When people find themselves facing criminal charges, their first focus is usually criminal penalties, including fines and jail time. They usually only start to think about the secondary, social consequences after they know what criminal penalties, like the loss of their license, they have to deal with.
Unfortunately, those social penalties can often be far more severe than the legal consequences, particularly for a first conviction. Failing to consider them as you plan for handling the charges could be a major mistake.
Knowing the three ways in which an impaired driving offense can affect your career can help you make better decisions about how to address those pending charges and protect your financial security in the future.
Your employer may have a zero-tolerance policy
Whether you work in the skilled trades or in a highly professional career, there is a chance that your employer will have strict policies about criminal convictions. Many companies do not hire or retain workers with a criminal conviction on their records. Others may keep employees after a criminal conviction but may no longer consider them for advancement opportunities in the future.
Basically, if your employer does any kind of background check, you may have to worry about whether your conviction will affect your job security or your upward mobility within the company.
You could lose your professional licensing
To protect the public and maintain rigorous standards, the state of Massachusetts licenses skilled professionals in various fields. That means that a board of other professionals reviews each application and helps ensure that each professional practicing in a skilled area, from law to medicine, meets certain educational and moral criteria.
Criminal convictions are often a reason for licensing authorities to refuse to give or renew a professional license to someone. They may also call someone for a review hearing after a conviction. An impaired driving charge may not seem like the most serious criminal offense when compared with violent crimes, but to some people, it could seem like a breach of the public trust or an indicator of questionable decision-making.
You may not be able to drive on the job
Even if your arrest had nothing to do with the performance of your job, a guilty plea or conviction could have an impact on your future job performance. Whether you drive to visit local businesses for sales calls or you occasionally pick up supplies for your store while using a company car, you may not be able to do that work anymore.
Your employer may no longer allow you to drive a company vehicle or as part of your job if you have any kind of impaired driving record, even if it did not happen on company time. If you lose your license, you could lose your job.
Given how an impaired driving conviction could quickly affect your career, it often makes sense to defend against impaired driving allegations, even if it is a first offense. Discussing the specifics of your situation and your career with your attorney can be a good way to make more informed decisions.