The Impact of DWIs on Employment Opportunities

A DWI offense may result in criminal penalties ranging from monetary fines to community service to jail time. Having a DWI conviction, charge, or even arrest on your criminal record may also impact your professional life, especially your ability to keep or seek employment opportunities.

Employment Background Checks

Employers may conduct background checks on potential employees in the selection process. Such background checks may serve the purpose of:

  • Narrowing down job candidates
  • Ensuring that the prospective employee is responsible and aware of the law
  • Protecting the employer from future liability
  • Protecting business relationships with the employer and other business entities
  • Maintaining a positive business reputation
  • Ensuring security or clearance of an employee’s ability to work in the specific field

Restrictions on Background Checks

The Fair Credit Reporting Act restricts employers’ background check investigation process. The Act prohibits the reporting of criminal arrests after seven years but criminal convictions, including DWIs, may be reported indefinitely. The restrictions imposed by the Act only apply to jobs with a yearly salary of $75,000 or less.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also restricts employers from barring individuals with criminal convictions unless the employer has a compelling reason to do so.

State Laws on Background Checks

Many states allow employers to deny employment to anyone with a criminal conviction record. Some states additionally allow employers to deny applicants with an arrest record. However, some states have enacted legislation that requires employers to prove the relevance of a given conviction.

Dissolving your DWI Charge of Conviction

Depending on the relevant state legislation, DWI offenders may have the option to expunge their DWI charge or conviction from their record. In order to do so the offender may have to complete certain requirements such as alcohol education programs, probation periods, community service, etc. In such cases where expungement is not possible, the charge of conviction may at least be sealed for most purposes, including employment background checks.

Some states may only allow expungement if the offender was only arrested for a DWI but was not charged or convicted.

Discretion of Employers

Subject to relevant federal and state laws, employers often have discretion in deciding whether to deny or grant employment to an individual with a criminal record. Certain business entities may only require an applicant to disclose felony convictions, which would avoid disclosure by first-time DWI offenders who often only face misdemeanor charges. However, repeat DWI offenders are often charged with felony DWIs and would therefore be required to disclose such information.

Will a DWI Impact Your Employment Opportunities?

As every job requires different credentials and has different responsibilities, there is no definite answer as to how an employer will react to an applicant’s DWI arrest, charge, or conviction. It often depends on factors such as:

  • The employer
  • The industry
  • The requirements of the job
  • The array of potential candidates
  • The job applicant’s character and credentials in general

Although some employers may immediately eliminate a potential applicant based on a DWI offense, others may be more understanding if the DWI occurred a long time ago or if the applicant is given the option to elaborate on the situation. Regardless, having a DWI on your criminal record is a risk that may end up impacting your job opportunities for the rest of your life. In order to avoid such drastic consequences, it is important that you seek a strong legal defense to challenge your DWI. The Trial Attorneys at the Wilder DWI Defense Firm are experts in DWI-related offenses and are able to confidently challenge your DWI offense, with a proven track record of success behind them. Contact the Wilder DWI Defense Firm today to schedule your free consultation.