Have you been arrested and charged with DWI and are deciding whether or not to tell your employer about it? This concern is a common one, since others like you are understandably concerned about losing their job because of a DWI.
If you are indeed currently facing this dilemma, the answer is dependent on your particular type of employment. Generally, however, the answer is no. You may be accused of a DWI, but you are not necessarily convicted of the crime. Anyone can be accused of committing a DWI or any other crime. Your DWI charge is not your employer’s business (unless it directly affects your employer or your line of work).
There are, of course, some exceptions. If your current job requires government clearance and part of such clearance is a contractual obligation to disclose to your employer if you are charged with a crime, then at the very least, you may need to advise your employer that you have been charged.
Normally, employers in this situation will withhold any form of punishment until the matter is taken up in court and is given a final resolution. After all, it is very possible to avoid a conviction or to be found innocent.
There are also certain employers who have policies or employee handbooks that state that you must advise them of any DWI charges or DWI convictions. If your line of work requires you to drive a company vehicle, such as a commercial driver, traveling salesperson, or postal worker, then you must report any traffic violations and alcohol offenses such as drunk driving.
This is because some employers have civil liability if their employees get involved in an accident while driving on the job. If it can be proven in court that the employer either knew of or should have known of an employee’s DWI record and that the employer allowed that employee to drive anyway, then the employer may possibly be held liable for any subsequent injuries to a third party.
Keep in mind that your employer will likely not learn about your DWI through the courts, but only through the grapevine or if you decide to tell them. You may need to let your boss know that you need to take time off from work in order to go to court, or to attend a rehabilitation program.
The bottom line is that it is ultimately your responsibility to find out if your employer has specific rules on these matters, and to follow these rules if they do exist.
However, the best way to avoid a DWI employer situation all together is to drink sensibly and take all necessary precautions to avoid drinking and driving. If you do find yourself charged with a DWI, then it is imperative to seek the assistance of a highly qualified attorney who focuses his or her practice in the defense of alcohol related driving offenses. With the help of a lawyer, there are many ways to have a DUI case resolved in a manner that can have much less affect on your employment situation.