If you get a DUI, you may face significant financial consequences. You may have to pay fines, for instance, along with various fees. You may also have to spend time in state custody, which can cost you as you miss time at work.
But could the impact on your employment – and your wallet – be even greater? Could you actually get fired after being convicted of a DUI so that you do not have any income at all?
DUI convictions do, sometimes, lead to employment termination
Many people get DUIs and do not lose their jobs, so the risk of employment termination is certainly not an issue in all cases. However, it is definitely possible to lose your job as a result of a conviction. Whether you can get fired for a DUI depends on various factors, including your employer’s policies, the nature of the job, local laws, etc. You’ll need to consider the following if you’ve recently been arrested for a DUI and you have concerns about your job:
- Company policies: Some companies have specific policies regarding criminal offenses, including DUIs. Certain industries, especially those involving driving or positions that require a high level of responsibility, might have strict policies against employees with DUI convictions. Many companies have a conduct policy saying employees can be fired for creating negative press for the company, and an employee with a DUI in the local news may find their job in jeopardy.
- Employment contract or agreements: Employment contracts or agreements may outline terms related to criminal convictions. Some contracts stipulate that certain criminal offenses, including DUIs, can lead to termination. Most workers are at-will employees and do not have contracts, but those who have signed any documentation need to carefully go over the terms.
- Impact on job performance: If the nature of the job involves driving, operating machinery, handling sensitive information or making critical decisions, a DUI conviction might be seen as compromising the employee’s ability to perform their duties safely and responsibly. If you got a DUI on the way to work and your employer knows that you were going to work while impaired, that could be an issue.
- Legal requirements: In some professions, there might be legal requirements or industry regulations that mandate the termination or suspension of employment due to certain criminal convictions, including DUIs. An example of this is if a commercial driver gets a DUI and loses their CDL so that it’s impossible for them to work legally.
- Employer discretion: Ultimately, the decision to terminate an employee for a DUI offense often rests with the employer’s discretion. Employers aren’t required by law to do so, but they do have the right. Some employers might consider factors such as the employee’s tenure, past performance, remorse, rehabilitation efforts and the specific circumstances surrounding the DUI before making a decision.
It’s important to note that DUI convictions can result in various consequences beyond employment, including legal penalties, license suspension, increased insurance rates and social stigma. It’s, therefore, wise to learn as much as you can about your legal defense options to protect your future in the event that you’re facing impaired driving charges.