Being convicted of drink-driving is a life-changing experience – you may have been banned for a long period, which affects your day-to-day life. You may have lost, or had to change, your job because you couldn’t drive. You may have lost the respect of loved ones, as well as your self-respect.
However, if you’re genuinely remorseful and the experience has changed your life for the better, there’s no reason for the conviction to hold you back from applying for new jobs. Even if you feel a job is a long-shot, you may be able to convince potential employers that you’re not only reformed, but that you’re a real asset.
There’s many a website offering legal advice about drink-driving, but you probably have a lot of questions about what will happen after a conviction in particular job-hunting after a drink-driving. Here are the biggest FAQs and, hopefully, some useful answers.
There are several forums for those with drink driving convictions which offer none judgemental support, ideas, advice or just a safe place to discuss you problems. The biggest is drinkdriving.org and it is free.
Do I always have to reveal my convictions to employers?
For most jobs you need to declare unspent convictions (convictions are considered “spent” after a certain number of years), and if you’re applying to work with or around vulnerable adults or children, or in a government environment that requires screening, you’ll need a DBS check (previously known as a CRB check). For drink driving the conviction is spent after 5 years (or two and half years where you are under 18), refer to the information hub for more details about motoring convictions.
You’ll know this check is coming because you’ll sign a declaration when you apply for the job. If you’re offered the job, you’ll need to complete a DBS form and offer various forms of ID. This form can’t be filled without your consent.
I have to reveal my conviction and I’m worried I won’t get the job
OK, this is nerve-wracking, but there is someone out there who will give you a chance. Your half of this bargain is to show that you’re a changed person – your conviction is in the past and your life has changed.
If you get an interview and the subject comes up, explain how your life has changed and what you have now that you don’t want to lose. Think beyond your conviction and show people what you have to offer – skills, experience, drive. Be honest about your conviction and don’t try to hide anything.
Can my employer find out about my criminal record without my permission?
No – you need to give permission for a DBS check to be performed on you by an employer and this is only actioned after you have been offered the job. Of course, the employer may withdraw the offer as a result, but not everyone will; and think about it – you were offered the job so you must have something going for you.
Which UK employers have an ex-offender friendly hiring policy
There are many well-known employers that actively look to hire ex-offenders and ex-convicts; there’s DHL, Timpson and Greggs, for example. These are large, chain stores and companies, of course, and there are many other smaller or independent employers out there who are also willing to give you a chance. Again, be upfront about your past as this will show up the sympathetic employers from the start.