People make plans to go out with their friends. They expect to have a few drinks and call it an early night. A few hours later, they forget all about their plans of going home early. They stay out longer than they planned and drink a lot more than they intended. The next thing they know, they’re driving home after having way too much to drink. Odds are, the driver will get home without incident.
However, if they’re unlucky, the cops are going to pull them over. They’ll smell the odor of alcohol and ask them to do a field sobriety test. They’ll fail the test and take a breathalyzer. They’ll register a BAC of .10. The next thing they know, they’ve got a DUI conviction.
This process can be daunting for even the most hardened of criminals. Imagine what it is like for a social worker with a clean driving record? It is embarrassing, scary and possibly life-changing. This is because getting arrested for DUI affects more than just your criminal record. It leads to more than just a suspension of your driver’s license. It can put your very professional license at stake.
How Can a DUI Conviction Hurt Your Job?
There are a lot of people who work in industries that frown on a DUI. That’s not to say that any employer would be happy to learn their employees were charged with DUI. However, certain industries have rules about this kind of thing.
If you work in any of the following industries, a DUI could get you suspended, fired or even lose your professional license:
- Social workers
- Daycare workers
- Medical professionals
- Commercial drivers
- Certain machine operators
Just being charged with a DUI can be enough to damage your career. Even if you’re ultimately acquitted of the charges, the damage may already be done. Your lawyer will do their best to prevent this from happening. However, sometimes, it’s not a decision the court can make.
Your Current Employer May Take Action
For people looking to enter a certain field, a DUI can be a huge obstacle. For example, when you apply for medical school or law school, you have to disclose if you’ve ever been charged with a crime. If you answer yes, and they see you have a DUI on your record, it could prevent you from going to school.
The same is true when it comes to sitting for a professional exam. When applying to take the MCAT or Bar exam, you may be asked to divulge your criminal background. Professional organizations don’t like to approve people with a criminal background.
Even if you already have a job, a DUI can come back to haunt you. Your Atlanta DUI lawyer will warn you that a DUI charge and conviction can cost you employment. It really depends on the kind of work that you do.
Some of the industries that may release you due to a DUI conviction include:
- Health professionals
- Real estate and insurance salesmen
- Any at-will employer
What if The Charges are Dropped?
The scary thing about a DUI is that, even if the charges are dropped, it could still hurt your job. In certain professions, just the appearance of impropriety can hurt you. For example, if you’re a school principal and there were videos of your arrest online, it could get you fired. They can’t expect teachers and parents to respect a person who would put themselves in that kind of situation.
Your DUI lawyer in Atlanta can try to fight your termination. If there was no evidence that you were drunk, you shouldn’t be penalized. If the State had enough evidence to convict you, the charges wouldn’t have been dropped. Therefore, it seems unfair that you should be punished at work.
Keep in mind, however, most jobs in Georgia are considered at-will. This means you can be fired for any reason whatsoever. If your employer wants to find a reason to let you go, they’ll find one. This is why it’s important that you not put yourself into compromising positions in the first place.
A Skilled DUI Lawyer Can Help You
If you’ve been charged with DUI and are afraid it may affect your job, you’re right. Many people lose their livelihood due to a DUI conviction. This is why it’s important that you call an experienced DUI lawyer in Atlanta right away. Contact Howard & Arca today to schedule a consultation.