A regular question that many people charged with drink driving ask is, “Will I lose my job for drink driving?”. The fact is, one of the most common traffic offences in Australia is the offence of drink driving. Since it is a criminal offence, if a person gets convicted for drink driving, it goes onto their criminal record.
But having a criminal record isn’t the only consequence of a drink driving conviction. It can affect other aspects of a person’s life, like getting a job.
In this post, we will take a look at the crime of drink driving, and we will also look at questions like:
- Will I lose my job for drink driving?
- Will a conviction for drink driving affect my employment?
- What if I got a DUI and lost my job?
- How do I get a job after a DUI conviction?
What is the Offence of Drink Driving?
The offence of drink driving is also known as Driving Under Influence (DUI). This refers to driving while under the influence of alcohol or driving under the influence of drugs.
A DUI charge is a serious offence under Australian law. It comes with different but strict punishments in different states and territories. These punishments include fines, community service, prison terms, temporary and lifetime bans.
In some states like Victoria, you will face a period of mandatory disqualification from driving if you get convicted of DUI. Your disqualification period can last anywhere from 3 months to 4 years. It depends on how serious your drink driving charge is.
In addition to affecting the offender’s employment screening for certain professions, a drink driving conviction also affects applications for firearms, visa applications and more.
These penalties exist because driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can have serious consequences. A pedestrian can lose his life when a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs drives dangerously.
The law prohibits driving after drinking more than the maximum amount of alcohol legally allowed. A suspect for drink driving will get a BAC (Blood/Breath Alcohol Concentration) test performed on them. If such a person is over the legal limit, the authorities will bring a charge of drink driving against them.
Will I lose my Job for Drink Driving?
If you are convicted for a charge of drink driving, you may get disqualified from driving for a time which the court determines. And if driving is an essential part of your job, you will be unable to carry out your work duties if you get disqualified from driving. This inability to drive may result in you losing your position at work.
Whether or not you will lose your job due to a drink driving conviction also depends on your employer. If driving is an essential part of your job, your employer could consider reassigning you to a role that does not require you to drive. But there is no legal obligation on your employer to do so.
If there is no other role that you can fill in your current job, then your employer has the right to terminate your contract. You may need to go through the conditions of your employment in your employment contract. Find out if your role requires you to hold a valid driver’s licence.
If driving is not a significant aspect of your job, then a drink driving conviction may not affect your employment. All you need to do is to find an alternative means of getting to and from work. You may consider using public transport.
Will Drink Driving Conviction Affect My Employment Options?
A criminal record contains all the releasable convictions or offences of an individual that is stored in a National Criminal Database. Many organisations, companies and institutions request for an updated National Criminal History Check record or a National Police Check before they employ or admit applicants to any roles.
For some delicate roles, this background check is a compulsory employment requirement. So even though having a criminal record should not be a barrier to landing the job you want, it actually is, in some cases.
A drink driving conviction will affect your employment if:
- Driving is an essential part of your role in the employment
- The law stipulates that a person who is convicted cannot be employed for the role.
In Australia, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against a potential employee on the basis of their criminal record. The exception is if the criminal conviction directly relates to or is relevant to the job.
The employers therefore have some discretion in such a case. They have the right to decide whether the drink driving conviction is relevant to the job or not.
What Do I Do if I Got a DUI and Lost My Job?
If you lost your job due to a DUI conviction, don’t panic. All is not lost. You can apply for another job that does not require you to drive or hold a driving licence.
For instance, a drink driving conviction does not prevent you from becoming a teacher. You can still teach if you have a drink driving conviction in some parts of Australia, like Victoria. But to register as a teacher with the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT), you have to go through a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check (NCCHC).
How to Get a Job After a DUI Conviction
Here are a few tips to help you get a job after you get a DUI Conviction:
#1. Prepare a strong application:
A way to do this is to ensure that you are competent for the new role you’re applying for. A DUI conviction record will not nullify your competence for a job. The exceptions are where the law requires that it be so, or where driving is a relevant part of the job.
Most employers go for the best-suited person for the job, not the person with the perfect criminal records.
#2. Focus on making progress:
After losing your job due to a DUI conviction, you must focus on making progress personally, psychologically, and mentally. Prospective employers will be impressed with any development that you have made since your conviction.
#3. Avoid applying for employment roles where driving is relevant:
Don’t apply for positions where driving and navigating is relevant if you had lost your previous job because of a drink driving conviction.
#4. If you’re not asked, do not disclose:
Jobs like factory workers, foreman, bartenders, and so on, do not require a Criminal record certificate for employment. If you are applying for a job like these, do not disclose details of your criminal records. If you aren’t asked directly, then say nothing about it.
If your DUI conviction has no relevance to the role, then be credible enough in your current role. Recommendations from your previous employer may help to boost your credibility.
#5. Do not to get convicted again:
If you have a DUI in your criminal record, work hard towards overwhelming the influence of that record. You can achieve that through responsible living and good behaviour.
Getting another conviction will dampen your chances with another employer or recruiter. But your employer may be predisposed in your favour if your last DUI conviction was long ago.
Do you need a Drink Driving Lawyer?
A DUI offence is a serious criminal offence. This is because driving under the influence puts the driver and other road users at the risk of serious harm or death. A DUI conviction can affect certain jobs you apply for, and stop you from getting certain benefits.
If you are facing any DUI charges, the best thing to do is to get an expert defence lawyer. Your lawyer will represent you and ensure that you get the best outcome possible in your case. And there’s no better place to get expert defence lawyers than at Brooke Winter’s Solicitors.
Our team of highly experienced drink driving lawyers will represent you and strengthen your defence case. We will work hard to mitigate the penalties that you will receive if you are found guilty. We will advise and represent you on any Criminal Law, Traffic Law or Domestic Violence matter.
We have offices on the Gold Coast, South Brisbane and Hobart. We are a mobile office and we will come to you wherever you are in Australia. We represent clients in courts throughout Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania.
Are you facing the risk of losing your job because of drunk driving? Then don’t delay. Please contact us now.