On the broad spectrum of criminal offenses, drunk driving likely falls somewhere between shoplifting and speeding in the minds of many. Most people view it as a victimless crime unless a crash occurs, and it is also a common offense.
However, just because impaired driving offenses are common doesn’t mean their consequences are insignificant. Those accused of impaired driving could lose their license and go to jail. The consequences don’t stop when they exit the criminal courts either.
Many skilled professionals are surprised to find that impaired driving charges have an immediate and lasting impact on their careers as well. There are at least five ways in which a drunk-driving conviction could hurt your career growth.
- You may miss work for court, probation or incarceration
Fear about missing multiple days of work for court can inspire some people to plead guilty instead of defending themselves. They might think that by limiting their court time to one day, they will also minimize the impact of the charge on their professional development.
However, pleading guilty doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t also miss work in the future to serve your jail time, perform community service or meet your probation officer.
- Losing your license can affect your job
The automatic suspension of your license is a common consequence of a drunk driving arrest, with a longer suspension following a conviction. If you don’t have a license, you may have a hard time getting to work. You may also not be able to perform your job duties if you drive as part of your job.
- Upward mobility can come to a halt
When you apply for a better job at another company, they are going to call your references and likely do a background check. The same issue could affect your career advancement with your current employer as well, as many businesses do background checks before confirming a promotion.
- Continuing your education could be a struggle
Whether you work as a real estate professional or a high school teacher, continuing education is important to your career development. You may have trouble enrolling in courses at good schools and may also find yourself disqualified from certain forms of financial aid because of your criminal conviction.
- Social stigma can affect who wants to network with you
Alcohol and off-the-clock socialization often play a role in professional networking. If your co-workers or business acquaintances know about your conviction, they may not invite you to events because they don’t want to tempt you with alcohol.
Even if not all of these risks apply to your profession, you may want to consider defending against pending charges to protect your career.