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I'm being turned down for jobs left and right for a old dui, these job DO NOT require me to drive. Am I misunderstanding the law

Tacoma, WA |

I'm a carpenter, I typically work in mill work settings. I don't drive, I don't go to construction sites, etc. I've applied to over 400 companies, only 19 have called back., only 2 have interviewed me after being told I'm a PERFECT fit. I fully disclolse my 2009 DUI and then BAM i'm no longer qualified. I asked why that was (because I was just a perfect match until the DUI thing came up) and they just tell me "we've decided your record is an issue for us" So I asked what a old DUI has to do with a job I'm NOT required to drive for, there fore doesn't have any impact on the company...they wont answer. I've read that your record can't be held against you only if your conviction is related to the duties and responsibilities of the job you are seeking and in these cases it's not.

Attorney Answers 6


  1. You read incorrectly. An employer can freely choose not to hire you because of criminal history, regardless of that history's nexus to the job duties.


  2. I am not aware of any law in WA that would prohibit an employer from considering a prospective employee's criminal law history in deciding whether to hire the person. The City of Seattle was considering passing such a law but has not done so.

    There may be be other states that have such laws.

    In WA, the default employment relationship is at-will. Either the employer or the employee can end the employment relationship at any time for any reason with or without notice. The employer is prohibited from committing unlawful discrimination (such as based on the employee's race or service of jury duty).

    Employers are generally free to hire whom they wish as long as the decision is not made based on unlawful discrimination. Drunk drivers are generally not a protected group.

    You likely need to convince prospective employers that your criminal law history is not indicative of who you are today.


  3. This is exactly the reason that I and my fellow colleagues on this site continual warn against pleading guilty for criminal offenses, ESPECIALLY DUI. You can never remove a DUI conviction from your record AND it can affect your ability to do many things for the rest of your life.


  4. I suggest that you consult with a local WA criminal attorney so you can be informed if your DUI can be expunged. If so, depending on the employment application and the laws of WA. you might not have to real the conviction. I am a California attorney & am not familiar with WA criminal law. Good luck

    This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney . Be aware that every state has its own statute of limitations; and statutes & case laws that govern the handling of these matters.


  5. The laws in each state differ. You should know that some companies are precluded from hiring people with a DUI conviction by their insurance carriers.

    Confidential information should not be disclosed in this Internet forum. Click on the "More..." link for IMPORTANT INFORMATION about this AVVO Answer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I am an experienced Wisconsin lawyer. The laws in each jurisdiction can be very different. I cannot give legal advice over the internet nor can I establish an attorney client relationship with you. You should NOT assume or otherwise conclude that there is an attorney -client relationship between any reader and this writer or his firm. These comments are only guideposts. They are not subject to any privilege protections. Indeed, these internet communications are neither privileged nor confidential. Accordingly, those using this form of communication need to be guarded in what they write. Because of the nature of these communications the information is general only and should not be relied upon in any specific case. This internet site is public forum, where the communications are not confidential or privileged. There may very well be merit to your defense or position in this type of situation. However, there are hardly sufficient details for an attorney to provide you with some path to follow. It is imperative that ALL of the facts in a particular situation be examined. No conclusion can be drawn from the communication that you have provided. There are some matters that are just better handled by an attorney familiar with the procedures of the courts in your area. Most, if not all, legal matters should not be handled via internet communication. At best, the responders on this site can give you a few hints and guidance. To deal with a legal problem, nothing is better than to consult with a lawyer who will give you some time and advice. If you cannot afford an attorney, there should be agencies in your area that can provide discounted, or even free, legal services. For a definitive answer you should seek legal advice from an attorney who (1) is licensed to practice in the state which has jurisdiction; (2) has experience in the area of law you are asking about, and (3) has been retained as your attorney for representation or consultation. Your question and the attorney’s answer may be used for promotional or educational purposes.


  6. A 2009 conviction is not that old. Generally speaking, in this economy employers have far more willing and capable applicants than they have positions. This means that they can be incredibly choosy about which people they hire. The Washington State chapter of the ACLU has created a handout with the answers to many frequently asked questions regarding criminal history and employment. I have linked to it below. You might also look to the state Human Rights Commission for more information.

    http://www.aclu-wa.org/sites/default/files/attachments/2012-04-12%20Guide%20to%20Criminal%20Records%20and%20Employment.pdf

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