It’s an embarrassing event. You decided to drive under the influence, got caught, and now face an operating under the influence (OUI) charge. Whether you had a job before your conviction and lost it, or you were currently job searching, your current search just gained some adversity.

Your choice to drink and drive led an unfortunate result, but possibilities are still available; it may just take a little longer. Many jobs ask about your criminal background and perform background checks on prospective employees. In Massachusetts, employers cannot ask about criminal records on the initial written application. Nevertheless, your record is bound to come up sooner or later, so trying to hide your charge would not be a wise move.

Hurdle number one: OUI conviction

If you were only arrested for an OUI but beat a conviction, your job search likely won’t be affected. In Massachusetts, employers cannot legally ask about arrests that didn’t lead to convictions. If you are convicted, you still don’t need to provide that information unless requested to do so. To alleviate these concerns, you could seek to have your records sealed or expunged. In Massachusetts, a court will only consider expungement if a lack of evidence is proven.

Hurdle number two: Sensitive information

Once charged with an OUI, you may be hard-pressed to find the job you’re hoping for if it involves driving a company or commercial vehicle, being around children, or handling sensitive information.

Hurdles number three and four: OUI Consequences

The penalties following an OUI charge can affect your job search. These could include jail time, fines, the loss of your license, suspension of your driving privileges, or the impounding of your car (if you refuse a breathalyzer test.) Access to public transportation would greatly benefit those unable to drive. Also, if you’ve lost your license, apply for a state ID card to prove identification.