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DUI and Employment: How a Conviction Can Affect Your Job Prospects

August 25, 2023Articles

A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is much more than a traffic offense. In Connecticut, a first-time DUI conviction is a misdemeanor crime with up to 6 months in jail and significant fines and fees as well as license suspension. Subsequent convictions become felonies with far more serious sentences, fines, probation, and long-term impacts on employment eligibility.

Even after you’ve fulfilled your sentence and lived up to all of the legal obligations that come with a DUI conviction, you may find the offense coming back to haunt you later. One ongoing effect of even a single DUI conviction could be a significant impact on your career and educational opportunities going forward.

What Will a Connecticut DUI Conviction Do to My Current Occupation?

Many careers in Connecticut and elsewhere require a professional license or certification. Most professional licenses stipulate that the bearer remains free of criminal convictions, including a DUI. This could include the following careers:


  • Legal work
  • Teaching
  • Nursing
  • Piloting
  • A medical doctor

In addition, any commercial driving career requires a commercial driver’s license which is immediately revoked upon conviction. In Connecticut, the legal limit for blood alcohol level (BAC) is lower for commercial license holders compared to standard licensees at .04% vs. .08%.

Even without the licensing requirements, it’s possible that a DUI conviction could result in the immediate termination of a current job, depending on your employer’s discretion. Employers may have a compelling reason to disqualify you based on your Connecticut DUI conviction or they can simply terminate your employment without specifying the reason.

Should I Tell My Employer About My Connecticut DUI Conviction?

Whether or not you should disclose your DUI conviction to an employer depends on the language of your contract. Pilots, for example, are under the legal obligation to inform employers of a DUI conviction as part of their contract. Failing to inform an employer could result in sanction and job termination if disclosure is a requirement of your contract.

If informing your employer of a criminal conviction isn’t part of your contract, you aren’t under a legal obligation to tell them. However, depending on the nature of your position, failing to disclose a DUI could result in termination if they find out. If you have a good working relationship with your employer, telling them the truth is usually the best option.

How Does a DUI Conviction Affect Educational Opportunities?

A conviction for DUI in Connecticut may disqualify you from scholarships to major universities, colleges, and trade schools. It can also prohibit your entrance to some universities. If you’re currently enrolled in college or any institution of higher learning with a zero-tolerance policy, a conviction could also result in expulsion. In some cases, the impact could be suspension, scholarship loss, or academic probation. College athletes could face dismissal from their sport or loss of their athletic scholarship.

It’s essential to mount a vigorous defense against a first-time DUI with the aim of dismissing the charges. In many cases, a New Haven DUI accident attorney can maximize your chances of acceptance into a pretrial alcohol education program in exchange for dismissing the charges. An attorney can also defend your rights and seek a dismissal if law enforcement officers violated your rights at any point in your arrest.

What Are the Impacts of a DUI Conviction on Future Employment?

A conviction for DUI shows up on the standard background checks used by most employers as a part of their hiring practices. A conviction may prohibit or limit the following career choices:

  • Commercial driving for trucking companies or buses
  • Piloting
  • The military
  • Law enforcement
  • Careers involving children or the elderly
  • Healthcare positions
  • Government jobs

Connecticut is one of only 14 states in the U.S. that requires prospective employers to state why a DUI conviction is relative to employment when denying an applicant on those grounds. However, employers can choose not to state their grounds for refusing an applicant.

For certain positions, hiring an individual with a DUI conviction on their record poses a liability risk.

If you were a first-time offender and the state dismissed the DUI charges in exchange for your participation in a pretrial alcohol education program, you don’t have to disclose the arrest and there won’t be a conviction on your record. If you have one or more DUI convictions on your record, it’s important to disclose this fact to any prospective employer since they’ll likely discover it during a routine background check. By failing to disclose this important fact on your paperwork it makes you appear untrustworthy and not a good candidate for employment.

How Can I Clear a DUI Conviction From My Record?

If an arrest record with a DUI conviction still impacts your employment eligibility years after you’ve fulfilled the requirements of your sentence, you can apply for a pardon. A pardon erases your criminal history. The granting of a pardon keeps potential employers or anyone who runs a background check from discovering your prior conviction.

There are two types of pardons in Connecticut, an expungement and a provisional pardon:

  • A record expungement completely removes the conviction from your record so you no longer have to disclose it to employers
  • A provisional pardon leaves the conviction visible to prospective employers but adds a notice that the state now considers you employable

Under Connecticut’s Clean Slate Bill, a DUI conviction is one of the crimes the state considers eligible for a pardon. This bill also allows for an expedited process that makes it easier to expunge a record.

If you only had a single, first-offense DUI, you can apply for a pardon 3 years from the date of the conviction since it’s a misdemeanor crime. Any subsequent DUI convictions are felony crimes. You can apply for a pardon for a felony second or third DUI offense 5 years from the date of the conviction.

A Connecticut DUI attorney can help ensure your paperwork for a pardon application is diligently completed and filed in the correct jurisdiction to maximize the chances of successfully gaining a clean slate for future employment.