The unfortunate truth is that being convicted of driving under the influence is going to change your life in a number of different ways. First of all, you can kiss your vehicle goodbye for a while as your license may be suspended for at least six months depending on where you live. You can also kiss your extra money goodbye as it is not uncommon to be required to pay thousands of dollars between fines and legal fees. In some cases, you can even be forced to make these payments with your savings and retirement accounts. Naturally, you might be wondering how a DWI could impact getting a job as well.
How Long Does a Conviction Stay On Your Record?
Unfortunately, you will have to live with the fact that you have a DWI for a while. It is not uncommon for a conviction to stay on your record anywhere from 3 to 12 years depending on where you live. While it is possible to get a judge or state official to expunge your record to erase the conviction, the chances of finding one willing to do so is extremely unlikely.
Does an Arrest Differ From a Conviction?
Fortunately, having an arrest on your record is not the same as having a conviction. If the case against you was dismissed, it will be noted that you were arrested for a DWI, but there was not enough evidence to prosecute you and the charges were dropped. This means your record will not have you labeled as a criminal. Having a DWI conviction on your record, however, does tell employers you were found guilty of driving under the influence, and some employers may use this information to decide not to hire you.
Do You Have to Disclose This Information to a Potential Employer?
A DWI can be classified as a felony or a misdemeanor depending on your record and the circumstances surrounding the arrest. Under the criminal law of most states, having a DWI conviction technically makes you a criminal. Laws regarding disclosure of your criminal record involving a DWI conviction do vary from one state to the next.
In 2010, the Society for Human Resource Management piloted a survey which revealed that only 18 percent of employers do not bother with criminal background checks on every job application. Furthermore, there are no federal laws that prevent an employer from asking you about convictions or arrests. Whether or not you have to disclose this information to a potential employer really depends on the state laws protecting your rights to privacy. Some states do prohibit employers from asking potential employees about arrests if the charges were dropped and you were not convicted, and other states do not.
The best thing you can do when trying to find a job with a DWI arrest or conviction on your record is to talk to a DWI attorney about your options. This is an individual who is going to know the local laws regarding your right to privacy. This is also an individual who is going to be able to give you some advice on getting a job with this kind of bad mark on your record.