Will a DWI affect a background check?
A DWI conviction in Texas will have far-reaching consequences, including showing up on background checks.
A conviction will put you at risk of jail time, a hefty fine and loss of driver’s license, as ordered by the court. However, the consequences may extend into other areas of your life and, in particular, affect your job prospects.
The lifelong criminal record that you will have if you are found guilty means that hiring a skilled and experienced DWI attorney is essential to start building a strong defense.
You may then be able to avoid a conviction and the severe penalties that follow.
Can a DWI charge show up even if you’re not convicted?
Unfortunately, yes it can.
If you were arrested and charged with DWI but the case was dismissed or you were found not guilty at trial, it may still show up on a background check.
This may seem very harsh but it is the reality of the situation and you need to be aware of it if you face a DWI charge in Texas.
How will a DWI conviction damage your employment?
A DWI conviction can put your present and future employment at risk. This can be a double blow for people convicted of DWI in San Antonio.
Your criminal record will show up on background checks that prospective employers in Texas will run before committing to hiring you.
Most employers conduct these checks on job applicants. They are part of their due process and may immediately preclude you from being hired for a position.
There are certain rules that employers must follow when conducting a background check:
- If using a third-party agency, the employer must inform you and you must provide consent.
- If the employer decides not to hire you on the basis of the background check, you must be informed in writing of the reasons why.
Many job hunters with a criminal background therefore find that their applications for employment are consistently turned down. This is especially the case in tough times of higher unemployment, when many applicants seek every available position.
Unfortunately, a criminal conviction can immediately influence an employer’s opinion and will often count against you.
They may assume that:
- You are irresponsible and unreliable
- You may offend again
- You are a danger to the workplace
Almost certainly, you will be discounted from positions that involve driving or using dangerous equipment.
The employer will consider it their duty to protect fellow employees and may not want to risk someone with a DWI conviction when other applicants without a criminal record are available.
You will also be disqualified from positions that involves caring for the safety of others.
However, if your DWI conviction was in the distant past, your potential employer is less likely to count it against you.
Is your present job at risk?
Many employers in Texas do not require a valid reason to terminate your employment.
Employment contracts often favor the employer and include clauses that allow them to terminate at their discretion if you are convicted of a crime.
This puts your job at risk if you are found guilty of DWI.
Of course, a conviction may also result in prison time, especially if it is not your first offense or there were aggravating factors when you were charged.
Any lengthy spell in jail is likely to see your employment terminated by the employer. It is also more likely to happen if the conviction results in:
- Perceived safety or security concerns
- Suspended driving privileges deemed necessary to perform your job
- Inability to retain a specific license required for your job
What are the other longer-term effects of a DWI?
Because a DWI conviction affects background checks, the negative consequences can extend beyond your present and future job prospects.
It can make it more difficult to secure credit and rent an apartment, for instance.
What can you do about a DWI conviction?
Until 2017, there was practically nothing you could do to avoid a DWI conviction in Texas showing up on background checks.
However, a law was introduced that now allows some first-time offenders to “seal” their conviction by applying for an order of non-disclosure.
This means that it will still be on your record but it will not be visible to most people who conduct a background check, such as employers and credit companies.
However, there are some “sensitive industries” such as employers in education and banking (as well as some government officials), who will still be able to see your criminal record.
The ability to seal a conviction only applies if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was under 0.15 and there were no other people or vehicles involved in your charge (Class B misdemeanors).
If you were charged with a DWI offense but never convicted, it is also possible to get your arrest record expunged with the help of an experienced DWI lawyer.
An experienced lawyer can help with your DWI charge or conviction
A DWI conviction in San Antonio can have far-reaching and life-changing consequences.
It is critical to hire an experienced DWI lawyer to begin taking the steps towards mitigating these serious consequences and keeping your record clean.
If you already have a charge or conviction for a first-time DWI, you may also be able to get it expunged or sealed with the help of a skilled lawyer.
At Trey Porter Law, DWI in San Antonio and the surrounding area is my sole focus. I’m experienced in all aspects of DWI cases.
If you’re facing a DWI charge in Texas or want to pursue an expungement or order of non-disclosure for a conviction, call or text 210-920-1281 today for a free case evaluation or complete our online contact form.
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Stephen, October 2017
Mr Porter was recommended to me by a coworker. He helped her out of a DWI 3 years ago, and he did the same for me.
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Bindia, March 2018