How will a drink driving conviction affect my career?
Depending on the field you work in, a drink driving conviction may have a significant impact on your employment and job prospects. Indeed, as discussed below, a conviction may mean the end of your career in certain professions.
Do I have to notify my employer?
Some employment contracts stipulate that you tell your employer immediately about a drink driving conviction, while others are silent on the issue. Most employers do not require notification, but you should check your employment contract and employee handbook to make sure.
Will I lose my job?
As above, this will depend on your job, the terms of your employment contract, and the particular circumstances of your case. If you're employed as a driver, for example, or you were drink driving in a company car, or the incident occurred during your hours of employment, your employer will probably have grounds to dismiss you. When in doubt about the fairness of your dismissal, however, or about the imposition of any workplace sanction following a drink driving conviction, consult a solicitor who specialises in employment law or call ACAS for free advice.
Will I still lose my licence even if I need to drive for work?
This depends. Not on the nature of your job this time, but on the nature of the offence. Judges frequently impose driving bans on drunk drivers. Indeed, disqualification is mandatory for some offences (e.g., driving or attempting to drive when under the influence), and discretionary for others (e.g., in charge of a vehicle when under the influence).
Where disqualification is discretionary, you should inform the judge about your employment situation and what the effects of a driving ban would be. The judge may, but is not obliged to, take the information into consideration before passing sentence.
Do I have to tell a professional association I'm a member of/I want to become a member of?
Most professional associations (e.g., the Law Society, General Medical Council, etc) stipulate that members and applicants disclose drink driving convictions. If you're already a member of an association, they may seek to expel you, take disciplinary action, or require that you get treatment for alcohol abuse as a condition of continuing membership -- read the association's rules to find out what you need to do and consult a solicitor if you have any concerns.
If you're applying to become a member of an association, you will probably have to disclose your conviction also. In any event, it will almost certainly show up during your background check (see below). Having a drink driving conviction does not mean that you will automatically be refused membership, however, since most associations accept rehabilitated offenders nowadays.
Will a drink driving conviction show up in my background check?
Many employers conduct criminal background checks by asking applicants to consent to a Basic Disclosure of all unspent convictions and cautions recorded on the Police National Computer. Therefore, if your conviction is spent, as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, it will not show up on a Basic Disclosure.
For certain jobs and professions, a Standard Disclosure or an Enhanced Disclosure may be required. Most professional associations require applicants consent to a Standard Disclosure. This shows all convictions and cautions (both spent and unspent) recorded on the Police National Computer.
An Enhanced Disclosure is usually required for jobs working with children and vulnerable adults. This shows all convictions and cautions recorded on both the Police National Computer and local police systems .
Thus, no matter what, your conviction will show up on a Standard Disclosure and Enhanced Disclosure.