Last Thursday, Chris Kattenhorn forwarded me an article about one of the three finalists for the Seattle School Superintendent has a DUI arrest from 12 years ago and the school board president does not deem that as an obstacle in being selected. (April 19, 2012 Seattle Times Article) Michael Debell, Seattle School Board President, acknowledged his awareness of the incident involving finalist Sandra Husk. The incident occurred in February 2000 when Ms. Husk was working in Colorado and was stopped by a Trooper of the Colorado State Patrol and arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence. The criminal case was resolved later that year when Ms. Husk entered a plea to a reduced charge of driving while impaired and was ordered to complete 24 hours of community service and attend a twelve month alcohol awareness course.
Seattle School Board President was quoted in the article saying: "Obviously everything of relevance goes into the candidate's overall profile. This was a long time ago. Our last president had a DUI. I think it's something that does happen to people occassionally."
As a Seattle DUI attorney, I can say that almost every person I meet with who has been arrested for DUI is very afraid of the potential consequences it may have on their current and/or future employment. While certainly it is more ideal for a person to have a clean record for employment purposes, this article is proof that an arrest (or even a conviction) for DUI is not career-ending. A DUI arrest is something that does happen to many people. It is the actions the person takes after the arrest that is most telling of their character.
Some people are required to disclose an arrest for DUI to their employer immediately after the incident. Most others have no such obligation. But in future employment opportunities, a person is typically asked about previous arrests and/or convictions, and frequently employers run back ground checks. The best course of action is similar to what Ms. Husk did- being honest and forthright.