A conviction for driving while impaired (DWI) in North Carolina comes with many consequences. You probably already know that a DWI conviction can result in a loss of your driver’s license for a year (or more, depending on how many past convictions you’ve had and the severity of the DWI), fines, court fees and even jail time.
In addition, a DWI conviction might stay on your permanent criminal record, which could possibly hurt your chances of getting a job in the future.
Here, we share a few tips on how to navigate the job search after one or more DWI convictions.
Be honest with potential employers.
Most employers will run a criminal background check on any potential employee and will ask whether you’ve ever been charged with or convicted of a felony. While North Carolina employers are generally not allowed to refuse to hire you solely based on your DWI conviction, they can, in some cases, take such convictions into consideration when making a hiring decision. If they determine that a criminal conviction means a person is unfit for the job, they may choose not to hire that person for that reason.
What does this mean for someone with a DWI conviction? A great strategy is to be upfront with your potential employer about your prior convictions. Because the employer will run a background check on you, it will eventually discover the conviction, so it is best to control the narrative.
Instead of trying to hide it, which would come off as dishonest to the employer, be upfront about your record when you apply for a job, while at the same time highlighting how you’ve learned from the mistake.
Apply to jobs that don’t involve driving.
Even if a company is willing to forgive your past mistakes, there are some jobs that are very difficult to get after a DWI conviction. If driving a vehicle is an integral part of the job, consider whether you should apply or if there is another field that would be a better fit. For liability purposes, many times employers will not accept someone with a DWI if the job involves driving vehicles, as the risk is too high.
Speak with a North Carolina criminal defense attorney.
If you are concerned about your ability to get a job after a DWI arrest or conviction, the best way to address this concern is to speak with an experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney.
If you have been charged but not yet convicted, a defense attorney might be able to negotiate your charge down to something less than a DWI, such as reckless driving. If you’ve already been convicted of one or more DWIs, it’s not too late to seek the help of an attorney, who might be able to get your prior conviction expunged. Attorney Jeremy Cotten has represented hundreds of clients through Wake, Johnston, Harnett, Orange, Sampson, Lee, and Chatham Counties in first appearance hearings. Give him a call or head to the main page to speak with a legal assistant.