Tennessee residents seem to be getting the message about the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. According to figures released by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security and the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the state saw fewer DUI arrests and fewer alcohol-related injury crashes in 2018 than in 2017 (the last years for which numbers are available).
However, uplifting statistics mean nothing if you were recently arrested on suspicion of DUI. You may feel discouraged and alone. Even one incident can have long-lasting consequences. If you are facing DUI charges, you probably have many questions.
How will this affect a job hunt?
If the application directly asks about convictions, you should tell the truth. Lying on the application will be a reason to pass you over for the job. Even if you are not directly questioned about a criminal past, many employers conduct background checks. In that case, it is up to the individual employer to decide whether a DUI will discourage them from employing you.
How will this affect my career?
Your employee handbook may contain a requirement that you reveal a DUI to your employer, especially if you have a company car or if driving is one of your job duties. If your career requires you to maintain a commercial driver’s license, a DUI conviction will likely present a huge problem. Commercial drivers are subject to state laws and those of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The FMCSA recently began a drug and alcohol clearinghouse, making it extremely difficult for professional drivers to hide DUI convictions.
What are my rights?
As serious as DUI charges can be, you do not have to face them alone. You have the right to legal representation. Small details matter, and an attorney will know the best way to handle your case. It may be tempting to plead guilty and put the matter behind you, but DUI convictions have serious, lifelong consequences in Tennessee. It may be worth your time and money to seek legal advice rather than live with the consequences of a needless conviction.