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employment consequences

A DUI/DWI conviction will appear on a criminal background check requested by a prospective employer and may adversely affect employment opportunities in some professions, industries, and occupations—especially jobs (1) for which a commercial driver’s license (CDL) is required, (2) for which a person must operate heavy equipment or machinery, or (3) in which a person is entrusted with ensuring the safety of others (air traffic controller, police officer) or safeguarding sensitive information or data. Generally, the only way to remove a DUI/DWI conviction from appearing in some or all of such background checks is to have it expunged or sealed—which is only possible in limited circumstances.

In states in which employment is at-will an employer may terminate an employee for a DUI/DWI arrest or conviction. If the employee has a written employment contract there may be limitations on the grounds on which the employee may be terminated, and a DUI/DWI arrest or conviction may fall within those grounds of termination for cause—in other words, termination for an identified reason, and not for no reason, which is permissible under employment at will.

In Texas, a DUI/DWI conviction will indeed appear on a criminal background check and can negatively impact employment prospects, particularly in fields that require a commercial driver's license (CDL), the operation of heavy machinery, or roles responsible for public safety or sensitive information. Texas is an at-will employment state, meaning employers can terminate employees for any reason, including a DUI/DWI arrest or conviction, unless there is a written contract that specifies otherwise. Expungement or sealing of DUI/DWI records is possible under certain conditions, but it is not guaranteed and is subject to eligibility criteria set by Texas law. If a DUI/DWI conviction is expunged or sealed, it may not appear on some background checks, thereby reducing its impact on employment opportunities.

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