A DWI conviction can significantly affect your chances of gaining employment. If you
have been charged with a DWI and are on the job hunt, it is possible that your
prospective employer will conduct a background search and expose your arrest or
conviction. If you hold a commercial driver's license and your job requires it,
the DWI could be particularly harmful. There are limits, however, to what kind
of decisions prospective employers can make based on the results of a
A DWI conviction can significantly impact your employment opportunities.
Federal restrictions on background checks
All states are required to adhere to the provisions of the Fair Credit
Reporting Act. The FCRA prohibits the reporting of criminal arrests after a
period of seven years. The reporting of criminal convictions may take place
indefinitely. This means that if you were cleared of a DWI charge, there is a
chance your prospective employer may not find out about the arrest (note that
FCRA reporting restrictions only apply to jobs with a yearly salary of $75,000
or less). It may beneficial to speak with an attorney to make sure that, if
possible, your record is wiped clean.
Federal courts often rule that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers
from denying employment to people who have a conviction unless there is a good
business reason. Interpretations of the Civil Rights Act are not uniform,
however, especially in relation to some state laws.
State laws and background checks
Under the most state laws, employers are allowed to refuse employment to
prospective employees with convictions on their records. Some states allow
employers to refuse employment to applicants with arrests.
New York State has legal standards that require a public employer to prove why a conviction is
relevant to the job being applied for. Additionally, New York and a number of
other states apply this regulation to private employers as well. This means
that if a conviction is not recent and does not seem to have any bearing on the
potential job, the chances of being hired may be greater.
Those who run for public office or apply for professional licenses are required to disclose DWI convictions and other convictions, dating
back 10 years. For some jobs, a DWI on your record does not necessarily
mean that you will not be considered for a job, but it may affect your
potential employer's decision. Jobs that involve driving in a professional
capacity will usually not allow an employee with a recent DWI on their
record to work.
Background check information
Approximately 20 different pieces of information can go into an official
background check. This information may include character references, neighbor
interviews, incarceration records, driving records, criminal records, and
vehicle registrations. Most states require background checks for certain
jobs, such as those that involve children or the elderly.
you are applying for a job, it is best to tell the truth. Some employers can
overlook a DWI offense, but a lie being discovered will most likely end your
candidacy for a job. It is important to consider that the Internet allows
for more thorough background checks these days, and even if a DWI arrest does
not show up on your record, a simple search on Google could result in your
prospective employer finding about the arrest nonetheless.
Expunging a DWI from your record
It is not always an option, but some states allow DWI offenders to expunge
their records. Expungement is a court-ordered process that helps people
remove embarrassing events from their background information. While many states
limit expungement to arrests that did not lead to a conviction, speaking with
an attorney can let you know exactly what is possible given your particular
situation. Additionally, if you have any other DWI-specific questions, a lawyer
can help you understand exactly where you stand with respect to potential jobs,
expungement, and background checks.
Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria, located in Buffalo, has attorneys that are widely recognized
as leaders in the field. Our performance is motivated by attaining the
best possible outcome for each client. With more than 25 years of experience,
the DWI lawyers at Lipsitz Green have in-depth knowledge of a client's rights,
the potential penalties that may arise, and the possible weaknesses in charges
against a client. We also have a thorough understanding of the law as it
relates to seeking an expungement of records in DWI cases. Lipsitz Green is
dedicated to providing a tough and effective DWI defense.
This article does not purport to give legal advice and is for informational purposes only.