A career in law enforcement can be wonderful for some people – it means a steady paycheck, excellent benefits, making new friends, and the ability to meet lots of new people in the community. If you’re planning on becoming a police officer and you were recently arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), you’re probably wondering, “Can I still become a cop with a DUI on my record?”
In most states, even if you’re convicted of DUI, you can still get hired as a police officer, but it all depends on the facts and circumstances of your DUI case. If you have a felony DUI because you had too many DUI convictions or because you seriously injured or killed someone, you cannot get hired.
However, if you’re facing felony DUI charges and your defense attorney is able to get it reduced to a misdemeanor, or if you’re found not guilty, it is possible that you can look forward to a career in law enforcement.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department for example, says this about the minimum qualifications for a deputy sheriff trainee: The trainee must “have no felony convictions as a juvenile or adult and cannot be on any form of probation AND must pass an extensive background investigation to the satisfaction of the Sheriff-Coroner.” The OCSD also says that the applicant must not have any domestic violence convictions or currently be subject to a domestic violence restraining order.
Passing the Background Check
In reality, it is not easy to become a police officer; it is a very difficult process and having a DUI on your record does not make it any easier. Law enforcement agencies receive a lot of applications; therefore, they have plenty of candidates to choose from. If your qualifications are similar to other candidates who are being considered, but they do not have a criminal record, they’re more likely to get hired instead of you.