A charge of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol can disrupt your life in many ways. Any time you are found guilty of DUI, even if it’s only your first offence, you stand the risk of paying a hefty fine and losing your driver’s license for a period of time. Moreover, you might find yourself with a criminal record. This can affect your employment, both now and in the future. Here are some ways in which a DUI criminal record in Ontario can change your career.

DUI and a Criminal Record

A DUI is a criminal offence in Canada, which means that it goes on your record and comes up whenever a potential employer searches for criminal convictions. However, it is important to note that the DUI only goes on your record if you are convicted. That means that simply getting pulled over and accused of driving while impaired by a police officer isn’t enough to get a criminal record. If you feel that you were wrongfully charged, you can consult a DUI lawyer and fight the charge in court. If your lawyer succeeds in getting your case dismissed or settled for a lesser charge, you might avoid a criminal record. In this case, employers who search for legal issues in your past will not find any charges that would present a red flag.

Can DUI Prevent You from Getting a Job?

Strictly speaking, there is no law in Canada that prevents a person with a DUI on their record from getting any job they choose. However, certain employers might be less likely to hire somebody with a criminal record. For example, any job that requires regular driving tends to also require a clean driving record. An employer who examines your driving record and finds a DUI is within all legal rights to deny you for employment. Similarly, many government jobs and opportunities in the educational field require you to pass a background check before starting work. As a criminal offence, a DUI will show up on these checks and might jeopardize your job opportunities.

Will a DUI Ruin My Career?

There is no legal requirement that you lose your job if accused of a DUI, but more and more employers these days have requirements in their employee guidelines that give them the latitude to terminate an employee for criminal offences. The fact that you lose your driver’s licence following a DUI conviction can have a huge impact on your career. If your job requires frequent travel, even a first offence can stop you in your professional tracks. Many employers also have a code of conduct that a DUI conviction might violate. Finally, a DUI may require you to enroll in a substance abuse program, which would require you to miss work. Your employer might go easy on you, but you can absolutely be fired because of DUI.

How Long will a DUI Stay on Your Record?

Once you have been convicted of a DUI charge, your record will never be the same. While many locations in the United States have a set period of time (usually between five and ten years) after which a DUI will be purged from a person’s record, Canada is not as lenient. Because an impaired driving charge counts as a criminal offence, it remains on your record forever. This doesn’t mean that you will always be branded a criminal. In fact, after a few years your insurance companies will likely lower your premiums back to their pre-DUI rate if you prove that the incident was a one-time mistake. However, employers who run a criminal background check will always be able to find that you have been found guilty of driving under the influence.