The repercussions of a DUI often set in slowly for a defendant. At first, you may be focused on just keeping your license, avoiding jail time, and paying court fees, but there are further consequences you may have to deal with. While you may try to keep your arrest a secret for fear of hurting your reputation, your employer may eventually learn about your DUI. Even worse, if you are convicted, it could impact your career and ability to find future employment down the line.
Are DUIs Public Records?
When someone is convicted of a DUI, that charge is recorded on their criminal history, otherwise known as their criminal record or “rap sheet.” In general, court procedures are public record, meaning any citizen can access them. This transparency ensures that private citizens and third-party organizations can hold the courts accountable when there is a miscarriage of justice. But, there are limits on what is considered public information and what is confidential. Some information, such as a defendant’s address and personal information, is only available to law enforcement personnel or court officials, while other specific court documents are available to the public.
With a DUI, the matter is a little complicated. While an everyday person would have to go to a courthouse or a state record department to access public court records, a private corporation can run a background check to access someone’s more private information. This can only be done with the consent of the person involved in the search, such as a job applicant or an employee. Through a background check, your employer can see that you were convicted of a DUI, but this may depend on the specific check. In most cases, employers are only looking to see if you have been charged with a felony. Given that most DUIs are misdemeanors, your charges may not appear on a background check unless you drive commercially.
Will I Have to Tell My Boss?
That being said, it may be difficult to hide a DUI charge depending on your particular profession. Given that most people who are charged with DUIs are forced to give up their license, if your job requires you to drive commercially or you have a company car, then you are required to inform your employer of the arrest as outlined by your employee contract. In addition, if your employee contract states that you have to inform your employer of an arrest, then you are legally obligated to notify them, no matter the charges. You may also need to take time off work for court appearances, meaning you may need to inform your boss no matter what your profession is.
What happens at that point is up to your employer. If you drive commercially, they may have to lay you off. In other cases, they may place you on employee probation, especially if they are worried that your pending case will affect your work behavior. In addition, if your DUI damages the company’s reputation, they may choose to let you go rather than wait for the outcome of your case. This does not just stop at DUIs, however. A drunk in public charge can also impact your employment if it rubs off on your boss’s reputation or business interests.
How a Skilled Attorney Can Help
At the end of the day, a DUI can lead to more consequences than losing a license or jail time. As a criminal offense, it can follow you for years to come unless you have your DUI conviction expunged or beat your charges in a criminal court. To do that, you will need to work with a skilled Orange County criminal defense attorney. At Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, our legal team has years of experience representing clients throughout Orange County and achieving positive case results. Not only can we defend you in a criminal trial, but we can also advocate for you to keep your license in a DMV hearing. To get started on your case, call our office at (714) 530-9690 or toll-free at (888) 478-8999.