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Will a DUI Stop Me From Becoming a Police Officer?


Are you in your considering a career in law enforcement? If you were arrested for DUI recently or in the past, you may be VERY curious to know if a momentary lapse in judgment can quash all hopes of becoming a police officer, and reasonably so.

The answer depends on whether you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and if there were any aggravating factors present at the time of the arrest (e.g. your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.15% or above, or someone else was seriously injured or killed).

Was it an Alcohol or Drug-Related DUI?

Law enforcement agencies view driving under the influence of drugs (DUIDs) as worse than alcohol. So, if your DUI was for alcohol, you still may have a chance at becoming a cop. Still, there will be questions…lots of questions.

  • How long ago did this happen?
  • Was this your first DUI offense?
  • Did you cause property damage?
  • Were you in an accident?
  • Did you hurt anybody?
  • Did you have car insurance at the time?
  • Do you have a drinking problem?

If It Was a Drug-Related DUI

In addition to the above, you can expect to be asked what types of drugs you were on when arrested, and if are you still using. Your chances of becoming a police officer with a drug-related DUI are a lot lower than a person with an alcohol-related offense. While you will likely be drilled about your DUI or DUID, you still may have a shot.

Some jurisdictions are more lenient than others, and some departments may be strict but in dire need of new officers. Of course, there are those departments that have a zero-tolerance policy.

Example: Irvine Police Department

For a real-life example, let’s take a look at Irvine Police Department’s hiring practices, and what types of offenses could disqualify an applicant for a police officer position.

Some disqualifiers listed by the Irvine Police Department:

  • Use of marijuana in the last 12 months.
  • Using heroin or LSD at any time.
  • Abusing pharmaceutical drugs.
  • A felony conviction.
  • Being on probation or parole.
  • A DUI conviction in the last 3 years.
  • Having more than 1 DUI conviction.
  • Driver’s license revocation or suspension in the last 3 years.

As demonstrated above, a recent DUI conviction, a second DUI, or even a suspended or revoked license can get in the way of applying for a law enforcement position at the Irvine Police Department. However, each department has its requirements for applicants looking to serve on the Force.

While the departments have their own rules about DUI convictions, the above gives you a clear idea as to why it’s so important to fight your DUI charges and avoid a conviction in the first place.

To challenge your DUI charges, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. to work with one of Orange County’s leading DUI defense attorneys!

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