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Can a DWI affect my employment opportunities?

Changing your career path can be an exciting life moment. But with a DWI on your record, you might be wondering if it will make your job search more difficult.

Fired because of a DWI?

Unfortunately, your employer can fire you after a DWI charge. In fact, most private employers have the right to terminate you based on a DWI. Some employee handbooks or contracts explicitly state that a DWI charge is grounds for termination.

Depending on your job, termination may be warranted. This is especially true if you worked in any line of work involving transportation, including:

  • Commercial truck driving
  • Mail delivery
  • Bus and coach driving
  • Taxi or chauffeur services
  • Uber or Lyft employees
  • Ambulance driving
  • Construction operations

Applying for these jobs can also be difficult after a DWI. Unfortunately, having a DWI on your record might indicate to future employers that you are not a safe or responsible driver.

A DWI will remain on your permanent record

In most cases, a DWI will stay on your record. This is because police use your past DWI convictions to increase your penalties if you get another one. Expungement is not an option unless the government dismisses your case or acquits you of all charges.

If you are in the process of applying for jobs or are looking for a new job after your DWI led to termination, employers often run background checks before hiring. So, your DWI charge is likely to show up. However, an employer cannot deny you an interview based on your criminal records.

New York’s ban-the-box law

Ban-the-box started as a campaign to remove criminal conviction boxes on job applications. Along with several other states, New York adopted this into their legislation in 2015.

Now, it is illegal for most employers in New York to ask about your criminal record before going in for an interview or even making an offer. This law, called the Fair Chance Act, gives job applicants equal opportunity in the initial employment stages regardless of your criminal record.

After a background check, an employer can deny you a job. However, they must provide an explanation in writing and show that your record would infringe on daily job duties.

Seek legal help

While a DWI is a serious offense in the state of New York, it doesn’t have to affect your employment. Consulting with a criminal defense attorney who can help you fight for the best possible outcome may reduce the impact that a DWI charge can have on your future.

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