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Loudoun County Attorneys > Blog > Criminal Defense > Can a DUI Affect Employment Status in Virginia?

Can a DUI Affect Employment Status in Virginia?


The subject of today’s blog post centers on the relationship between an arrest or conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) and future employment opportunities. For the purposes of this discussion, it is important to note that a DUI arrest or conviction can result in a criminal record. In certain employment settings, the presence of a DUI arrest or conviction may prevent an employer from hiring a potential employee. Though there are federal and state controls in place to regulate the use of criminal records during the employment process.

How Does U.S. Federal Employment Law Address Criminal Records?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provides for guidelines for employers concerning the use of arrest and conviction records. In order to deny employment based on a previous arrest, the employer must demonstrate a “business justification” for their decision. Stated otherwise, the employer must have a reasonable basis for denying employment based on a prior arrest.

From a prior conviction standpoint, the EEOC does not allow employers to deny employment without a “business necessity.” This is a higher standard than the business justification standard for prior arrests. To demonstrate business necessity, an employer must consider the type of criminal offense, how recently the offense occurred, and the type of job in question.

How Does Virginia State Employment Law Address Criminal Records?

Under Code of Virginia 54.1-204, there are restrictions in place for the use of criminal convictions in certain regulated professions. A regulated profession is one where workers are required to obtain a license to perform work duties, including but not limited to attorneys, doctors, and commercial drivers.

Specifically, the regulatory body is not allowed to deny an application on the sole basis of a criminal conviction. The criminal conduct must relate directly to the profession in question. In considering whether to approve an application for a license, certificate, or registration, there are several required considerations. The regulatory body must consider many factors, including but not limited to the:

  • Nature and severity of the criminal offense;
  • Relationship between the criminal offense and the regulated profession in question;
  • Age of the person at the time of the criminal offense;
  • Amount of time since the criminal offense occurred; and
  • Rehabilitation efforts since the criminal offense occurred.

How Does a DUI Conviction Impact Regulated Professions in Virginia?

A DUI conviction can prevent a person from work in numerous regulated professions in Virginia, including but not necessarily limited to:

  • Bail Enforcement Agents;
  • Bus Drivers;
  • Commercial Vehicle Drivers;
  • Commercial Driving Instructors;
  • Emergency Medical Service Vehicle Operators;
  • School Bus Drivers;
  • Taxi Drivers; and
  • Truck Drivers.

Let Us Help You with Your Case

If you are dealing with a DUI arrest or conviction in Virginia, it is particularly useful to consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP, servicing Leesburg, Winchester, Fairfax, and Manassas, have experience handling DUI arrests and convictions as well as other matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.

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