Law Offices of Jess C. Bedore III - Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
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Can an employer ask you about a DUI arrest?

You're getting ready to go in for an interview, and you're trying to figure out what questions they'll ask and how to answer. While you're focusing mostly on job skills and experience, you're also wondering if they're going to ask you about your legal background. Can they? If your potential employer asks you if you've been arrested for drunk driving, for example, is that legal? Do you have to answer?

Typically, employers cannot ask about arrests. They can only ask about convictions. They do have the ability to ask about felonies and misdemeanors.

Naturally, you don't have to answer, the same way you don't have to answer any question in an interview. You don't want to lie, though, as a background check may reveal the truth and then you're not going to get the job.

So, if your employer asks if you've ever been convicted of a crime -- like a DUI -- there's no problem. If the employer asks if you've ever been arrested, though, that's an issue. You could have been mistakenly arrested, perhaps because you tripped and failed a field sobriety test, and then cleared when the blood test results came in. You weren't convicted, you didn't do anything wrong, and that mistaken arrest shouldn't be held against you.

This does show why it's so important to make sure that you get a fair trial and to know about all of your defense options when facing DUI charges. A conviction can have a large impact on your life for years to come, even beyond the fines and jail time that you may be facing.

Source: Bloomberg, "One DUI Shouldn't End a Career," accessed Jan. 19, 2017

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