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Counting the cost: How much does a DUI conviction impact employment?

If you've been charged with DUI, it can be hard to get your mind around all the potential consequences.

The prospect of losing your driver's license is a natural concern. And in certain circumstances, such as repeat offenses, you may be worried about prison time. These are both very good reasons for making sure you get a skilled DUI defense attorney on your side.

What about the effect of a DUI on your job or on your employment prospects? In this post, we will use a Q & A format to discuss key aspects of this question.

For people who are looking for a job, is it likely that a DUI will come out in a background check?

Yes, it is quite possible and indeed is likely to happen. Many employers do routine background checks and the checks often turn up not only convictions, but arrests. It is therefore important, if you have a DUI on your record, to be ready to address the subject in an interview.

Indeed, even before the interview a good strategy is to get a strong reference from someone who knows the value of your work and can recommend you to an employer.

Is there a stigma associated with a DUI conviction that can negatively impact your job prospects?

It's important to remember that DUI is a very commonly charged offense. In Tennessee, in 2015, nearly 28,000 people were arrested. Nationally, there were more than 1.5 million DUI arrests last year.

Although so many people have DUIs on their records, it certainly does have a strong stigma attached to it. In the employment arena, when employers have their pick of applicants for certain jobs, having a DUI can definitely put you at a disadvantage compared to others.

What about the effect on your job of losing your driver's license?

If you drive for a living and lost your commercial driver's license (CDL), the negative effect of a DUI conviction is fairly obvious. If you lose your CDL, your job is at stake.

For someone who doesn't drive for a living, the loss of driving privileges due to a DUI is not necessarily a deal breaker. But even if you don't have a difficult commute, it can be hard to get to work without a driver's license.

After all, public transportation in the Chattanooga is not that extensive. Some employers may have flex work programs, but many do not.

In circumstances like this, where you have to get to work despite a DUI, one possibility is to seek a restricted license. Such a license can allow you to drive to work if you are eligible, even when your license is revoked or suspended.

Your situation

Overall, then, there are many reasons to be concerned about how a DUI may affect your job or job prospects. A knowledgeable defense attorney can help you respond in a way that makes the most sense for your situation.

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