A DUI charge can have a broad impact on your life. It affects your family, your friendships, and, inevitably, your professional life.
If you’re facing a DUI charge, you’re probably tired of explaining what happened to your friends and family. You’re ready to put this unfortunate incident behind you. But depending on your job and the contract you have with your employer, you may need to tell them about a DUI.
Employers also have plenty of discretion when it comes to hiring employees and letting employees go. You could be fired for a DUI charge. But it depends on the type of job you have, the laws that regulate that profession, and your employer’s policies.
When Do You Need to Report a DUI To an Employer?
In most cases, you are not obligated tell your current employer that you were charged with a DUI. However, it may be in your best interest to do so proactively to avoid them finding out later. If there is a section in your contract that mandates you tell your employer, withholding this information will likely be grounds for termination.
Certain jobs that require a special license, such as nursing, piloting an aircraft, or driving a commercial vehicle, typically involve a licensing board or a government entity. Licensing boards and departments of the government often have rules that require you to inform them of a DUI. If you don’t, they may find out about your DUI when the time comes to renew your license.
If you are convicted of a DUI and you hold a Massachusetts commercial driver’s license (CDL), your CDL will be suspended for one year and you will be disqualified from obtaining a CDL for one year, or three years if you transport hazardous materials. A second DUI will result in a lifetime disqualification from obtaining a CDL.
A DUI can impact your ability to get to work. If you drive to work, you will not be able to drive with a suspended license. That means you’ll need to arrange rides or take public transportation. This change can sometimes cause your boss or coworkers to ask questions.
If you have no obligation or desire to tell your employer about a DUI, you do not need to tell them whether or not you own a car or have a driver’s license. Employers cannot ask these questions. They may ask you whether or not you have reliable way to get to and from work, however.
Understanding Background Checks in Massachusetts
Getting a job after a DUI can be a challenge.
Many employers conduct criminal background checks on people they’ve offered a job. If you are convicted of DUI, your conviction will most likely show up on your background check. Employers can refuse to hire individuals because of their criminal backgrounds.
However, employers are not allowed to make employment decisions based on arrest records alone. An employer cannot ask you about your criminal background on a written job application. They can only ask you questions about it during an in-person interview.
Furthermore, employers may not ask about misdemeanor convictions or incarcerations that occurred three or more years before the date you applied for the job.
The Difference Between DUI Charges and DUI Convictions
Just because you were arrested for DUI does not mean you are guilty.
If you’re facing DUI charges, you should have a DUI defense attorney review your case and guide you through the criminal justice process. Your attorney can also offer you advice on how to deal with your employer and how to manage future employment situations, if you are convicted.