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How Will My DUI Affect My Employment And Future Job Opportunities?

Job hunting and recruitment is essentially a matching game where the employers are trying to find the best person for their needs and job seekers are trying to find an employer and a job they enjoy. The problem with recruitment is that both parties are trying to please the other and are thus not being entirely forthcoming. The employer will not tell you about the times they receive complaints from existing employees for situations involving problems in the workplace or a poor work-life balance. The job seeker is likely not telling the employer about the time they did something stupid in college or just last week. Recruitment can kind of be more of a guessing game than anything.

A lack of comprehensive information is why employers rely on external sources of information which are independent of the job seeker. The most common of these are the personal references, references from previous employers and of course, the background check which is probably the most feared reference check for job seekers. In Ohio, background checks are necessary if you want to work in a private or public company operating in the state. A big part of the background check system your employer will conduct is the criminal background check. These are the most important check for people who work with or take care of vulnerable people, i.e. daycare, schools, health care etc. Often the background check, criminal and otherwise, will be conducted at two different times if you are entering a licensed profession like medicine, teaching, nursing, law, law enforcement, security etc. The first check is done by the licensing organization and the second is done by the employer.

All this checking and rechecking has the distinct disadvantage for anyone who gets a DUI/OVI and opts not to challenge the charge or have it reduced. That is because in a setting where the employer is basically looking for reasons to doubt your integrity, honesty and reliability, having a criminal charge pop up on your background check is reason enough to deny your application. The practical reason here is two-fold. First, it is almost a certainty that there are more people with your exact qualifications than there are jobs to fill and Second, the recruiting manager or HR person is not going to want to take the risk of hiring someone with a criminal record (see our page on the professional consequences of a DUI). If they do that and the person ends up being a bad hire or does something illegal, their manager will use that criminal record as a reason to admonish the person who hired the employee.

Apart from these discretionary rules of employees, some professions will simply not allow you to work in that profession if you have a criminal record. Unfortunately, these include some of the most lucrative careers such as law, policing, military, local government, state government and federal government, medicine, nursing, security, and many other desirable jobs.

Often in professions which do not have an explicit prohibition on having a criminal record, but which are client facing or those which rely on personal integrity rather than corporate branding, you will face almost certain lay-offs on getting a DUI/OVI. This is rarely an illegal process as you are likely not fit for the profession. For something that requires you to be on the road all the time such as transport or even field sales, you can be certain that you will be terminated and not be hired into the profession again should you get a DUI/OVI on your driving record.

The unfortunate fact is that many individuals have DUI charges on their record when applying for jobs. Recruiters and employers are generally no longer astounded when an interviewee has a DUI charge on their record. We understand that there is a certain anxiety that comes with the territory of a DUI charge in an interview. Do you mention it right away? Do you let a background check dig it up?

As is the norm in the business industry, a potential employee will need to fill out an employment application before proceeding to a possible interview. Employers have a right to ask you about charges and convictions before providing you with an opportunity to join their company. As much as it is hard to stomach, it is best, to be honest on the application. The sting to your employer is not as bad if you are upfront about any weaknesses, not just DUIs, in your file.

Experts in the skill of interviewing have presented certain suggestions regarding handling a DUI charge when attempting to enter a field. First and foremost, if you have already mentioned a DUI on your employment application prior to the interview, you may not be questioned about it. If this is your situation, it is appropriate for you to not mention the charge. Think about it, you have already brought it to their attention. It is not your responsibility to bring it to the forefront.

Secondly, leave it up to your employer to question you about any DUI charge. In the event you are questioned about your charge, paint yourself in a positive light. There is a possibility that the DUI charge was a lapse in judgment when you were in a different position than you are at the present moment. The hope is that the DUI was a one-time thing. If that is true, chalk it up to a bad decision after a time with friends. Talk about how much you learned for the event and the appreciation it made you feel towards those that protect our roads. Explain any consequences you received because of your actions and what you learned from those specific acts that the Court made you take. Did you have to attend a driving school? Talk about how beneficial it was. Interviewers will generally see this as you taking responsibility for your actions and that you have the ability to learn from negative situations.

Luckily, the mere charge of DUI/OVI and having that charge go on your criminal record are two different things and the path between the two could be permanently blocked if you reach out to a DUI/OVI attorney in Ohio who can then advise you on the options you have. If you are charged with a DUI or OVI, please give us a call today. We would love to have the opportunity to fight on your behalf to have the charge reduced or removed completely.