Driving for Uber, Lyft or some other ride sharing service might not be something you aspire to. It might be something you are inspired to do as a way to earn some extra money. But just because the potential for doing such work exists doesn’t mean you can just flip a switch and start.

Uber insists it is not an employer. It calls its drivers partners – contractors, if you will. Still, to get on the roster you have to pass a background check. If you have a record of three minor traffic violations in the last three years, you are unlikely to make the cut. If you have just one major violation, including for driving under the influence or reckless driving, in the past seven years, you will be out of luck.

Now imagine that you have your heart set on a career in which driving is an integral part of your job – think regional sales representative or truck or bus driver. Once again, background checks are likely to be part of any hiring process. If you have a DUI conviction, or even have just a DUI charge pending, you could see your options severely restricted.

When discussing background checks, it’s useful to keep in mind that federal and state laws can apply. For example, the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act allows potential employers to check an applicant’s bill payment history. A DUI arrest could appear on that record for up to seven years and a conviction can be reported indefinitely.

Every state has its own laws, some being stricter than others. Depending on your state’s laws, a DUI conviction or a record of arrest could hurt your chances of being hired. In Virginia, you might be able to have such records expunged and employers are prohibited from asking applicants about the expunged charges. However, expunction is only possible if the court issues a complete pardon in your case.

All that said it becomes clear that DUI allegations should prompt you to contact an experienced attorney immediately.