You have worked incredibly hard to get to where you are today. You have a career that required you to obtain a professional license, whether it be medical, legal, driver’s, engineering — whatever. Without that license, you may lose your ability to work in your field of choice, which would affect your ability to support yourself the way you want. So, it is understandable that you’re concerned whether your recent arrest for driving under the influence may affect your ability to keep your professional license.
The last thing you want is to lose your license, but the simple truth is that very well may happen, regardless if your arrest results in a conviction. You see, your employer or any future employers have the right to run criminal background checks. If they see the arrest or DUI conviction on your record, they may have the right to end employment, suspend your license or, if in the process of looking for a job, refuse employment.
Every state is different
Every state has different laws regarding criminal background checks. Any employer can request them, but some may be able to refuse or terminate employment based on an arrest record, while others require convictions to do so. Some states require relevance to be established for a conviction to affect employment eligibility or status. In Minnesota, an arrest or conviction may affect employment eligibility and your professional license.
Federal laws are in place to protect you, to a certain degree. These laws generally only apply to background checks performed by outside firms rather than those performed in-house. These federal guidelines simply state that arrests can only be reported for seven years. Reporting of certain convictions, however, such as DUIs, can last forever.
Your employer or the licensing board may require you self-report any arrests or DUI convictions. After which, they’ll decide if you may keep your job or license.
Can I clear my record?
Possibly. Every case is different. However, seeking an expungement may be possible. If approved, it doesn’t necessarily clear your record but hides any DUI arrests or convictions from background checks.
So, will a DUI affect your professional license? It might. There are no guarantees. It depends on the type of license, your employer and if your arrest results in a conviction. With help, though, you may fight any criminal and professional consequences that may come from your DUI arrest.