If you have been convicted for a motoring offence, then you may be forced to change your job. Receiving a conviction can be life-changing and frightening. Beginning a job hunt again after potentially working in the same career for many years can feel very daunting. Having a conviction does not mean that you will not be able to find a job, it may just mean that you have to think creatively about the job you choose to do next. Ensuring that you are fully aware of the restrictions that exist with regard to jobs for those with convictions will help you on your search to find something suited to your current circumstances.

What are the rules?

A drink driving conviction will be ‘spent’ after 5 years. After this time you should be able to drive again, assuming you can find motor trade insurance with convictions and you won’t usually need to declare the conviction when applying for a job unless the job you are applying for falls within one of the exemptions. This rule is set by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This states that you do not need to declare past convictions to employers once they are spent. Your employer may never need to know. If an application form or interview question asks you to disclose any convictions then you do not need to declare a spent one, but you will need to be honest about any convictions that are still unspent. If on discovery that you have a spent conviction, your new employer tries to dismiss you, then you may well be within your rights to claim unfair dismissal.

Exemptions

The exemptions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 that require you to declare a spent conviction include jobs such as:

  • Doctors, dentists, Midwives and nurses
  • Solicitors and law enforcement
  • Accountants
  • Jobs in schools
  • Jobs providing social services
  • Working with people under the age of 18 of vulnerable adults

If your conviction is unspent and there is a check on an application form, then it is very important to declare it. However, if you are not asked about convictions at interview or during the application process then you do not have a responsibility to declare it. Be aware that clauses on unspent convictions may be present in your contract so do check carefully before signing, otherwise this could lead to later dismissal.