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Can a DWI conviction impact my employment?

It seemed like it happened in an instant. You were hanging out with some close friends on a Friday night and had a few drinks. Then on your way home, you saw flashing lights in your rearview mirror and police pulled you over for drunk driving. Before you knew it, you were facing a DWI charge.

You realize you will face some tough legal consequences for a DWI in New York, but will a conviction impact your employment too? The answer is maybe.

When a DWI affects employment

First, you will need to check your company handbook to see if getting a DWI is addressed. Having a DWI conviction is more likely to impact your employment if:

  • You drive as part of your job. If you have a commercial driver’s license, you could lose your job, even if you weren’t driving your work vehicle when police arrested you. You also may lose your job if the company you work for penalizes employees convicted of drunk driving.
  • You receive a felony DWI conviction. Most DWI convictions are misdemeanors. But if you injured or killed someone in a DWI accident, you could face a felony conviction, which also could impact your employment.
  • You are in the military. If you are in the military and receive a DWI conviction, you could face a rank reduction or pay reduction. You may be disqualified for certain promotions and lose your security clearance.
  • You want a government job. Sometimes, job candidates with a DWI conviction aren’t hired for a government position. Sometimes, they are. It likely will depend upon what type of job you are applying for and how long ago your DWI conviction was.
  • You work with children.

A DWI conviction will become part of your criminal record. Even if you never was convicted of DWI, DWI charges can surface as part of a background check. Most of the time, a DWI conviction won’t disqualify you immediately for a job, but every employer has their own policy when evaluating whether to hire job candidates with a DWI.

What to do when facing DWI charges

Anytime you are facing a DWI conviction, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney can review your arrest and work to get you a reduced sentence or have your charges reduced or dismissed. With an attorney’s help, you may be able to avoid having a drunk driving conviction affect your employment.

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