Arrested for DUI in California: Am I Going to Lose My Job?

Last Modified: June 18, 2024
April 6, 2022 | Rabin Nabizadeh | DUI

arrested-for-dui-in-californiaYou’ve been charged with a DUI and have no idea what to do next. A lot of worries may run through your mind, including the fear of losing your job.

Many aspects of a DUI charge can be overwhelming to a person, even to those familiar with California Law.

In this blog, we will discuss the possibility of losing your job after someone is being arrested for a DUI in California.


dui-effects-your-employmentEven one misdemeanor DUI can jeopardize a person’s employment in certain professions. A DUI conviction can lead to job termination or the suspension of a professional license.


The most obvious risk of job loss after DUI convictions is for those whose job requires driving like:

  • delivery truck drivers
  • bus drivers or ride-share drivers

A commercial license is required for some of these jobs.

A DUI conviction will almost result in the termination or suspension of these employees. (Unless the employer can offer an alternative job that does not require driving).

Why? California law requires a one-year minimum suspension of a commercial driver’s license. Even if the convicted driver was not operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the DUI arrest, it is critical to understand that the suspension of a commercial license occurs due to the conviction, not arrest.

If you drive a commercial vehicle, it is critical to contact an expert DUI defense attorney immediately following an arrest on any DUI charge. A DUI charge results not just in DUI penalties but also the real potential of losing your job.

A knowledgeable DUI defense lawyer may be able to get the DUI charge dropped or negotiate a plea bargain to a lower charge, most frequently “dry reckless,” that does not result in the suspension of your commercial driver’s license.


drivers-who-drive-for-living-duiIndividuals who drive for a living but do not require a commercial license such as couriers, taxi drivers, and similar jobs.

A DUI conviction may and almost result in job loss. Taxi, limousine, and ride-share companies are prohibited from hiring drivers who have had any DUI within the last seven years under California law. There is no need that the driver was on the clock during the arrest or had a passenger for hire in the vehicle during the arrest. It is critical to understand that the legal blood alcohol content limit for a DUI is 0.04 percent if the driver is transporting passengers. Any motorist who works as a driver for hire is required by law to be immediately terminated if convicted of DUI.

As with those who work in commercial vehicles, these drivers also face standard DUI penalties and the loss of their livelihood, making it critical that they contact an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible following their arrest.


  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Pilots
  • Real estate agents

Professional licenses for these individuals may be suspended or revoked if convicted of a DUI under some circumstances. If a person with a professional license is convicted of a first-time DUI, their licensing board will almost definitely notify them.

When a professional is charged with a first-time DUI, licensing boards will administer professional license discipline. The discipline may include sanctions that do not include license suspension. Still, the professional is placed on some professional license probation.

If the circumstances surrounding the DUI are aggravated, or if the professional has shown a pattern of drug or alcohol abuse, the various licensing boards take stronger action. This includes license suspension and, in rare instances, license revocation.

The first layer of defense is to keep the services of a DUI attorney who can find whether there are any plausible defenses to the DUI or if there are opportunities to negotiate with the district attorney for a reduced charge. Professionals convicted of DUI are entitled to legal representation at any hearings before the board.


can-employer-deny-you-a-job-because-of-duiThe first concern of someone facing a DUI charge is how this will affect their ability to find a job. A DUI conviction is a public record, so employers can access it through a background check. Unfortunately, regardless of the type of DUI conviction you have, or if it is just your first DUI conviction, your job prospects can be affected.

Companies take the hiring process seriously. They routinely run criminal background checks on potential employees and ask about a candidate’s criminal history on job applications. The bad news is that employers can consider a DUI when deciding whether or not to hire you in California. It’s not perceived as discrimination but as standard procedure when qualified and competent candidates are passed over due to criminal records.

The great news is that a DUI won’t totally ruin your chances. Some employers are more sensitive to this offense than others. Jobs involving children, confidential information, or driving may be riskier than others. However, a DUI conviction may not be as alarming to many employers.

Fortunately, California law protects job seekers with a DUI offense. They can also have their conviction expunged.


In California, the ban-the-box law went into effect on January 1, 2018. This law makes it unlawful for employers to ask about criminal background until the later phases of the application process. As the name implies, the law requires organizations and companies to remove a common question from job applications: “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?”

It was implemented to inspire employers to focus on qualifications and competency rather than the common practice of immediately rejecting people with criminal charges. All public or private employers with at least five employees must comply with the ban-the-box legislation.

Aside from this protection, California allows people with DUI convictions on their record to re-start their lives through expungement.


fire-you-due-to-a-dui-convictionGenerally, an employer cannot legally discharge you based on an arrest or pending charge. State law safeguards those who plead innocent and successfully defend themselves against prosecution and those arrested but never charged with a crime. However, if the courts convict you or if you enter a plea of guilty, your employer may terminate you.

If you lose your job, you have no choice but to look for another. This may be your first job application with a criminal record. While the Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating against job applicants based on criminal convictions, this rarely occurs in practice.

When all other factors are equal, companies in the private sector will prefer an applicant with a clean driving record over one with a DUI conviction. Certain employment that requires driving, such as bus driver, package delivery driver, and railroad engineer, may be terminated if a driver is convicted of DUI. Also, you risk losing or being excluded from jobs that require you to carry a handgun, such as those in the security business.

You need to contact an experienced California criminal defense attorney since a DUI conviction can result in job loss and trouble finding a new career.


dui-lawyerWhen you are charged with a DUI, you face jail time, fines, a driver’s license suspension, an alcohol education program, and other criminal record consequences. The possibility of these penalties makes it essential to find the right DUI attorney in California.

The first step toward protecting your rights is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after you’ve been arrested. The attorney-client relationship is one of the most important legal relationships that exist in our society. This relationship must be based on trust – and trust is built upon confidentiality. You should always feel comfortable discussing the details of your case with your lawyer.

At Summit Defense Attorneys law firm, we are prepared to fight for your rights and freedoms. We know the ins and outs of DUI law, and we have successfully defended hundreds of clients against alcohol- or drug-related charges in courts.

Our DUI lawyers will conduct a thorough investigation into your case and determine whether there is any evidence that can be used in your favor. We will examine all aspects of your arrest, such as whether:

  • You were pulled over legally;
  • The police had probable cause to arrest you;
  • Your blood-alcohol content was accurately measured; and
  • Fail to read Miranda rights.

Please don’t wait until it’s too late.

Call Summit Defense today to speak with a DUI defense lawyer who can protect your rights and help you get the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us at 866-847-7613 or through our online contact form.

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