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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When a person is facing conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and/or alcohol, their first concern is often how this charge will affect their ability to secure employment. A DUI conviction is a public record, which means that details about this incident will be accessible to employers through a background check. The reality is, regardless of whether you’ve been convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony, or if this is your first DUI offense, your job prospects could be affected.
Companies and organizations take the hiring process seriously. It’s routine for them to perform background checks for potential hirees and pose questions about a candidate’s criminal history on job applications. The bad news is that it is completely legal for an employer to factor in a DUI when deciding whether to hire you in California. As a result, people who are qualified and competent enough to fill certain positions are passed over because of their criminal record, and it’s not perceived as discrimination, but as a standard procedure.
The good news is that a DUI won’t hinder all of your prospects. Employers for some positions tend to be more sensitive about this offense than others. For example, careers that involve interaction with children, handling confidential information, or require you to drive a company vehicle, might be more concerned than others. But for many employers, a DUI conviction may not be as concerning.
Fortunately, job seekers with DUI convictions in California are offered some protection by law. They also have the option to put this conviction behind them through expungement.
The ban-the-box law took effect on January 1, 2018 in California, making it illegal for employers to ask about criminal history until the later stages of the application process. As the name implies, the law requires companies and organizations to remove a question that is frequently included in job applications: “have you ever been convicted of a felony?”
It was enacted to encourage employers to focus on qualifications and competency, instead of opting for the common practice of immediately denying employment to people with criminal records. The ban-the-box law applies to all public and private employers with at least five employees.
Aside from this protection, California also gives people with DUI convictions on their record a chance at starting anew through an expungement.
Under certain circumstances, you can have a DUI completely removed – or expunged – from your criminal record with the help of an attorney. You will be eligible to expunge a DUI if you meet all of the following conditions:
If based on these conditions, you qualify for an expungement, you’re set to petition the court. A successful expungement means that a DUI charge or conviction will no longer be de seen by employers and other parties through background checks or other methods, and you won’t be obligated to disclose it.
If you need representation, assistance with the expungement process, or have more questions about your DUI case, we invite you to contact the Shouse Law Group. Also see our related article on Can I get a job with a misdemeanor?
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.