If you get pulled over in California for an alleged DUI, it goes without saying that your best strategy is to defend yourself as strenuously as possible when you go to court. Not only could a DUI conviction land you in jail, it can follow you for years and haunt you whenever you apply for a new job.
Many employers today conduct criminal background checks on job applicants as part of their normal hiring practices. Virtually all types of background checks will turn up your DUI conviction and many types may also reveal any DUI-related arrest that failed to result in a conviction.
While all states must adhere to the Fair Credit Reporting Act that prohibits the reporting of arrests after seven years of their occurrence, your DUI conviction shows up basically forever. Besides, the FCRA only applies to background checks that an employer conducts through an outside company. It does not apply to an employer’s in-house background checks.
Keep in mind that criminal background checks can reveal other things about you in addition to your DUI conviction. For instance, they may include the following:
- Your driving record
- Your driver’s license suspensions and revocations
- Your court records
- Your incarceration records
- Your social media revelations and those of your friends about you, particularly on Facebook
Virtually all states allow employers to reject certain job applicants who have any type of criminal conviction, DUI or otherwise. For instance, your DUI conviction could preclude your employment in the following types of jobs:
- Any job that entails working with children
- Any job that entails working with disabled people
- Any job that entails working with elderly people
- Any job that requires you to drive, particular those that require you to have a commercial driver’s license
Even if your DUI conviction does not prevent your employment outright, many employers consider it as something indicating that you have a major character flaw which makes you someone they do not want to have as part of their workforce.
Special California laws
California offers what it calls a certificate of rehabilitation for employment purposes to people convicted of DUI and other crimes. If you can obtain one, this lifts some of your employment barriers. In addition, Section 432.7 of the California Labor Code forbids employers to ask you about arrests that did not result in a conviction. Furthermore, if you successfully complete your DUI probation, California law allows you to file a court petition to withdraw any plea you made or set aside any jury verdict. If the court grants your petition, your conviction, going forward, will show up on your records as a dismissed case.