How Will A DUI Affect My Job?

Being charged with driving under the influence (or other criminal charges) may not only affect your finances, criminal record, and relationships—it may also affect your career. Those most commonly affected by a DUI charge are those in the military, those who drive for a living, and those who have other kinds of professional licenses and security clearances (case workers, nurses, counselors, military contractors, etc.).

Note that I say “being charged with a DUI” instead of “convicted of a DUI”. The consequences can begin well before the conclusion of your case. You do not need to already be convicted of DUI to feel a negative impact. Many professional licensing boards require that you report any arrests very soon after they happen. It is often a good idea to “get in front” of the disclosure that you have been arrested—in some cases, if a professional licensing board finds out that you did not report your arrest in a timely manner, there may be additional consequences. For instance, in Arizona, a nurse is required to self-report any misdemeanors or felonies they have been charged with, within 10 days of the charge(s) being filed. Failure to report is a violation of the Nurse Practices Act. The consequences of failing to report the charges may be harsher than those that can occur because of the charges themselves. If you have professional licensure, it is important for you to know the reporting requirements that attach to your license.

If you are a member of the military, the consequences of an off-base arrest are largely dependent upon what kind of job you hold, what branch of the military you are in, and the type of offense you were arrested for. In addition to facing the charges in a civilian court, you may also face charges within the military. Your commanding officer will find out about your arrest, so it is probably best to disclose it as soon as possible (and you are probably already required to do so). Consequences can range from almost nothing, to demotion (or not receiving a promotion), all the way to separation. Some consequences are discretionary (up to your chain of command) while others are mandatory (your CO doesn’t have any say in the matter). For instance, in the Navy, a second DUI means mandatory separation. For many, even one arrest for a misdemeanor can have far-reaching consequences over the course of the enlisted person’s career—and not just the military career, but the post-military career.

For those whose jobs require a clean driving record, security clearance, or have a job dependent upon obtaining or maintaining a fingerprint clearance card, you may have difficulty keeping your job. For instance, if you have a commercial driving license (CDL) in Arizona and you are charged and convicted of DUI (even in a personal vehicle), you face mandatory one year suspension of your CDL, in addition to the ninety day suspension of your personal license. Depending on the seriousness of the charge, or if it is not your first DUI, you may also lose your CDL permanently. Insurance rates will be affected. Needless to say, the financial penalties of not being able to drive commercially for a year (plus the cost of fines and legal fees) can be staggering. If your job requires that you drive, even without a CDL, the mandatory 90 day suspension and subsequent mandatory interlock ignition device installation may be more than your employer is willing to deal with. If your job requires a “clean” criminal background (if you had to have fingerprint clearance through the Department of Public Safety), you may not be able to stay at your job, even if you have been charged but not yet convicted. Failure to report an arrest may result in revocation of a fingerprint clearance card, and with a DUI, you may lose your ability to drive other employees or clients for up to five years.

These are just a few examples of some of the consequences of a DUI arrest, as it relates to your job. Because living with a DUI arrest and conviction is much more complex than “just” the court case, it’s wise to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest. Call today for a free consultation.