody who has a DUI conviction out driving one of their vehicles.

Will You Have a Chance To Explain Your Record?

When applying for a job, you will not necessarily have a chance to explain your DUI record. It depends greatly on what the position is and what area of work it is. Again, if you are applying for a job as a bus driver or a mail carrier who drives, having a DUI on your record is going to be a disqualifier. My experience is that they are not even going to ask you to explain it, especially if it’s a recent conviction, because it already completely disqualifies you from the job.

On the other hand, there are other situations in other jobs when employers certainly would want to know more if they see that blip in your record but they are still interested in hiring you. They might very well say, “Hey, we are thinking of hiring you, but this is something we may have concerns about. What was the situation?”

Impact on Your Current Empoyment

If you are already employed, getting a DUI conviction can get you in trouble. There are certain jobs and industries in which being convicted of a criminal offense while you are employed may result in you losing your position. It just depends on what your position is. DC has many more sensitive positions than the average region because the federal government is here.

You have DC government, federal government and all of the numerous federal programs that flow through DC. You have many more people who are involved in sensitive positions where a conviction simply is not tolerated. Unfortunately, a DUI conviction can cause major problems for many people, particularly in DC.

Impact on Security Clearance

Washington, DC is unique in the United States because of its status as the nation’s capital. There are many government agencies headquartered in the area in addition to private companies working on government contracts. As a result, many people living in the DC metropolitan area have jobs that require some kind of security clearance. The number of people with a security clearance in DC is vastly greater than in probably any other area in the country. That is simply because it is the seat of the Federal government, and all the Federal programs and agencies are here.

Therefore, it would not be uncommon for someone who has been charged with a DUI to also have some type of security clearance. Any criminal conviction, including DUI, can jeopardize your ability to obtain or maintain a security clearance, depending upon the level of clearance and other factors.

If You Already Have Security Clearance

Depending on various factors, such as any other criminal convictions you may have or any other issues that may have come up with regard to your clearance, getting a criminal conviction such as a DUI conviction can result in you losing your clearance or not being able to renew it. It depends on other factors, including exactly what level of clearance you have, what your position is, where you work and what kind of work you are doing. It is possible that a DUI conviction could impact you immediately.

Losing Security Clearance

Losing your security clearance can absolutely jeopardize your employment. Many positions, particularly in DC, require a security clearance. If you lose your security clearance, you can no longer hold that position. Losing a security clearance is very likely to result in termination in certain employment positions.