Drunk driving can have far reaching effects beyond the possibility of fines, jail time and revocation of your driver’s license. It is possible for you to lose much more – including your job.
Many states are what is known as “at will” employment states. In these states, employers can fire employees for virtually any reason, barring discrimination. So, if your employer discovers that you have gotten a DUI, it is possible for that DUI to be used as a reason to terminate you.
However, every employer is different. While some businesses may have a zero tolerance policy for DUI, others may look at the circumstances of your DUI and how it may affect your employment. For example, if it is your first DUI, your employer may look the other way. If your job involves driving as a primary function (trucking, for example), it is fairly likely that you could have your trucking license suspended; in that situation, the truck company has no reason to keep you around since your primary means of working is no longer valid.
If you have a job that requires a special license, such as a doctor or a lawyer, depending on the professional agency that grants you the license, you may have to abide by certain standards. DUI can violate said standards and can lead to revocation of your professional license, leading to unemployment.
Additionally, a DUI will show up on your record, meaning that when seeking future employment, it is possible for potential employers to perform background checks that show that you have been convicted of drunk driving. In Colorado, a business must be able to prove how your charges are a relevant reason that you cannot perform a job before they can use that arrest or conviction as a reason not to hire you. We are in a minority of states that do this, though, and it typically only applies to public employers.