Jason S Newcombe - Washington DUI Attorney

Washington State DUI & Your Employment


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Washington State DUI and Your Employment


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How will a Washington DUI arrest affect my employment?

If you have recently been arrested for a DUI here in Washington State, one of the primary concerns no doubt involves Washington State DUI and your employment. Our Washington DUI attorneys are often asked by our clients if they are required to inform their employers of their DUI arrest or Drunk Driving conviction.

Washington's DUI laws have no self-reporting provisions that require disclosure to employers at any stage of the proceedings, including even after a DUI conviction. Some employers, however, may attempt to compel disclosure through either a collective bargaining agreement or through their own internal administrative and personnel policies. If you believe that you may be required to disclose your DUI as a condition of an ongoing job, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced Washington DUI attorney as soon as possible.

Washington State DUI and your employment - can it result in termination?

If you are already employed and are arrested or charged with DUI, a conviction may result in termination. In fact, more employers will now terminate or suspend you from any company-related activities involving driving, if they merely learn that you have been arrested for DUI or that you currently have a WA drunk driving charge pending.

In most cases, the first place to check is the employee handbook or collective bargaining agreement. As a practical matter, you are already probably aware of whether or not your company periodically updates its personnel files and simultaneously runs another criminal background / driver's history check during its updating process. If this is the case, you should plan on both the arrest and conviction, if any, being found. Most employers do distinguish between being charged or being convicted.

The question of whether or not to report an arrest or a currently pending WA DUI charge is a subject that you should address with one of our knowledgeable Washington DUI attorneys, especially if you believe that you have an obligation to self-report the arrest or a pending criminal misdemeanor charge. If at all possible, however, do not raise the subject with your employer until you have had an opportunity to speak with experienced Washington State DUI lawyers.

It is always best to learn about your rights/obligations before risking a reprimand, a demotion, or possibly even termination. If you have questions about this subject and you also have a copy of your employee manual or a copy of your collective bargaining agreement, please bring it with you during your initial consultation with one of our experienced Washington DUI attorneys.

Finally, there are certain jobs, such as those within the government sector (especially those with a high security clearance) that may not be able to avoid a DUI / DWI being detected. As a practical matter, any government agency or subcontractor dealing with government projects will be scrutinized at a far higher level than a normal employee. Additionally, these institutions have direct access to more difficult-to-access computer databases, such as the NCIC (National Crime Information Computer), the NICS (The National Instant Criminal Background Check System), as well as others, including Washington State's complete criminal history database. Every ARREST will be shown in these comprehensive databases. If you believe that you may fall into one of these special categories, please call our offices immediately to speak with one of our knowledgeable Washington State DUI lawyers.

In general, the public is not allowed to access these federal databases or Washington's complete criminal history database. These criminal records databases are supposed to be used primarily for law enforcement purposes. Criminal records in these databases are not supposed to be legally accessible to the general public.

Again, however, you should not count on your current or future employer not learning about your DUI arrest, even if you are never convicted of anything. Contact our Washington State DUI lawyers to learn more since laws regarding the dissemination of information are always changing. Additionally, there is always the possibility that some unscrupulous background agency will attempt to inappropriately access them.

Washington State DUI and your employment - about criminal background checks.

As to the specific issue of future job opportunities, many employers will not hire you if you have a drunk driving conviction on your driving record. With the rise of the information age, your driving history as well as your criminal conviction record are easily accessible. Anyone can access your Washington State Department of Licensing driving record as well as your criminal history because both are public records. The most common type of criminal background check is through the Washington State Patrol Identification & Criminal History Section database (WASIS).

The WASIS database contains records sent to WASIS by courts as well as statewide criminal justice agencies. The database includes information on conviction, arrests that are less than 1 year old w/ pending dispositions, as well as information in regards to registered sex / kidnap offenders.

In addition, the Washington State Patrol criminal history file contains further information (ie. records of arrest), that is non-accessible to the public.

That does not mean, however, that your DUI arrest or other criminal misdemeanor records are completely inaccessible by employers even though it may difficult or potentially unlawful for them to access them.

The Criminal Records Privacy Act specifies criminal history dissemination guidelines. Conviction data may be released without restriction. Non-conviction info is not accessible to the general public. The legislation also requires that info be retained concerning the person who is requesting the report, information such as the search target, the person's name that requested the search, as well as the conducted search date.

The simple truth is that it seems as if more and more employers are performing criminal background and driving history checks these days. Part of the reason for this is that with information so much more readily available it is much more cost effective than it was in days past. Indeed, many internet companies now specialize in very detailed background checks of prospective employees. Contact our Washington State DUI lawyers for more indepth answers to questions regarding this.

In many instances, it is simply impossible to know how deep a potential future employer may dig during their background check. Increasingly, however, even a single conviction for drunk driving is grounds for automatic disqualification. This is especially true if some aspect of the job would entail you needing to drive. In some cases, employers will attempt to go back a certain number of years during their investigation. In other cases, however, employers will look back as far as they are able to given the resources that they are willing to expend.

Here in Washington, both the entire driver's history from the date you started driving, as well as the entire criminal conviction history from the day you turned 18, are matters of public record and readily accessible. This means that employers will be able to access these records if they or their investigator decide to do so.

Call the Law Offices of Jason Newcombe now for a free consultation with our Washington DUI attorneys.

DUI Penalties - Call the Law Offices of Jason Newcombe now for a free consultation.
(855) 384-3786