Completing a job application or preparing for an interview with a prospective employer is stressful even if you never had an arrest or conviction. But if you have a DUI conviction in your history, you may be tempted not to disclose it on a job application.
At Stechschulte Nell, Attorneys at Law, here in Tampa, we understand how discouraging it can be to need a job and sense that you won’t be hired because of a prior criminal conviction. Our top priority is to prevent our clients from getting any DUI convictions. But once someone has already pleaded guilty or been convicted after trial, there’s no hiding from the record in Florida.
In this blog, we’ll give you our best advice on how to handle a job application and a job interview after you’ve been convicted of driving under the influence in Florida. If you have questions, call us at the number below. If you are still facing DUI charges, it’s not too late to contact us to help you fight the charge and to do everything possible to avoid a DUI conviction.
Florida Records of DUI Convictions
Unfortunately, Florida law prohibits expunging or sealing records of DUI convictions. In many cases, an experienced DUI defense lawyer can seek a change in the charge from a DUI to the less serious offense of Reckless Driving, DUI conviction records are permanently available to the public in Florida. If your criminal defense attorney can raise questions about the quality or quantity of the state’s evidence or persuade the prosecutor that your first offense deserves some leniency, amending the DUI to Reckless Driving permits the case records to be expunged after you complete all the terms of the sentence.
Learn More > The True Costs of a DUI Conviction
Can You Be Asked About Criminal Charges on a Florida Job Application?
Florida does allow potential employers to include questions about any criminal arrests or convictions you may have had when you are applying for a job. Many other states have enacted “Ban the Box” laws that prohibit employers from including questions on job applications relating to the applicant’s criminal history. These laws usually require that the prospective employer can only ask about a person’s criminal record after they have extended a job offer.
In Florida, there is no law preventing a possible employer from asking about your criminal record on the job application itself.
Be Truthful and Explain You’re Not “That Person” Anymore
Since your DUI conviction will be easily discovered by the employer if they look it up, there’s no benefit to lying about it. It’s better to be perceived by the employer as honest about a past mistake than to be proven untrustworthy during your first interaction.
Most job applications in which a question asks if you have been convicted of a crime also include space for you to explain the circumstances.
The facts of every DUI case are different, and there is no explanation that will fit everyone’s situation. But there are certain points you can emphasize when you begin to explain why your past DUI should not keep you from being hired. If the facts of your case do not fit the circumstances listed below, then you should not try to include them.
- Emphasize that many years have passed since the DUI (if it is an old conviction),
- Point out that you never repeated the conduct, (if only one DUI),
- Include the fact that no accident or injury occurred (if none did occur),
- You can express how much you regret your conduct and how much you learned from the mistake,
- If you can, describe how the DUI experience changed you into a more responsible adult, and how you are fully rehabilitated.
- You might include that you “hope you will not be defined by the worst thing you ever did,” and
- You are not “that person” anymore.
Rehabilitation and Growth
Owning your errors, especially the ones that are most humiliating, is very difficult. But it is the difficulty of doing so that often leads people to be impressed and admire your ability to face your flaws. But you, as a person, are so much more than your past DUI conviction. If you have a family, children, and financial responsibilities that you need to meet, employers need to know about them.
The more an employer sees you as themselves, the more they can identify with you on a human level, and the more likely it is that you will break through the DUI stigma and land the job.
No one can read your mind, so you need to relate how much different your life is now than it was at the time of the DUI.
Job Duties Will Matter
The duties involved with the job you’re seeking will be primary factors in how your DUI will be viewed on a job application or during an interview. If the job requires driving, or even operating heavy equipment, an employer will probably be hesitant to take on the risk that you might injure yourself or someone else. Remember, business owners and managers are concerned about opening the company and themselves up to liability for an accident.
If the work you apply for is unrelated to driving, then an old DUI conviction should not prevent you from performing your duties with the highest degree of skill and professionalism. However, Florida law does permit employers to deny employment because of a criminal conviction, even a misdemeanor.
Learn More > Will Having a DUI Affect a Teaching License?
Avoid Florida DUI Convictions — Contact Skilled DUI Defense Lawyers
Because a Florida DUI conviction can follow someone throughout their life, every effort should be made to avoid the conviction in the first place. No one should drive after drinking too much, but if you find that you’ve made that mistake, contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer near you immediately. Proving a driver guilty of DUI is not an easy task for prosecutors if they are challenged by criminal defense lawyers who know how to
- analyze the evidence,
- contest the legality of the traffic stop,
- examine bodycam and dashcam videos for clues constituent with police mistakes and unsupported conclusions,
- expose the police officer’s errors when they administered the field sobriety tests,
- examine the maintenance and certification records of the Intoxilyzer 8000 breathalyzer machine
Don’t accept a DUI conviction without consulting an experienced DUI defense lawyer and allowing them to use their legal knowledge and courtroom skill to protect you from an avoidable DUI conviction.
Call our experienced DUI defense lawyers at Stechschulte Nell at 813-280-1244 for a DUI case review today.