Everyone knows that jail, community service, fines, court costs, and probation could be part of a DWI sentence. But what other issues can a DWI conviction create? Loss of driving privileges, revocation of a current probationary sentence, increased insurance rates, and embarrassment in your family or community circles are just a few collateral consequences of a DWI charge. Perhaps the most significant collateral damage immediately caused by a DWI charge or DWI conviction (or even pending DWI charge) is the impact on your job. Here are some common questions for those concerned about the impact of a criminal charge on their employment:
Q. Do I have to report ad DWI charge to my employer?
A. Many employee handbooks require an employee to report in the event of a criminal charge. The handbook will normally discuss what types of criminal charges require reporting as well as which supervisor to report the incident to.
Q. Should I report a the DWI charge even if I am not required to?
A. Many businesses do not issue employee handbooks, or may not require reporting of a misdemeanor charge or non-traffic related charges, such as a DWI. Should you take such information to your boss or supervisor anyway? The answer depends on the circumstances. If there is a high likelihood that your employer will discover the charge (e.g. your employer tells you that they do background checks on all employees every six months), it might be better to disclose the DWI to your employer even if you are not required to do so. By doing so, you might be able to establish a trust element with your employer or refute the legitimacy of the charge. Seeking legal guidance prior to such a disclosure is strongly recommended.
Q. Will I lose my job as a result of a DWI conviction?
A. It depends. For some employers (particularly governmental agencies), a DWI charge could automatically result in dismissal (E.g. officers in the military are at a high risk of losing rank or being discharged when convicted of DUI/DWI). Private employers often have great leeway in setting policies for determining whether to terminate an employee convicted of a DWI charge. Moreover, certain types of charges are likely to be viewed more negatively by an employer than others (e.g. larceny and other theft related charges are often extremely worrisome for employers if the employee is a cashier or handles a large amount of inventory, whereas a DWI is not).
The impact a DWI charge has on your job can be life-changing, so make sure to seek advice on whether you are required to disclose a DWI charge to your employer or to seek advice on how to break the news.