Obtaining your professional license has taken years of time, money and sacrifice. Reaching your professional goals has taken just as much effort to achieve. However, you can lose it all in an instance of misjudgment.
A common way this can happen is through drinking and driving. Whether or not you receive a DUI conviction, the simple involvement in the criminal justice system may be enough to make your work life challenging.
Effects on licensure
Upon an arrest, you may automatically receive a suspension until your case closes, the results of which will determine if you can regain your professional license. Even if you do, you may face difficulty in renewing it later or obtaining further licensing due to having a criminal record, especially if you served time in jail.
Effects on employment
If your first DUI offense does not result in the loss of your license, it may result in the loss of your job, even without a conviction. Being fired only adds to the challenge of seeking employment. Other possible penalties include the following:
- Temporary suspension from work
- Change in duties
- Worsened relationships with colleagues and clients
- Damaged reputation
It does not matter that your DUI has no relation to your work performance. An arrest of any kind can be enough to harm your professional standing.
What you can do
The good news is that you do not have to give up all hope of maintaining your career after a first-time DUI. There are steps you can take to eliminate or reduce the collateral consequences. The first is to hire a criminal defense attorney who can fight the charges to lessen the penalties. Depending on your case, you may have an opportunity to seek expungement in the future, which means your criminal records become sealed. Your field will also have its own regulations regarding DUIs and professional licensure.