Getting arrested and charged for driving under the influence (DUI) is not a small matter. The penalties of a conviction for DUI in Georgia are severe, and impact far more than just your right to drive. They also impact your financial well-being, take up your time with community service and an alcohol education program, and can even lead to jail time. Perhaps even worse, having a DUI conviction on your criminal record can affect your career by making it harder to get or keep a job, or by saddling you with restrictions that make you ineligible for a career you really want.
That is why our Roswell-Alpharetta DUI attorneys represent people who have been accused of DUI throughout the Atlanta area. By defending your rights and interests both inside the courtroom and outside of it, we can ensure you get the defense you need to overcome these difficult times.
A DUI Can Make It Difficult to Keep Your Job
One of the many ways that a DUI conviction can impact your career is that it suspends your drivers' license. Without a valid drivers' license, you cannot legally drive on the roads of Georgia, and this can make it impossible for you to get to and from your workplace.
In some cases, this is a significant inconvenience. Instead of having the ability to get in your car and drive to work whenever you need to, you may have to take the bus or other public transportation. If one of your coworkers lives close by, you might be able to get a ride with them, but only if your work schedules match up. Alternatively, you might be able to rely on your friends, family, or spouse to bring you to work and back, but this could strain your relationship with them and can be an unreliable way to commute if they have other commitments.
In other cases, the license suspension that comes with a DUI conviction can make it impossible to get to work. Many areas of Georgia, especially around Roswell-Alpharetta, do not have buses that you can rely on to get to work on time. If you do not have personal connections at work who can help you out and if your family either lives far away or your spouse needs to get to their own workplace, a DUI conviction can make it impossible for you to keep your job.
A DUI Conviction Can Get You Fired from Your Job
Worse, some careers or employers have a strict policy that a DUI conviction is a fireable offense. Many of these employers are in the professional driving field, where they want to make sure that all of their drivers take their role seriously. Other employers just want to control the perception of their company by reaching into the private lives of its workers. In either case, it can be unfair to you, especially if you were not working when you got pulled over for DUI and arrested.
A DUI Can Prevent You from Getting a Job
In addition to making it difficult or impossible to keep your job, a DUI conviction can also be an obstacle in getting a new one.
On many job applications in Georgia, employers ask whether you have ever been convicted of a crime. If you have been convicted for a DUI in Georgia, then answering “no” to this question can get you in trouble. However, answering “yes” can doom your chances of getting the job or even being invited to come in for an interview. This is especially true if the position you are applying for is one that will be competitive or that will have thousands of applicants. Employers in these situations are looking for reasons to eliminate applicants, and a prior conviction – even if it is just for a DUI – can be enough for them to choose someone else.
DUIs Can Lead to Legal Restrictions that Can Impact Your Career
A conviction for a DUI in Georgia can also lead to legal restrictions that prevent you from doing something that is a requirement for a job you really want.
Many criminal convictions come with not only fines and jail time, but also what are called collateral consequences. These are restrictions on what you can do, after the conviction, and often stretch years into the future. For example, people who have been convicted of domestic violence can lose their rights to own a gun, while people who are convicted of child sex crimes are prohibited from going near a school.
Similarly, a conviction for DUI in Georgia can come with collateral consequences that impact what you can do for a living. One of the most prominent examples of this in real life is how a DUI conviction – even one that was years or decades in the past – can doom a career as a professional driver. Whether you are trying to become a truck driver, a taxi driver, or a bus driver, a DUI conviction, even one deep in your past, can be used as a reason not to hire you.
DUI Convictions Can Impact Professional Licenses
Finally, there are some professions that take the reputations of their members very seriously and see a DUI conviction as a potential blemish on the rest of the field. In these cases, you may have to report a DUI conviction – or even a DUI arrest – to the appropriate authority and risk having your professional license taken away or suspended.
For example, lawyers in Georgia are required to disclose to the state bar association any time they have been arrested, including for DUI. While a conviction might not necessarily be enough for a lawyer to lose their license, multiple offenses or aggravating factors might lead the state bar to suspend or revoke their license to practice law in the state, effectively ending their career as an attorney.