When the state of Georgia believes that someone decided to drive while drunk, a prosecutor may bring driving under the influence (DUI) charges against that individual. When compared with accusations of fraud or physical violence, a few drinks before driving may not seem like a very major concern. However, you may have an unrealistically optimistic idea about the real-world consequences of a DUI charge.
Far from being a minor, technical infraction, it is a serious legal issue that can affect your life for many years to come. The professional or career consequences of a DUI are among the risks people often overlook when deciding how to respond to charges.
How does a DUI adversely affect your professional ambitions?
It could cost your professional license
If you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), you likely know how important maintaining your eligibility for that license is. If you lose your commercial license, you will no longer be able to work as a commercial driver. A first offense might leave you ineligible for a year, but repeat offenses could mean a lengthy period of ineligibility following a conviction or guilty plea.
You don’t need to drive for a living to require professional licensing either. People in professions ranging from the medical field to accounting often have to maintain a state license to work. Complaints about criminal activity could lead to professional discipline that could cost your vocational license.
Court and criminal penalties can affect job attendance
Whether you need to miss multiple days of work to attend a trial, are subject to a sentence of incarceration or lose your license for an extended amount of time, your charges might affect your attendance at work.
When you miss numerous days or you are repeatedly tardy for work because you now rely on public transportation to get there every day, your job security or upward mobility could be at risk after a DUI conviction.
You won’t pass a background check anymore
Most employers will perform a background check when they hire a new professional to fill a vacant role if their company. In fact, it is common practice for businesses to perform background checks before offering someone a promotion internally.
Even if your employer doesn’t learn about your criminal charge now, they very well could when you ask for a promotion in the future. Anytime you seek a new job at a different company, your DUI could hold you back from that new opportunity. Criminal records can also affect your eligibility for rental housing, college enrollment and financial aid.
The only way to avoid criminal penalties, career setbacks and a criminal record after a DUI charge is to defend yourself and avoid a conviction. Responding properly to pending DUI charges can help you protect your professional ambitions in addition to saving you from criminal penalties.