Posted in Atlanta DUI Law on February 6, 2020
The possible consequences stemming from a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) are staggering.
From losing driving privileges, getting a criminal record, and spending time in jail, to mandatory “risk reduction” classes and heavy fines, a DUI conviction can impact just about every corner of your life.
It even has the ability to cost you your job.
That’s why you should do everything in your power to avoid being actually convicted of the charge.
How Can My Employer Legally Fire Me Because Of A DUI Conviction?
When it comes to employment, you need to remember that Georgia is an “at-will” state. This means that – unless there is a contract in place that states otherwise – your employer can fire you at any time for just about any reason.
There are some laws at the federal level that protects you from losing your job because of issues like discrimination or disability.
Will My Employer Automatically Know About My DUI Conviction?
The good news is there’s no law requiring you to report your DUI conviction to your boss. In the eyes of the law, it truly is no one else’s business.
However, there are jobs where such a conviction will lead to job termination.
For example, if your job requires you to drive a company vehicle, your boss will likely find out.
That’s because arrest records are part of the public record, and can be accessed during a routine background check.
Why Do DUI Convictions Lead to Certain Termination From Some Jobs?
Look at things from your employer’s point of view.
If, for example, you drive a truck, your DUI conviction will almost surely lead to your boss having to pay higher insurance fees. Additionally, they face higher risks of being sued if you cause an accident while on company time.
Because they require a certain level of trust from the public, other jobs like teachers and health care professionals are vulnerable because of a DUI conviction.
How Long Will a DUI Conviction In Georgia Stay On My Record?
While most states will keep a DUI conviction on the books for about five years, Georgia essentially keeps your DUI active for 10 years.
In legal circles, this is a “lookback period,” and can have a lot of sway in the harshness of your DUI penalty.
For example, if you’ve already had a DUI conviction within the last 10 years, your penalties for another could significantly stiffen your punishment.
Should I Tell My Boss About My DUI?
Our advice is to speak with a qualified DUI attorney before making any decisions about informing your employer.
While some employers are more likely than others to find out, this is not typical for most jobs. If your employer has no DUI policy, your boss will likely be the one who determines what’s best for business.
Do I Have To Include My DUI Arrest On Job Applications?
Make sure you pay attention to the wording on the application. Most will ask if you’ve been convicted – not charged – of any crimes.
Keep in mind that a DUI charge is very different from an actual conviction. So, if you were not convicted of the charge, what’s to be gained by including it on your application?
Can My Georgia DUI Conviction be Expunged?
Georgia no longer offers the expungement of a criminal conviction. It does allow, though, for a “record restriction,” which is essentially the same thing.
Under this ruling, a criminal record is blocked from public view and remains accessible only to law enforcement personnel for legal purposes.
You may qualify for a record restriction if:
- The case is closed without a conviction
- The incident occurred before you reached the age of 21
- Although charged with a felony, you were convicted of an unrelated misdemeanor.
There’s no application process for a record restriction. Instead, your DUI attorney will be able to work on your behalf towards a record restriction with the prosecutor if your case goes to court.
How Can I Avoid Being Fired For My DUI?
A DUI arrest can get real nasty, real fast.
Even if you avoid jail time, you could still be ordered to surrender your license for an extended time, perform community service, and attend alcohol and drug treatment classes.
To avoid all of this and protect your earning power, the smart move is to leverage the skills and expertise of a DUI attorney with a successful record of handling cases like yours.