How Will a DUI Affect My Employment?

Like a handful of other states, Alabama has no laws or regulations on the use of criminal records in hiring or other employment decisions by employers. Under Alabama law, an employer can turn you down for a job on the basis of your DUI criminal record.

Notably, DUI convictions in AL cannot be expunged, which means that the offense will remain on your record forever unless you can participate in a pre-trial diversion program. In case of a DUI arrest in AL, the best course of action is to retain an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. A skilled attorney can put up a solid defense to protect your interests and potentially avoid a conviction.

Compulsory Termination

Specific job titles are associated with mandatory termination for DUI convictions or arrests. These professions include law enforcement, teachers, commercial drivers, and military personnel. Upon losing your job after a DUI arrest, it can be challenging to find employment in the same field, which negatively impacts your career prospects.

The Loss of Professional Tools

After a DUI conviction, the perpetrator may lose specific professional tools, such as professional licenses (for attorneys, doctors, and other professionals) and insurance coverage for those who operate a vehicle as a part of their job. In addition, you may find it harder to pursue higher education with a criminal record. Many educational institutions are hesitant to accept students with criminal records, preventing you from receiving financial aid.

Missed Work

Even if your employer is unbothered or oblivious to your DUI conviction, you can still lose your job if you take too many days off. Serving time behind bars is a real possibility if this isn’t your first offense. If you are able to avoid incarceration, you may still need to take time off work to undergo substance abuse treatment.

DUI Arrest versus Conviction

A DUI arrest and an actual conviction are not the same. A DUI charge implies that you have been accused of an offense, whereas a DUI conviction signifies an admission or determination of guilt.

A skilled criminal defense lawyer may use various legal strategies if you are arrested for a DUI:

  • The law enforcement officer did not have probable cause to stop you or administer a sobriety test
  • There was a violation of the discovery and evidence rule
  • You provided law enforcement with a statement that was a violation of your Miranda rights
  • The police officer did not appropriately administer the sobriety test
  • The equipment used to administer the sobriety test was defective or not calibrated properly

Disclosing your DUI Conviction to Your Existing Employer

In certain employee agreements, it is necessary for the employee to inform their employer about an arrest, whether the arrest is for a DUI or another offense. It is perspicacious to inform your employer about your arrest or conviction if you are contractually obligated to do so. Following the terms of your employment contract is essential, failing which you may face dismissal.

Some professions require you to report DUI arrests, such as Uber or Lyft drivers, postal workers, childcare workers, military personnel, pilots, commercial truck drivers, and public service employees. You must disclose any DUI charges if your company’s handbook specifies that you need to do so.

Obtaining Employment with a DUI

Today, many employers undertake criminal and background checks if they want to hire you. During these checks, they will uncover any past convictions, including a DUI. Reviewing questions that are asked on the job application are vital. Upon being asked if you have a conviction to your name, you can answer “No” if you haven’t been convicted or the lawsuit is still pending.

Certain employers will be more tentative in hiring candidates with DUI convictions than others. For instance, a DUI conviction can make it hard to find employment if you plan to work with kids. Similarly, people working as bus or truck drivers, daycare providers, outside salespersons, or government employees may find it difficult to find a job in the same profession after a DUI conviction.

Also, getting into the military following a DUI conviction can be challenging and will necessitate a waiver. When you are seeking employment, you should reveal your DUI arrest if the employer asks for such information. If you choose to conceal this information and your employer finds out about it later, your employment could still be terminated for being dishonest.

Legal Help by Knowledgeable Alabama DUI Defense Lawyers

If you face DUI charges in AL, it is wise to speak to a skilled DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at Zach Peagler Law Firm understand the long-term implications of a DUI arrest.

Our lawyers can guide you on the best options for dealing with the DUI charge in a manner that is least detrimental for your life and career. Based on your specific situation, we will guide you on whether you should inform your employer of your DUI conviction. For a free consultation, call today at (205) 871-9990.

How Do I Avoid Jail Time for My DUI Charge in Alabama?

If a law enforcement officer does not stop your vehicle or does not suspect that you may be under the influence, it will naturally minimize your risk of a DUI arrest. An experienced Alabama DUI attorney would offer the following advice to reduce your chances of being stopped by a police officer:

  • Make sure you have a valid vehicle registration
  • Do not violate any traffic laws
  • Ensure that your vehicle is in a street-legal condition (faulty equipment such as broken light or a defective turn signal can cause an officer to initiate a traffic stop)
  • When a law enforcement officer stops you, don’t volunteer information
  • Refuse to undergo a field sobriety test

Be Courteous but not Extra-Cooperative with the Law Enforcement Officer

When a police officer stops you on suspicion of DUI, you must remain polite, calm, and courteous with them. However, that does not mean willfully revealing any incriminating information, which can make it more challenging for your DUI lawyer to defend you. On the law enforcement officer’s request, you must present your vehicle insurance proof and driver’s license. However, you are not required to respond to questions such as:

  1. Are you intoxicated?
  2. How many drinks did you consume?
  3. Were you drinking alcohol with friends a few hours earlier?

If the police officer asks any questions that could incriminate you, politely decline to answer. The best response to these questions would be that you will answer all questions only after you have had the chance to consult an Alabama DUI attorney.

Violation of Constitutional Provisions

Your DUI lawyer will critically assess all facets and evidence pertaining to your case to understand whether your constitutional rights have been violated. The constitution provides citizens with certain rights and protections even when they are arrested, and police officers have a duty to uphold these provisions.

If a police officer obtains evidence against you in an unlawful manner, your lawyer can ensure that such evidence is precluded from your trial. For example, it is a constitutional violation if your Miranda Rights were not properly read to you.

Lack of Reasonable Suspicion for a Traffic Stop

The reason why a police officer stopped or arrested you for a DUI violation can be challenged by your DUI defense attorney. The reason the law enforcement officer stopped you might be subjective and unsubstantiated.

Police officers do not have a free reign to stop any car that they want. If your lawyer can prove that there was a lack of reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle, it may be grounds for the suppression of evidence acquired during or after the traffic stop.

Challenging the Results of Field Sobriety Tests 

If you have consented to undergo the field sobriety tests on the law enforcement officer’s request, your DUI attorney can question the validity of these tests, which are highly subjective. They could demonstrate that you were not an appropriate candidate for these tests, or that the law enforcement officer’s instructions lacked clarity. Your attorney may present data or expert testimony to prove that these tests and their outcomes are not reliable in your case.

Questioning the BAC Test Results

If you submitted to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test upon your arrest, a seasoned Alabama DUI attorney would devise a strong legal defense based on proving that you were not drunk behind the wheel. They will conduct a thorough investigation to identify the weaknesses in the legal protocols and procedures that police officers followed when collecting and testing your blood samples.

At the time of collection, the sample may have been compromised. On top of this, the breathalyzer device may have been faulty, or the test readings may not be reliable. Sometimes lab errors occur, where the technicians mix up samples, cause contamination, or fail to follow protocol. A critical and in-depth investigation of all aspects related to the case may bring forth information that puts an indelible question mark over the reliability BAC test outcomes.

Why did the Accident Occur?

If you injured someone or were involved in a crash and got arrested for drunk driving, your lawyer may try to show that the accident did not happen due to your fault. Your DUI defense lawyer will conduct a detailed investigation of the accident site, the surroundings, eyewitness accounts, forensic evidence, or video recordings to recreate how the crash occurred.

Various factors such as adverse road conditions, vehicle defects, or an error by the injured victim could have caused the accident. In case the other party violated traffic rules which caused the accident and their injuries, you could avoid being charged with a felony DUI. In this situation, your defense attorney could create a robust legal strategy that could expose weaknesses in the prosecution’s arguments, and you could win the lawsuit.

Hire a Skilled DUI Defense Attorney to Help you Avoid Jail Time

The qualified attorneys at Zach Peagler Law Firm have extensive experience defending clients who face DUI charges in Alabama. For a free consultation with a seasoned DUI defense attorney, call us today at (205) 871-9990 or message us online.

Should I Refuse the Breathalyzer Test After a DUI Stop in Alabama?

Getting stopped for drunk driving in Alabama is very serious. A DUI arrest and conviction can result in very harsh consequences, which may include heavy fines, loss of driving privileges, and even jail time. That said, what you do at the time you are pulled over and after your arrest will have a major impact on how your case will go.

One of the most common questions people ask about DUIs is whether or not they should refuse a breathalyzer test after being stopped. There are actually two different breath tests that could be given; the first would be a preliminary breath test (PBT) at the time you are pulled over, and the second would be the chemical (breath, blood, or urine) test that would be administered usually at the police station after you have been arrested for DUI.

Should I Refuse the Chemical Test after Being Arrested for DUI?

First, let’s deal with the breathalyzer test that you would be given at the police station after your DUI arrest. Under Alabama’s “implied consent” laws, anyone who operates a vehicle within the state is deemed to have consented to a breath, blood, or urine test if they have been arrested on suspicion of DUI. The chemical test results are used to determine if it is safe for the person to continue driving, and as scientific evidence of intoxication in a DUI trial.

You have the right to refuse the chemical test after your DUI arrest, but there are consequences if you do. Drivers who refuse a lawful request to take a breathalyzer test at the police station are subject to an automatic 90-day driver’s license suspension if this is your first offense, and a one-year suspension if this is your second or subsequent offense. This is an administrative suspension that is separate from the criminal proceeding you will be involved in, and it can be imposed even if your DUI charge is ultimately dismissed.

In general, it is best not to refuse the chemical test after being arrested for DUI in Alabama. But if you have already done so, you may still have some options.

First of all, not having scientific test results will weaken the case against you, which could clearly be to your benefit. Secondly, an experienced DUI defense lawyer may be able to get your driver’s license suspension stayed while your DUI case is pending. But in order to do so, you must act quickly, because you only have 10 days from the date of your DUI arrest to appeal your pending administrative suspension.

Should I Refuse the Preliminary Breath Test when I’m Pulled Over for DUI?

The preliminary breathalyzer test that you are asked to take after you are pulled over on the side of the road is not subject to implied consent laws. Despite what the officer might say or imply at the time of the stop, you can refuse the field breathalyzer test; and in most cases, it is in the driver’s best interests to do so.

The main purpose of a preliminary breath test is to establish probable cause to arrest you for DUI. However, these devices may not be calibrated properly or there could be other problems with them, and some officers are not adequately trained on how to use them. This means that the results of such a test could be inaccurate.

By refusing the preliminary breath test, the officer may not have probable cause to arrest you for DUI. The same holds true for field sobriety tests such as the one-legged stand, horizontal gaze, and walk and turn test.

These tests also have several inherent flaws; and if you were pulled over, it means the officer already suspects that you are driving drunk. Therefore, there is no reasonable expectation that they will administer these tests fairly.

Without the results of a preliminary breathalyzer test and field sobriety tests, there could be a lack of probable cause for an arrest. This means that anything that happened after the arrest could also be challenged.

The one potential drawback to refusing a preliminary breath test or field sobriety test is that your refusal may be looked at unfavorably by a jury if your case ever gets to trial. Keep in mind, however, that prosecutors in Alabama have very heavy caseloads. And with the help of a skilled and knowledgeable DUI defense attorney, you can usually negotiate a more favorable outcome long before your case gets tried.

Contact The Zach Peagler Law Firm For Assistance

If you have been charged for DUI, you are facing some very serious consequences. But being charged for drunk driving is not the same as being convicted, and with so much at stake, it is very important to have strong legal counsel by your side fighting hard to protect your legal rights.

If your DUI arrest occurred in the Birmingham area, the Zach Peagler Law Firm is here to help. Call our office today at (205) 871-9990 or message us online to schedule a discrete and confidential consultation with our experienced attorney.

What Are Some Things That Insurance Adjusters May Ask After DUI?

Insurance adjusters are trying to get a statement so that they can make a determination of whether to pay a claim or not. They may not be as intense as the police officer but they are, in all likelihood, going to ask you if you were drinking, they are going to get a copy of the police report and if there was an accident involved, which if you’re talking to an insurance adjuster, then there was, they are going to see whether the police officer found that the alcohol consumption was a contributing factor to the accident.

It’s too close for comfort to be talking to an insurance adjuster during a DUI criminal charge. I would not advise making recorded statements about the accident or anything else during the pendency of a DUI case. The police officers are allowed to lie to you; they can’t coerce you into saying something, but they can gather information in ways where you feel like they are just being your friend and not really going to charge you with anything when in reality, they are building a case against you.

What Are the Difficulties Faced in Getting Your Car Out of Impound?

Most places probably do charge you a daily rate on a vehicle impound. 99 out of 100 times in Alabama, we don’t have to get involved to help our clients get their vehicle out of impound. Most of the time, they have already gotten it out immediately. The times where it might stay in impound is if there was some sort of accident involved and the car itself was going to be used as evidence in the case.

The police may try to seize the car but most of the time, that’s not going to be a DUI case, it may be a vehicular homicide case or if somebody’s vehicle was used in the commission of some other type of crime but in a straight DUI case most of the time, the vehicle is searched and inventoried and put in impound and as soon as the client pays the impound yard, tow yard, then they get their vehicle back.

What Are Some Important Dates to Remember in a DUI Case?

Most cases in municipal courts are going to have a pretrial setting and then a trial setting. If it’s State Court, there may be an arraignment docket but most of the time in a misdemeanor case, there is just going to be a pretrial setting and a trial setting. You’ll get one court date when you are bonded out of jail, so when you’re released they will tell you the first court date that you have. You need to make sure you go ahead and request that off or get your attorney to file a continuance, or in some places he can file a waiver of arraignment and have the case set on a trial docket without you having to appear.

The other and critical date which I have mentioned before is that you have 10 days to file for an administrative review of your license suspension. So, you need to keep that in mind and get that filed.  Now, that won’t require you to miss work but there will be a hearing with the state trooper of filing your attorney’s request for an administrative review and then you’ll have a few weeks’ notice on that as well if you need to request time off work. That hearing usually only takes an hour, probably, total, even with travel time, so it may be something you can handle on a lunch break type of thing.

Can Police Officers Use Any Information Available Online As Evidence In A DUI Case?

Police officers don’t look at it as much on a DUI case, particularly, but the prosecutor or the district attorney might, as they are preparing for trial, look back to your social media history. Police officers may use it if they are investigating another type of crime to find out information about witnesses or defendants, but from a DUI perspective, it would be more used for impeachment purposes.

If a defendant testified on their own behalf and said they don’t even drink alcohol or something like that and the DA’s office had found pictures of the defendant drinking, that’s the time that that type of thing could be used. They are not going to be able to introduce any evidence of your Facebook posts as a part of their case in chief to prove that you were drinking on that night but it could be used as impeachment if you testify to something contrary.

Can Something Like a Back Injury Be Helpful in My DUI Case?

Even something like a back or knee injury is relevant from the standpoint of the field sobriety tests.  Those can affect your ability to do the walk-and-turn, the one-leg stand and then your attorney can request the medical records through your authorization. So, we have forms the clients can sign and we can mail in requests for medical records.

The easiest way to go about it is for the client themselves to go down and get the records because they don’t have to sign any forms or anything. Their medical records are their own medical records, so the doctor will share them with them immediately. Doctors are wary of attorney requests and sometimes they just take longer because they have to jump through the hoops to make sure they are not violating any HIPAA laws or anything like that but if the client can go get them, that oftentimes is the easiest way to get them done.

Would Attending a MADD Meeting be Construed As an Admission of Guilt?

No. Most of those types of things, attending those types of sessions and stuff, I would argue that they were done in advance of a potential settlement and they weren’t really indicative of anything about guilt. There’s really nothing in those that would be relevant to the state’s case in chief against you. Their job is to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were too impaired to safely operate a motor vehicle on the night and time in question or day and time in question.

Whether you drink a lot or need alcohol rehab or anything like that, those types of things aren’t going to come up; the only potential time they would come up is if that was, again, for impeachment.  If someone would say that they don’t drink at all or something along those lines, they could use that kind of thing potentially to say, “Why are you going to these meetings?” and that type of thing.  But all in all, I would not worry about that.

For more information on Questions Asked by Insurance in a DUI, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (205) 871-9990 today.

SERIES: 25 WAYS to BEAT a DUI: Always Pay Attention to Your Surroundings

“Always pay attention to your surroundings”

You are always told to pay close attention to your surroundings while driving, but how often do you really do that? Well if you do at all times, you could have the upper hand on your defense in the event you are being charged with DUI. You may be asking how….well…..

Many times, independent witnesses can provide critical evidence to the Court regarding the actual level of intoxication or lack thereof. These “independent witnesses” could consist of a witness to an accident, a bartender, hospital personnel, or any other person who may be witness to the alleged incident such as passengers in the vehicle.

Stay tuned for next week’s update on the ways you can potentially beat the DUI…

City of Chicago finally settles last false DUI case

On August 20, 2012, the City of Chicago, IL was finally able to settle the last of a long list of cases that were brought against one of its own. Former Chicago Police Officer Richard Fiorito had been accused of falsely arresting over 130 individuals for the charge of Driving Under the Influence, over a number of years beginning in 2003.

A Federal Court Judge awarded two such individuals $100,000.00 as well as paying for all attorney’s fees in both cases totaling $250,000.00. Even though there has been a resolution and monetary award to the plaintiffs in most of these matters, the City of Chicago Prosecutors Office did not seek to charge Fiorito 2010 for any crimes, as they still maintain that there was no wrongdoing on the part of Officer Fiorito. He has since resigned his position with the Police Department.

The important thing here is that if you ever are pulled over and accused of or charge with something you feel is not accurate, do not just sit back and let it go. You need to always be aware of your rights and of the laws.