Does a DUI charge affect job opportunities?

A DUI can have a profound impact on your life, but it does not always mean you will lose your job or any future job opportunities.

It often depends on what type of work you do and the terms of your employment contract.

Disclosing to a current employer

No one wants to tell an employer about a DUI charge or conviction, but sometimes you have no choice. Some contracts require employees to disclose any criminal convictions. Failure to do so could result in a breach of contract and automatic termination, even when the DUI would not. However, be mindful of the wording used. Some only specify disclosure of convictions, and an arrest or charge is not a conviction.

If your job requires you to drive a commercial vehicle, you would definitely need to inform them about a DUI. In Illinois, a conviction results in the suspension of a CDL, even if the event occurred while you were off-duty and driving your personal vehicle.

Ultimately it is up to the employer, and if the charge or conviction does not directly affect your position, many employers are forgiving.

Disclosing to future employers

A DUI conviction can cause hardship for people seeking employment. Most employers run a background check on new hires, even though they ask you about your criminal history on the application. Some employers consider a history of DUI a liability for the company. However, first-time offenders and people with only one conviction from years before often get some leniency from employers.

Someone facing a DUI charge still has a day in court to argue their case for dismissal or reduced penalties.