One of the most frequent questions we hear during a free consultation for driving under the influence is whether or not individuals can be fired for getting a DUI. While we are not Colorado employment law attorneys, we can tell you this.
A DUI conviction can create serious challenges when it comes to employment (as well as affecting other non-legal aspects of your life). Read more to find out how your DUI affects employment opportunities in Colorado.
A Harsh Reality
Here’s the harsh reality: a conviction for drunk driving affects employment deeply and can create severe challenges to job stability. Of the many things that go through folk’s minds after being arrested, charged, or convicted for a Colorado Springs DUI, worries about the impact it will have on their job, career, and future employment prospects are among the biggest.
Unfortunately, the answer is yes, you can be fired for getting a DUI. Whether you are or not will depend on your employer’s view of the DUI and your ability to continue doing your job after the arrest and possible conviction.
Legal Basis For Being Fired for Getting a DUI
The legal basis for firing someone for getting a DUI is that Colorado is an Employment-at-Will state. In simple terms, unless there is a written employment contract stating to the contrary (or other exceptions as defined by the Department of Labor), neither an employee nor an employer is required to give notice of (or reason for) resignation or termination.
For many Colorado employers, the criminal record that comes with a conviction is the primary reason an employee would get fired for getting a DUI. A criminal record is public, and since most employers conduct criminal background checks as part of the hiring process, and often throughout your employment, they will know about your DUI conviction.
Certain Jobs Are Off-Limits
Some jobs are off-limits to individuals with a conviction for driving under the influence or driving while ability impaired. How far can your DUI affect employment opportunities?
A DUI can preclude you from obtaining a job that involves driving, transportation, or operating heavy machinery. Just like your auto insurance rates will go up after a DUI, employers’ rates will too (or they won’t be able to get insurance at all) if they hire someone with a DUI for a job that involves driving.
If you work in a profession that the state of Colorado must license, you must report your DUI conviction to the licensing body. Depending on the profession, your conviction could result in a suspension or revocation of your license to practice, regardless of what your employer may think.
Suppose you have or are applying for a job that requires a federal security clearance, which is common in a military town like Colorado Springs. In that case, a DUI conviction can result in that clearance being revoked or denied.
Additionally, jobs that entail driving to meet clients at their homes or business will be hard to maintain unless you can avoid license suspension after a DUI arrest.
Colorado Chance to Compete Law and DUI Convictions
In 2019, Colorado implemented the Chance to Compete law, which ensures that Colorado residents with a criminal background have the chance to apply for those jobs for which they are qualified.
However, while this law prevents employers from requiring potential employees to disclose a criminal record, this does not prevent employers from conducting criminal background checks as part of their hiring process. Similarly, if a background check reveals a conviction for drunk driving, employers may legally refuse to hire a potential candidate.
You can legally be refused a position or fired for getting a DUI. That doesn’t mean you will be; not every Colorado Springs employer will consider a DUI conviction a disqualifying fact. But many will.
Fortunately, there is a way to drastically reduce your odds of being fired for getting a DUI.
Avoiding Conviction Is The Best Way To Avoid Being Fired For Getting a DUI
The consequences of being convicted of a DUI in Colorado Springs reach far beyond the criminal justice system. The effects can reach your social status, your relationships with family and friends, and as you have seen here, a conviction can have a devastating effect on your employment.
If you want to limit the fall-out to your career from a DUI arrest, the most crucial step you can take right now is to hire an experienced Colorado Springs DUI attorney. The right lawyer will know the Colorado Springs criminal justice system like the back of their hand and how to win a DUI case to get your life and your career back on track.