Getting to Work After a DUI
Updated: 3/8/2023. MPL Law is always keeping track of changes in Pennsylvania laws. This article has been updated following recent changes in 2022 to the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code concerning individuals with driving under the influence (DUI) convictions.
At MPL Law, one of the questions we get asked most often in DUI cases is this — if I have a DUI, can I still drive to work? While most of us learned in driver’s education classes that driving is a privilege, it becomes a necessity for many adults to get to work, school and other engagements. Losing driving privileges after a DUI or getting a license suspended can result in significant and immediate problems.
What happens when you get a DUI in PA? How will you get to work? How can you keep attending school or going to church? How can you drive your family around or run errands?
If you live in a rural area especially, getting around can be extremely difficult. You may have to rely on friends and family for errands, or you may need to spend substantial amounts of money on taxis or other driving services. Understanding what you can do after getting a DUI can help you prepare for navigating your license suspension.
Consequences of DUIs on Employment in Pennsylvania
Getting a DUI in Pennsylvania can have serious employment implications, including:
- Losing your job: Getting a DUI could very well result in the loss of a job. When taking a job, people often sign contracts that restrict participation in illegal activity. A DUI breaches one’s duties under such a contract, which can result in loss of employment.
- Losing your certifications: Depending on the industry in which you work, losing your driver’s license could interrupt your ability to qualify for or carry out your job duties. Commercial drivers like truck drivers will lose their commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) along with their personal ones, preventing them from working in their fields. DUIs can also cause some individuals to lose their professional licenses, like doctors, teachers and pharmacists. People who lose their jobs under these circumstances may be unable to reenter their field in the same capacity.
- Failing to qualify for new employment opportunities: Many jobs require individuals to show identification through licenses to qualify for employment opportunities. With licenses obtained by the court, individuals might lack the resources to get jobs after a DUI. In some cases, individuals might be able to secure jobs with other documents, like passports or birth certificates.
- Having a DUI on your record: Employers often conduct background checks on potential employees to ensure the candidates meet the employer’s standards. DUIs in Pennsylvania go on the individual’s permanent record, making them visible to employers conducting background checks. Even after people have served their suspension sentence, this aspect might cause employers to overlook them as a candidate.
If you want to improve your chances of getting a job after a DUI, first-time offenders can enroll in Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) program. This program focuses on recovery during the suspension period, helping ensure individuals don’t become repeat offenders. After completing the program and serving your sentence, you might qualify for reduced charges or an expunged record. With the removal of the DUI from your record, you might have more employment opportunities.
If You Get a DUI, Can You Drive?
A DUI in Pennsylvania will generally result in an automatic suspension of your license, meaning you will not be able to drive right away. This can be extremely difficult, especially if you need to work. Although it may be tempting to continue to drive with a suspended license, it is important not to do so.
Being caught driving after a DUI arrest with a suspended license will result in even more serious penalties and charges. If your case comes before the courts, being caught driving with a suspended license can hurt your case. In addition, if you are in a car accident with a suspended license, you will face additional penalties, fines and legal problems. In some cases, the other driver can file civil charges against you.
If you have a DUI and are concerned about your driving privileges, it’s important to consult an attorney right away. An attorney may be able to help you explore the options that may exist in your case.
Updates to PA Occupational Limited License Eligibility
Some states offer a special license allowing those convicted of a DUI to drive for limited, specific purposes — like getting to work or to the doctor. In Pennsylvania, this license is called an occupational limited license (OLL), and is often referred to as a bread-and-butter license.
However, Pennsylvania recently updated its Vehicle Code in 2022 — now people with DUIs no longer qualify for an OLL. If you want to apply for a Pennsylvania occupational limited license, you must serve the entirety of your suspension.
How to Get to Work With a DUI
Without the possibility of a DUI work license during your suspension, it can be frustrating to determine how to get to work. By getting creative and using the local resources available, you can find ways to get to work until you have served your full suspension sentence. Some ways people in Pennsylvania can get to work without a license include:
- Walking to work: If you live nearby your place of employment, you can walk to work. Walking is a great form of exercise, helping individuals get fresh air and relieve stress. You might also find you enjoy walking to destinations. You can also easily adapt to different weather conditions, like bringing an umbrella and raincoat for rain or bundling up in the snow. However, this option can be limiting if locations you need to access are not within walking distance.
- Investing in a bike: When walking can be time-consuming and impractical for some destinations, you can get places faster on a bike. Because bikes aren’t classified as vehicles, you don’t need a license to operate them. They are great for navigating more rural areas, and many cities are implementing bike lanes and bike rentals to encourage their use. To protect yourself, you should always wear a helmet and reflectors.
- Using public transit: Public transportation can offer increased connectivity for individuals without cars. Intercity bus routes can provide comprehensive coverage of many locations across Pennsylvania, allowing you to commute to jobs outside your town. Local transportation allows individuals to get where they need to go in their hometown.
- Applying for an Ignition Interlock Limited License: Pennsylvania law also allows DUI offenders to operate a motor vehicle if they apply for an Ignition Interlock. This device can help individuals use their own car to get to work, even if their license is suspended or revoked.
- Finding a trusted chauffeur: Family members and friends can be a great support system while you are serving your suspension term. If someone is willing, they can drive you to work and other essential locations, like court hearings and grocery shopping. However, you might have to wait until someone is available or change shifts to accommodate when they are free.
- Carpooling with friends: If your loved ones also have to work in similar areas and shifts, you can ask if you can tag along and carpool to your shift. They can drop you off on the way or bring you within walking distance. Because carpools usually have drivers alternating driving days, you can offer to provide other services for your friends. For example, you might bring coffee and breakfast, invite them over for dinner after work or cover the cost of gas.
- Hiring a rideshare service: Rideshare services like Uber or Lyft are great ways to get around when you don’t have a license. Because they can be costly, you might consider using them in tandem with another method, like calling for a car when the weather is too poor to bike or when there’s a scheduling conflict with your designated driver. These drivers can take you anywhere you need to go, so you can get to work or complete your to-do list.
Getting to work is essential when you want to keep your job and support yourself financially. You can create a comprehensive plan with your loved ones to ensure you can effectively get to your shifts on time and please your boss. If you feel comfortable, you can also collaborate with your employer. They might have company rideshare and carpool programs, which can partner you with someone in your area to bring you to work on time.
Powerful DUI Defense at MPL Law Firm
If you have been charged with a DUI, you’ll want to take steps to protect your job and understand your options. While losing your license and getting a DUI can hurt your employment standards and leave you with hefty fines, the right team can help you navigate the legal system.
When you partner with MPL Law, you will receive individualized care based on your cause. Our attorneys listen to your unique circumstances and desired outcomes to develop an actionable plan that supports your needs and wants. We pride ourselves on giving honest advice, so our clients can fully understand their situation and what they can do to improve it. With experience in DUI defense, we can better prepare and educate our clients on their rights.
Our attorneys believe everyone deserves to be heard and receive compassionate support. We don’t believe one mistake defines you, and we work hard to handle the details of your case so we can minimize the impact on your future. If you’ve been charged with a DUI, contact MPL Law as soon as possible for a consultation.