Can You Get a Government Job with a DUI?

Driving under the influence convictions and accusations are common in our current world, but how do they affect your chances of getting a job with the government? What is the hiring process, and how is it different if you have that on your record? Is it possible to even get a job with a DUI on your record?

Can you get a government job with a DUI?

Yes, you can become a government employee with a driving under the influence conviction, depending on the nature of the position. Most positions will consider the time frame in which it happened, the severity of the conviction, and your attempts to improve since the event. You may be disqualified if the job is primarily driving. 

While the conviction may make it complicated, getting a government job is not impossible for you if you have a DUI conviction. Read on to find out how you can make the hiring process easier on yourself and your potential employers.

Should I tell them about my DUI before the interview?

Can you get a Government Job with a DUI?

The answer is yes. Because most government jobs require a background check, it is best to inform them ahead of time so they do not find it during your background check. Not presenting the information when you begin the process could hurt your application, as it could be considered withholding information and they may not believe you to be an honest potential employee. 

How do I get past my DUI to become a government employee?

Like other positions, it may be hard to convince those hiring you that you are worth the risk if you have had a DUI conviction. While it may be difficult, being honest about the situation and keeping an open book policy about your past, specifically during the interview process, will make things run smoother and give you more control over the narrative. 

Can you get a Government Job with a DUI?

By controlling the narrative in the interview process, you can share how you have changed since the conviction and learned from the event. 

Note that opening up this discussion in your interview may lead to questions about other addictive tendencies, such as substance abuse. Answer the questions honestly and take responsibility for your past, and they will look more favorably on you. 

Another way to show them that you have improved since the conviction is completing some sort of alcohol treatment program or serving in your community. Along with that, if you completely follow any penalties that were put on you during your conviction and outline that to your employer, it could help your case.

Why won’t they hire me with a DUI?

Can you get a Government Job with a DUI?

In some cases, a DUI charge leads to a felony conviction. Typically, this is when you have had a previous felony DUI conviction, have had three prior misdemeanor DUI convictions, or have hurt or killed someone in an accident. While this varies from state to state, these are the most common reasons you may get a felony conviction. Receiving a felony conviction could prevent you form working from the government. 

Another issue is to consider the timing. If your DUI conviction happened recently—usually within the last three to five years—it may disqualify you completely. They may believe that you have not had time to consider your actions or learn from them. 

It also may be related to the job you’re applying to—if you’re applying for an organization such as the Transportation Security Administration, you have a higher chance of being considered for the job when compared to a position in the Secret Service. If you have to drive significantly for the position in which you are applying, more credence will be given to whether you can be trusted to drive while on the job and not do so while intoxicated. 

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Can other things prevent me from becoming a government employee?

Other crimes can prevent you from becoming a government employee. Because they investigate your past with a background check, they will bring up anything from a misdemeanor to a felony, and anything could force you out of the hiring process. 

Can you get a Government Job with a DUI?

In addition to crimes, you could be disqualified if you have had some record of substance abuse. In some positions, drug screenings are common and a part of the hiring process; you could be disqualified—or, if you are on the job, fired—if illegal substances are found in your system. 

Dishonorable discharge from the military may also affect your qualifications. As many positions are looking for responsible and honorable individuals this sort of record may pull you from the running. Often, dishonorable discharges mean that a crime has been committed, so further investigate may occur and may shed a negative light on you during the hiring process. 

Another factor that may affect your chances of getting a government position is your citizenship status. Some government jobs require you to get a security clearance, and if you are not a naturalized citizen, this will prevent you from getting that clearance. 

You may be disqualified if you have had any debt or bankruptcy issues, especially if you are looking into a position that requires you to handle money. 

Getting a government job with a DUI is not impossible, but it will be challenging compared to candidates who do not have that conviction. If you stay positive and honest about your past while responding to questions truthfully and responsibly, you can still have a chance at getting that coveted government position. If you can provide examples and show that you have improved since the event, you have a better chance at getting that job. 


How far back does a federal background check go?

While it varies from state to state, most federal background checks go back between seven and ten years. Check online to find out how far back your state goes in a background check. 

Can having a juvenile record stop me from becoming a government employee?

Since most juvenile records are sealed, information is only available to government agencies, courts, and law enforcement. If you take the time to get the crime expunged it will not be required for you to share your history. Considering juvenile crimes that were not expunged, you will have to disclose that information when going through the hiring process. 

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Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.