California’s DUI laws can be complex and confusing. In this section, our attorneys break down the rules and explain the process.
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There is no federal law that automatically precludes you from securing a government position because of a DUI conviction. But a DUI/DWI on your criminal record can make it more difficult for you to get a job with the federal government depending on:
For example, you will probably not land a government job that involves any kind of driving if you:
Note that unless you get a DUI conviction expunged or sealed, it will typically remain on your criminal record for the rest of your life. One result is that the federal government will likely learn about the conviction during the hiring process via a criminal background check.
Not necessarily. There is no general rule or law that says you cannot get a federal job because of a DUI conviction. This is true for both a:
But note that hiring managers:
In considering a DUI, government agencies often look at the nature of the job you are applying for and the facts of your case.
For example, if you have to obtain a security clearance in working for a federal agency, the agency will look at all of the facts of the DUI to see if you can even gain clearance. If you cannot, the agency will likely deny your application.2
On the other hand, you will likely not have problems with getting a federal job if you:
A DUI will generally remain on your criminal history for good. This means that whenever you apply for a new job, a background check will likely disclose that you were arrested or convicted for drunk driving.
But the good news is that you can try to get the conviction removed from your record by either:
An expungement is the process where a court orders that a conviction be erased from your criminal record.3
Note that different states handle the expungement of records differently. For example:
No matter how a state approaches the process though, it results in a great benefit. That is, if asked about criminal history on a job application or in an interview, you do not have to disclose an expunged conviction.
In general, eligibility for a DUI expungement requires that you:
Some states offer record seals as opposed to expungements.
The main difference is that while an expungement may result in the physical destruction of a record, a sealed record is not destroyed.6
But a sealed record is still generally not allowed for people to see for most purposes.
This means a sealed record is similar to an expungement in so far that you can lawfully deny ever having received a criminal conviction, even under oath.
In general, the eligibility requirements for a record seal are close to those for an expungement.
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.