The Unforeseen Consequences of a DUI in California


Many people don’t know that a DUI conviction may have other consequences beyond the driver’s license suspension, probation, and mandatory DUI classes. In California, there is a huge body of administrative law, much of it quasi-criminal. The immediate administrative per se suspension of a DUI arrestee’s driver license is an example of an administrative law. Although the courts have ruled that most administrative laws that sanction an individual are constitutional, many, if not most, of the quasi-criminal administrative laws do not afford the individual the same due process protections that the United States and California Constitutions guarantee in a criminal prosecution.

Many who are arrested for DUI in California will only experience the administrative consequences of a per se suspension of his or her driver’s license and DMV sanctions. However, what many don’t understand is that a DUI goes on the person’s criminal record and that can trigger other administrative sanctions in California.

For example, a person convicted of a DUI—even a first-time DUI—and who works as a child caregiver, or even just volunteers in an after-school program, will very likely hear from their employer that the State of California will no longer allow him or her on the premises. In other words, a childcare employee could find themselves barred from their place of employment simply because he or she was arrested and convicted of a first-time DUI.

Seems unfair, doesn’t it? But California statute requires that any person who provides care and supervision to children or any staff person, volunteer, or employee who has contact with children in a facility that provides child day care must have a criminal clearance. A DUI is a criminal conviction and once it is reported to the Department of Justice (which occurs upon conviction), that report triggers a revocation of a person’s criminal clearance. While the law provides that a person can then apply for an exemption to the criminal clearance, it is a cumbersome process requiring meticulous detail. Similar laws apply to a variety of care-giving jobs including foster parenting and care for disabled or elderly persons.

If a person is employed as a medical professional, a DUI may jeopardize his or her employment. California medical boards can and do fine, suspend a license, or even revoke a license when a person licensed with the board is arrested for a DUI. These sanctions are under the jurisdiction of administrative law and the licensee is has very little due process as compared to a criminal trial. A person who is studying for a medical license will encounter a problem when the time comes to apply for the license if there is a DUI on his or her record. In fact, a person with even one DUI on his or her record will often be denied the right to even take the board exams.

Indeed, almost every profession that requires a license in California is governed by administrative laws that make it impossible or very difficult to hold the professional license with a DUI. That is especially true while the person is still on probation (usually three years) for the DUI. Even a person who is applying for something as simple as a real estate license will likely find the license denied if he or she was convicted at some time of a DUI.

The above is but a cursory discussion of the many unanticipated consequences of a DUI. The good news is that it is often possible to contest these administrative decisions and win.

If you are arrested on a DUI, it is always important that you consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney, even for a first-time DUI. Whether or not you work in one of the affected professions, you want an attorney who will advocate for your best outcome. Sure you might not worry about how a DUI could affect your job now, but you don’t know what the future will bring. A DUI stays on your record for ten years and if you apply for any state license, a DUI—even just one—must always be reported when applying for the license. Keep that in mind next time you think you are sober enough to drive after those two little glasses of wine.

If you have questions about this or any other matter related to driving under the influence, contact William Weinberg at or 949-474-8008.