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How a DUI on your driving record affects your job search

A DUI can be a significant obstacle when searching for a job
If your driving record contains a DUI and you’re searching for a new job, you may face several obstacles and issues before you secure new employment. Note that the consequences of having a DUI on your driving record are different from those of having a DUI on a criminal record. The two records will affect your job search in different ways. Depending on the state, a DUI may not stay on your driving record forever, but until it’s removed, there are important considerations to be aware of.

When you must disclose your DUI

Many recruiters and human resources professionals appreciate transparency—they don't want any unpleasant surprises down the road. Your honesty about having a DUI on your record may improve your chances of securing the job. Additionally, if you know the employer will perform a background check, it may be best to get any issues into the open right away. On the other hand, if your job will not involve driving, and the application does not specifically ask if you have any convictions, you may choose to remain silent about having a DUI on your driving record.

Jobs that a DUI puts out of reach

It is not always the case that a DUI on your driving record will bar you from employment, even if your job requires driving. For example, if the driving you will do for a company requires only a regular driver's license, having a DUI on your driving record may only affect your job search if the hiring policy directly touches on DUIs. In one case, someone who had a DUI in 2006 asked about the potential of delivering pizza for a pizza company. Attorney Wayne E. Brucar answered, "The only thing to prevent you from delivering pizzas would be the company hiring policy." However, for jobs that require a commercial driver's license (CDL), it may be impossible for you to get hired. While laws about DUIs and CDLs vary between states, a DUI will usually result in a suspension of your CDL for at least a year. If you did not previously have a CDL, you will not be able to obtain one. Sometimes, the effects of a DUI on your CDL capabilities will last for longer than a year. For example, attorney Nicole Hankins says that, in Washington state, "if you were transporting hazardous materials the first suspension would be for three years,” and a second DUI conviction would “result in a lifetime disqualification."

Other DUI consequences that will affect your job search

A DUI on your driving record also can affect your hireability in ways that do not directly relate to your application or how employers view you. Because a DUI may result in a suspension of your driver's license, you may have to rely on public transportation to get to and from work. If a potential job requires you to work nights or in a place you cannot easily reach by bus or subway, it may be impractical for you to apply. Also, a DUI will dramatically increase your car insurance premiums. Even if you do not lose your license, you may choose to stop driving in order to save money. This also impacts you in terms of the places where you can apply for employment. Ultimately it is important to carefully research your options so you don't pursue positions that are closed to you because of a DUI on your driving record.
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