A law book with a gavel - DUI Law

DUI or driving under the influence is a serious matter. However, many people may not be aware that DUI is more than just a traffic violation. It’d be good to note that driving under the influence in most states is considered a misdemeanor and may result in penalties, such as paying fines, jail time, and driving license suspension.

For instance, driving under the influence is both a traffic and criminal offense in California. In fact, the state has become more stringent in implementing DUI laws, including cases like drunk driving, underage DUI, and driving under drug influence.

Generally, if you’re caught driving with an illegally accepted amount of alcohol, drugs, or other substances in your system, the police officer can arrest you (with a reasonable cause). The court then judges whether you’re innocent or guilty of DUI, and a guilty verdict results in a conviction.

With that in mind, perhaps one of the most common questions is, “am I going to lose my job if arrested for DUI in California?”. As we learn the answer to this, let’s dive into what happens should you get arrested due to DUI. Continue reading to learn more.

What Happens When You’re Arrested For A DUI? 

Driving under the influence is a critical offense that does not just endanger your life since it can also put other road users and pedestrians at risk. On top of that, getting arrested for it could put your job on the line. Whether your career and main source of income are mainly from driving vehicles or you’re a practicing professional, losing a job for DUI can be a worrying concern.

With that, hiring a DUI lawyer is critical to help you navigate the legal process following an arrest is critical. But what happens when you get arrested for DUI?

To start, the police officer will submit a sworn report, your confiscated driver’s license, and a notice of suspension or revocation form (photocopy) to the department of motor vehicles (DMV). After which, the DMV will hold an administrative review of the police report, the relevant test results (like a breathalyzer), and the suspension or revocation order.

The arrested driver can request a DMV hearing within ten days of receiving the suspension or revocation order. This gives a chance for the driver to prove that the suspension or revocation isn’t justified. Once DMV finds no basis for the order, no license suspension or revocation will occur.

Attending a DMV hearing is advisable, especially if your job involves driving. You need to prove that you’re not guilty or negotiate for a lower charge to keep your driving privilege and avoid losing your driver’s license.

Is DMV Order Similar To DUI Suspension or Revocation? 

Generally, the suspension or revocation order is the DMV’s prompt administrative action (Administrative Per Se or APS). This sanction only involves withholding the arrested driver’s driving privilege.

In a DUI administrative hearing, the issues tackled include the elements surrounding the arrest. For instance, the DMV will determine if there was a reasonable cause for the police officer to arrest the driver for DUI and if the driver took a breath, urine, or blood test. On the other hand, a court hearing aims to determine whether the driver is guilty of DUI. DMV sanctions are separate from the penalties the court imposes, such as fines and imprisonment for DUI convictions.

Having the best DUI lawyer to help you in a court hearing is crucial. A DUI conviction can possibly cause you to lose your job and negatively affect your life. And so, don’t risk your career and entire life by hiring someone who hasn’t handled a DUI case.

Am I Going To Lose My Job?

Essentially, the short answer to this question is yes. This is especially if your career involves driving vehicles. For one, if your driver’s license is suspended, you cannot perform your driving duties until your license gets reinstated. Moreover, a DUI conviction can give your employer a reason to terminate you from the job.

But of course, each DUI case is different. Learn if a DUI in California can put you at risk of losing your job below.

Man in car blowing into breathalyzer

Commercial Drivers  

Driving-related jobs, such as bus, cargo or delivery truck, and hauling equipment drivers, could be at risk of losing their jobs after a DUI conviction. To note, these jobs require a commercial driver’s license, and the minimum commercial driver’s license suspension is one year in California DUI law.

If you’re a commercial driver and your driver’s license was suspended or revoked, you can’t legally drive because of lost driving privilege. Therefore, a DUI arrest and conviction can result in employment suspension or termination, especially since you won’t be able to provide the driving service you’re hired for unless your employer can offer you a non-driving role.

Non-Commercial Drivers  

If you own a non-commercial driver’s license, a DUI arrest may not necessarily compromise your job or career unless the court finds you guilty or you become convicted.  As a starting point, in California, the legal blood alcohol content or BAC limit for drivers whose scope of work involves the transport of multiple passengers is 0.04 percent for it to be considered DUI. And so, if proven guilty of DUI by the court, the driver is likely to face termination.

Furthermore, in California, ride-share and taxi companies can’t hire drivers with a DUI case within the last seven years. With this in mind, any DUI charge can significantly impact one’s life, career, and possible employment.

Licensed Professionals

Getting arrested for DUI can also affect the careers of licensed professionals, such as nurses, doctors, pharmacists, and accountants, to name a few. For one, if you’re convicted of DUI, the licensing board governing your profession will notify you of possible suspension or revocation of your professional license.

If it’s your first time facing a DUI charge, your licensing board will impose professional license disciplinary sanctions. You’ll likely be under professional license probation. However, for an aggravated DUI, your licensing board can take more stringent measures, such as a professional license suspension or revocation.

And like with commercial and non-commercial drivers, a DUI case can put you at risk of losing your job. With that, hiring an experienced DUI attorney following an arrest can be to your advantage. That way, you can receive legal advice for possible charge dismissal and help defend yourself in court and your licensing board.

Final Thoughts

If any person is arrested for a DUI charge in California, their employer can suspend or terminate them, depending on their job and available work options. As you probably realize, DUI is a serious legal offense that can ruin your entire career and life. Hence, consider hiring a reputable DUI lawyer to help lower your charges and avoid driver’s license suspension or revocation to keep your job. And most importantly, don’t drive under the influence to completely prevent possible repercussions.