Can a Colorado DUI Impact Your Employment?

Just how serious is a Colorado DUI – DWAI Conviction? How does it affect your ability to work – to move up – to reach your employment goals? This article addresses those issue briefly.

It is tough to get and keep a job in today’s economy. I am often asked the impact of a DUI conviction and have this response – today even the slightest blemish in a person’s background can hurt their chances of landing a new position.

A charge of driving under the influence can clearly negatively impact someone’s search for a new job.

What is a DUI Conviction?

While a DUI is “traffic” misdemeanor, it is a criminal charge filed against someone. It is both a misdemeanor and a traffic offense and falls into the category of crimes that will ALWAYS come up in a background check.

Sealing / Expunging Colorado Traffic Crimes or Offenses

Bad news here – A Traffic Crime of any kind – can never be sealed or expunged under Colorado law. This comes as a shock to most people and I am asked this question many times each month.

Worse news – In addition – some lawyers fail to tell their clients that if you are charged with a “true” misdemeanor or felony and in the same case there is a traffic charge you agree plead to – the entire case can NEVER be sealed or expunged from your record under Colorado law.

In addition – DUI -DWAI convictions can have ramifications beyond even the punishment of the crime, including influencing work schedules, insurance costs and reputation.

Your Type of Job

Depending on which career field an applicant is trying to enter, a DUI conviction can prohibit them from being hired. Jobs that involve driving, especially a truck or a cab, are likely not to hire someone with a DUI in their background. School teachers are often fired for having a DUI, so a district will more than likely pass over someone who already has one. Law enforcement personnel also may not be allowed to have such a charge on their record. Most medical professions will not hire someone with a previous conviction for DUI.

Your Work Schedule

For someone who has recently been arrested for DUI, their ability to work certain hours may be limited. Many judges will offer those convicted of driving under the influence with the ability to drive during work hours but will require that time to be filed with the court. For those pursuing a new job, restricted driving hours may narrow the search to those that fit within the court-appointed driving times. Interviews may be difficult to get to and the shift of the job will need to be considered. If the conviction is new, there may be a jail sentence to serve, or counseling sessions could be ordered.

Your Personal and Professional Reputation

Many potential employers may view someone with a DUI charge in their history in a negative light. Such a conviction can often be seen as a symptom of a larger problem, like alcoholism. Employees with alcohol problems can be costly for businesses, through high rates of job injury, missed days of work and poor performance at work. There is little reason for an employer to take a chance on a potential problem employee if there are other applicants in the pool from which to choose.

A Colorado Driver’s License Suspension, Denial, Restriction

Depending on the severity of the charge, the court can revoke a person’s driving privileges for a length of time ranging from several months to a several years. If a license is still under suspension, denial, restriction – it can severely limit the options for a new job.

A DUI conviction can certainly impair a person’s ability to seek a new job, though the severity of the situation can depend on individual companies and professions. Certainly those that require driving will be hard to obtain, as will those in which employees are held to a high moral standard. A past DUI does not make it impossible to find a new job, but it will make it difficult.

H. Michael Steinberg has been a Colorado criminal law specialist attorney for 38 years. For the First 13 years of his career, he was an Arapahoe – Douglas County District Attorney Senior prosecutor. In 1999 he formed his own law firm for the defense of Colorado criminal cases. IN addition to handling tens of thousands of cases in the trial courts of Colorado, he has written hundreds of articles regarding the practice of Colorado criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on the Fox News Channel, CNN and Various National and Local Newspapers and Radio Stations.

* This article was modified and adapted from an online article by Emily Turner. Attribution is therefore given to Emily.

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