Can I be a Police Officer and have a DUI?

Can I be a Police Officer and have a DUI?

Just because you have a DUI or DWI charge on your background does not mean you will automatically be disqualified when applying to be a Police Officer. However, it is important to note that each state, department, and agency does have the right to set their own perameters for hiring their staff by law. In this article, we will unpack what it looks like to apply as a Police Officer and have DUI charges, and what impact (if any) this may hold for you. 

Is there a time limit set on having a DUI and becoming a Police Officer?

Remember, each department sets its own standards of operation, so it is impossible to state an absolute time frame on how a DUI would impact your ability in becoming a Police Officer. However, we can list a few of the most common delays you may face when applying. Your best bet is going to be to research your specific State and County to see what their restrictions are prior to applying as this will give you the best opportunity to prepare for your specific interview process. Below we will help to define a few of the most common delays in facing a DUI and applying as a Police Officer:

  • The date of your conviction: often times the specific date of your DUI conviction will play a key role in your ability to successfully apply as a Police Officer. Police Departments have been known to set limitations of applications to fall no earlier than a minimum of three years since the last DUI offense. While the Police Department's official policy may be an automatic disqualification, some may find they could be the exception to that, given unspecified circumstances. These are often only done in person and could carry a type of probation as subject to the determining Department and leadership.
  • The number of offenses: as is generally the case, a single DUI/DWI offense may not be enough to disquailify you from successfully applying for the position of a Police Officer. Unfortunately, should you have many DUI/DWI offenses you could be facing a very diffidcult process of finding a Department or Agency willing to offer you the job of a Police Officer position given your number of charges. Each one will direclty count against you, and your credibility. 
  • The type of substance involved in your DUI/DWI. It is a known guarantee that if your substance was drugs in the charges of DUI/DWI, then you will have a significantly more difficult time securing a position as a Police Officer than that of those with alcohol related offenses. 


If you are seriously seeking a career in being a Police Officer, then it is in your best interest to do every single thing in your power to aviod being convicted of a DUI/DWI and hire an experienced and professional lawyer. One who is well versed in DUI law and is capable of not only helping you understand your specific circumstance, but equally your options within the State lines you reside in and are applying within. They will be your best asset in successfully navigating your particular unique process, as well as having endless resources at their disposal in assisting you with the most favorable outcome. 

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