Facing a conviction for driving under the influence can be detrimental to your life, specifically when trying to progress professionally or academically. This is primarily because of the prejudice and stigma associated with convicted persons and parties involved in drinking and driving. Therefore, you want to mentally understand the challenges you may face upon completing your sentence to prepare yourself for their outcomes. Similarly, having the correct information on expungement can benefit you, as you can apply for case expungement to give you a clean slate in life. With Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney, you have access to the best criminal defense lawyers, ready to help you transition into life after a DUI conviction. Our team has helped hundreds of clients seeking expungements in Los Angeles, California, giving them a chance to restart their lives even after being guilty of DUI violations.
The Challenges You May Face in Your Professional Life After a DUI Conviction
Doubtless, having a criminal record leads to additional scrutiny and doubt from members of the general public. They do this mostly to protect their interests, as your character and integrity are jeopardized based on the type of conviction you faced.
Therefore, serving a sentence for driving under the influence may be detrimental to your brand, especially in the professional field. This is because your colleagues and employers may constantly question your ability to make responsible decisions or execute self-control towards alcohol or drug consumption.
Similarly, your ability to follow regulations in the workplace is put in question based on the prosecution and conviction imposed on you. Subsequently, the following are potential problems you may face when trying to retain or look for work after completing your DUI sentence:
Potential Dismissal at Your Workplace
Some employers may have a zero-tolerance policy on parties convicted of any offense, regardless of the type of crime you are guilty of. While some policies are justified, others are often imposed in a discriminatory manner to rule out any ex-convicts from seeking out job opportunities at the targeted workplace.
Although the work policies may seem discriminatory to you, you may lack an avenue to appeal them, as the employer reserves the right to retain or dismiss employees provided sufficient notice is issued. Due to this, your employer may issue a letter of dismissal, meaning you are fired from your workplace.
The order may come as a serious disadvantage to parties acting as their families’ breadwinners because the income dynamic becomes disrupted. Consequently, your DUI conviction results in your potential need for alternative sources of income in advance, mainly when you strongly believe that your current employer will fire you. Planning can help you avoid making drastic changes to your lifestyle until you are ready to secure a different job.
Loss or Suspension of License
Additionally, you are likely to have a suspended or revoked driver's license after serving a DUI sentence because it amounts to a traffic violation. The restrictions may be detrimental to you, mainly if you rely on driving as a source of income or as your primary means of transport to and from work. For example, if you work a long distance from your home, you may need to drive yourself to save on commuting costs and reduce transit time. Hence, losing your license will make your life more challenging until the restrictions are lifted. In the meantime, you may have to carpool or seek alternative public transportation options, which may hinder your ability to show up at work on time.
Further problems arise for persons who lose their licenses while working as professional drivers, as they risk losing their main source of income. Consequently, your career can stagnate or end with a DUI conviction based on the inability to continue working without a license. Your case may be even more severe if you work in an industry requiring additional care in your driving role. For example, school bus drivers and ambulance vehicle operators may face more scrutiny and restrictions for longer, and even face disciplinary hearings before being reinstated into work.
Losing Your Professional License
Apart from being fired, you risk losing your professional license after facing a conviction for a DUI offense. The outcome can be detrimental to your professional practice, and your source of livelihood, mainly if you rely on your business to bring in profits. Examples of professionals who need licenses to work include doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, and nurses. Notably, the professionals will have undergone rigorous training and assessment to obtain their practice license, so losing it invokes additional problems.
Even after serving your sentence for driving under the influence, most licensing boards require you to attend a hearing assessing your suitability for license reinstatement. Among the factors, they consider when deciding whether to grant you access to your license includes the severity of your DUI case. For example, if you were involved in causing a DUI accident where victims suffered severe injuries, your chances of a favorable case outcome reduce. On the other hand, an offender who only surpassed the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit by only a small percentage may look forward to better chances of reinstatement.
Mandatory Involvement in a Diversion Program
When you are arrested and accused of a DUI offense, you may choose to plead guilty as an easier way out of undergoing the lengthy trial process. This is a suitable option, especially where you are sure of your involvement in the charged offense, meaning opposing it would be ineffective in pursuing justice.
If so, the presiding judge can order you to join a diversion program instead of serving a prison sentence. Subsequently, you will need to attend mandatory DUI classes and meet any other requirements as the court prescribes. Among these requirements is that you inform your employer of your criminal status, including the need for you to attend the diversion programs. Thus, the employer may decide to dismiss you based on your new status, meaning that you will need to look for employment elsewhere or rely on your loved ones for financial support until you find different solutions.
Challenges in Finding New Employment Opportunities
Moreover, seeking employment after your initial dismissal is not as straightforward as many people envision it, particularly with a criminal record. Some potential employers may conduct background checks on shortlisted applicants to determine if they have engaged in any past criminal activity. Thus, your chances of securing a job may reduce if the recruiter finds your DUI record.
Although equal employment policies are now widely applied in the marketplace, employers and sole business owners still have discretion over the persons they decide to recruit as employees. Thus, as an applicant, you have minimal chances of raising a successful dispute for missing out on the employment opportunity, meaning you will need to make applications elsewhere.
Losing Out on Insurance Coverage
Insurance service providers often conduct thorough investigations to determine whether they should continue providing coverage services to parties involved in traffic or criminal offenses. Hence, facing a conviction for drinking and driving puts you in a disadvantaged position because the insurance company representatives will use your details to fight against your continued access to their services.
Furthermore, you should note that even if your employment company includes you in their insurance package, they may use the DUI conviction you faced as justification for removing you from their beneficiary list. If so, you may have a difficult time using your vehicle, as you are legally excluded from driving without properly registered insurance. Hence, your ability to work as a professional driver or as a party who needs transport to their place of work is reduced significantly.
Challenges in Making Successful University or College Applications
Furthermore, most universities and colleges have a code of ethics that they expect their students to uphold, including aspiring students making applications. Therefore, their policy may include automatic rejection directives for any applicant with a criminal record, including a DUI conviction. Facing this limitation can be detrimental to you, as it prevents you from accessing educational resources and services. You may fall behind in your goals, making it difficult to secure employment sooner.
If you strongly believe that your preferred university or college imposes harsh restrictions on persons with DUI records, you want to consult your criminal defense attorney to explore available options for removing your record.
Less Income from Constantly Missing Work
You may decide to plead guilty or no contest to your DUI charges, meaning the presiding judge will assign you to join a diversion program. You should note that these programs are mandatory and require consistent participation before your case is closed. Subsequently, the timelines requiring you to participate in the diversion program may clash with your working hours, making you likely to miss work.
Due to this, you are likely to experience less income than before, especially if your wage is paid per working hour. Even where you may have a salaried job, your employer can decide to reduce your salary to cover only the durations you appeared for. Thus, your financial stability may change, making it difficult to survive on top of having to meet all court fees and attorney fee requirements.
Applying for Expungement Orders on Your DUI Conviction
Having discussed the potential challenges, you may face for facing a DUI conviction, you will need to find ways to reduce the scrutiny or discrimination you undergo based on your criminal record. Among the best ways to manage the difficulties in finding work after a DUI conviction is applying for expungement orders from the court.
Under section 1203.4 of the California Penal Code, expungement orders are obtainable through a process that requires the convicted party to withdraw their guilty or no contest plea. Once their original plea is successfully withdrawn, the judge will dismiss and close their case, meaning that the expunged criminal records cannot be used as a reference point in the future.
The allowance to have criminal records expunged is available to help parties who have completed their sentence have a better chance of restarting their lives. However, the allowance is only available subject to eligibility, meaning that you must meet several conditions.
This ensures that only genuine parties enjoy the benefit of having their DUI records expunged. On the other hand, sealing records of non-remorseful parties may motivate them to engage in crime again, resulting in the impediment of justice.
Some requirements to satisfy before accessing expungement include:
Completing Your Probation Sentence Within the Required Timeframe
If your sentence included probation instead of prison terms, you would need to have completed it on time and comply with the court orders issued. Usually, probation sentences require the convicted person to attend DUI school for a stipulated duration between six to eighteen months.
Moreover, you will need to install an ignition interlock device (IID) to ensure they cannot drive under the influence. The device requires the driver to gauge their BAC levels before igniting the car through the system.
Further, you may need to complete community service and regularly report your progress to the probation officer before indicating that you completed the program. Hence, you want to serve a sentence diligently to ensure your eligibility for expungement is seamless.
You Served Your Sentence in County Jail and Not State Prison
Additionally, you will need to show that your sentence confined you to the county jail and not state prison, as this would indicate that your DUI offense was a misdemeanor. However, some sentences were issued before introducing new legislation that directed judges to sentence parties to county jail for specific offenses.
Therefore, you may have completed the sentence in state prison because of your case circumstances, which would have otherwise resulted in a county jail sentence. Once you provide your proof, the presiding judge will decide to allow the expungement if you meet all requirements.
Upon receiving the orders, your DUI conviction record should not appear in any application or interview process. The court orders will have dismissed the matter and sealed it from public access.
Contact a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
Finding work after a DUI conviction can be difficult, especially if your potential employers have a strict policy on hiring previously convicted persons. However, you can remedy the problem through expungement, whereby you will have your criminal record dismissed and inaccessible to the public. With Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney, you will work with experienced attorneys to help you obtain the expungement orders and rebuild your professional life. We have worked with multiple clients seeking to expunge their DUI records in Los Angeles, California, making us a trustworthy team. For more information, call us today at 323-464-6700.