Passing the Rhode Island bar exam is an important step on the journey to becoming a practicing attorney. However, in addition, you must prove that you are a person of strong moral character. If you have been convicted of drunk or impaired driving, it may put an end to your dream of being a lawyer, regardless of your educational achievements.
A felony could end your career before it starts
As a general rule, a DUI is a misdemeanor charge. Therefore, it won’t necessarily prevent you from working in the legal field. However, if there were aggravating factors in your case, it may be upgraded to a felony. These factors may include a blood alcohol level above .15%, the presence of a child in your car or the fact that you caused an accident while impaired.
Multiple DUI convictions could also be seen as disqualifying
The presence of more than one DUI conviction on your record may indicate that you have a pattern of poor decision-making. In fact, the presence of multiple DUI charges on your record may be enough to scare law firms away. If you have been convicted of other crimes in the recent past, a single misdemeanor DUI may be enough to convince employers that you’re not worth the hassle.
How to salvage your career prospects after a DUI
Showing remorse for your actions can be an effective way to win over those who you need to gain acceptance into the state bar. You can do this by issuing a heartfelt statement or by enrolling yourself into a drug or alcohol rehab program. You can also attempt to have your record expunged if you were charged or convicted many years prior to seeking your law license.
If you are charged with DUI, it may be possible to cast doubt on the veracity of the accusation being made against you. For instance, you may assert that the results of a sobriety test were flawed or that the traffic stop that led to being taken into custody should never have happened.