Will you get kicked off Uber if you get arrested for DUI? Can you apply for Uber if you have a prior DUI conviction? What happens if a passenger falsely reports you for DUI? Here’s what you need to know.
What is Uber’s policy on DUI convictions?
Uber background checks all drivers. They are looking for no major violations on your driving record in the last seven years and no criminal convictions in the last seven years. A DUI conviction will generally fall under both. Therefore, if you have a DUI conviction within the last seven years, you likely won’t be able to driver for Uber.
Note: State laws may vary on how far back a company can look when it does background checks. That’s why you won’t find the seven-year rule on Uber’s background check page. It may be longer or shorter depending on the state.
What are your options if you want to apply for Uber if you have a prior DUI conviction?
You have two main options if you want to driver for Uber with a prior DUI conviction. You can either wait for the conviction to be long enough ago, or you can try to have it sealed or expunged.
Having a criminal record sealed or expunged means that it won’t show up in background checks companies like Uber do. You can also honestly answer that you haven’t been convicted of a crime. There is little to no practical difference between sealing and expunging when it comes to Uber background checks. Expunging a record helps remove it from more restricted government databases that are used in government background checks.
Your eligibility to seal or expunge a DUI conviction depends on the following factors.
- Whether your state allows a DUI to be sealed or expunged
- Whether enough time has passed since your conviction (there is typically a minimum number of months or years that varies by state)
- Whether you have been arrested or convicted of a charge again
- Your primary criminal history
What happens if you’re a current Uber driver and get charged with DUI?
Uber will generally deactivate your account when it learns of a major violation such as DUI. This can include pending charges. Uber generally does background checks at least once per year but can run a new background check at any time. They don’t fully disclose how they get updated driving information, but it’s possible that they get alerts for things like when drivers are arrested for DUI. As always, Uber has to follow the law of each state it’s in. If your state doesn’t allow them to take action until you’re convicted, that’s what they have to go by in your state.
Your best option to continue driving for Uber will usually be to beat the DUI charges.
How can you beat a DUI charge?
In order to convict you of DUI, the State has to prove each element of DUI beyond a reasonable doubt. It also has to follow legal rules that guarantee your Constitutional rights.
What are the elements of DUI?
The most basic elements of DUI are that you were (1) driving or operating a motor vehicle while (2) over the legal limit or impaired. Many states also have more serious DUI charges that apply if you had a higher BAC, caused an accident, or had prior DUI convictions.
Most DUIs are misdemeanors, but some DUIs with aggravating factors become felonies. Even the most basic misdemeanor DUI is usually disqualifying for Uber.
What are the defenses to a DUI?
There are two main categories of defenses to a DUI.
- Lack of proof. This could either be that you actually weren’t drunk, or the police did the tests wrong, so they have no legal proof you were drunk.
- Legal violations. There are also legal violations that require your case to be dismissed even if you can otherwise be proven guilty. A common example is when the police had no probable cause to make the traffic stop that led to your arrest. Another is if they’re using a blood test to convict you but didn’t get a warrant in a state that requires warrants for blood tests.
What happens if you refuse field sobriety, blood, or breath tests?
There are three common types of DUI tests you might face if you’re under suspicion of DUI.
- Field sobriety tests such as the police asking you to walk in a straight line or say the alphabet backwards.
- Portable breath tests, which can also be included in field sobriety tests, where you have to blow into a Breathalyzer at the scene of the traffic stop.
- Blood or breath tests taken at a police station or hospital.
Most states have implied consent laws where you must agree to take some or all of the above tests if you’re pulled over for DUI. If you refuse to take a required test, you may have your license suspended which would disqualify you from driving for Uber since you have to have a valid license. Depending on the state, a refusal can also be used as evidence of your guilt.
What is the difference between DUI and DWI?
DUI stands for driving under the influence, and DWI stands for driving while intoxicated. Many states use one or the other to talk about the same thing. It’s no different than how some places say soda and others say pop. In other states, DUI and DWI are two different charges with minor technical differences that you should discuss with a local lawyer.
What about a DUI for marijuana or other controlled substances?
Marijuana and other controlled substances fall under the same statutes as alcohol DUIs or have separate but similar statutes depending on the state. Drug DUIs are also typically disqualifying for Uber and can be fought in similar ways to alcohol DUIs.
What can you do if a customer wrongly accuses you of DUI?
There have been many incidents where customers make false complaints against drivers to try to get refunds or because they are upset with the driver about something else. In some cases, a customer may just be mistaken when they file a complaint.
Uber can generally deactivate a driver at any time for any reason. They do not have a legal obligation to prove a complaint beyond a reasonable doubt or to any other burden of proof. Many drivers suggest using a dash cam to help prove their side of the story if they get a wrongful complaint.
Where can you find a lawyer?
If you’re trying to beat a DUI charge or get a prior DUI off your record, you should find a criminal defense attorney in the place where you were charged. Since the laws vary by jurisdiction, it’s important to use an attorney who knows the laws where you were arrested. Nolo has a directory of DUI lawyers in all 50 states.
If you have a DUI conviction, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to drive for Uber for at least seven years. If you want to drive sooner, a criminal defense attorney may be able to help you beat the charge or get an old charge off your record.