Can I Get Fired for a DWI?
In Texas, being charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) can be life-changing. Being convicted of this crime can come with jail time of up 180 days, a one-year suspension of a driver’s license and fines of up to $2000. A DUI can impact your relationships and finances, while also preventing you from coming to work, so it is not uncommon to worry about whether you can be fired for a DUI charge.
Can You Get Fired for a DWI In Texas?
Texas employment is “employment-at-will” unless you have an employment contract offering you additional protections. “Employment-at-will” means you can be fired at any time and for any reason — unless your contract of employment explicitly states a term of employment.
Employment discrimination is illegal in Texas, making it illegal for you to face discrimination or termination of your employment due to your nationality, ethnicity, race, age, disability or religion. Your criminal record is not in this list of protected categories, so you can be fired for a DUI.
Will My Employer Find Out About My DUI?
Chances are, your employer will find out about your DUI charge, even if you are not convicted. Workplace gossip can mean someone in your life hears about your arrest and brings news of this to your work. Besides, if you can no longer drive or need to spend time in jail, your employer will likely notice.
If you have a job requiring you to drive as part of your work duties, you may be required to report your DUI or DWI to your employer. Some employee contracts and work manuals even mandate that you report such arrests, regardless of whether your duties involve driving. Finally, if your current or any future prospective employers run a background check on you, your record may show your DUI or DWI.
How to Talk to Your Employer About Your DUI
It is stressful to worry about being fired for a DWI, and it is difficult to control how information might or might not get to your employer. For these reasons, if you have a DUI, you may wish to speak to your employer about it. Here is how to do that:
- Speak to an Attorney First: Before you make a decision that could affect your employment, talk to a lawyer. You can speak to a criminal defense attorney by contacting Morales & Sparks. Our legal team is compassionate, and we can offer representation and discuss your concerns with you. If you do decide to tell your employer you have a DUI, it can be beneficial to have an attorney already because you can then tell them you are taking legal steps and expect a favorable outcome.
- Find out Whether You Have to Disclose Your DWI: If your employer asks you directly or if you are required to disclose the information because you drive as part of your work duties — or if your employee handbook or contract require it — you should be honest. Otherwise, you may wish to consider whether to reveal the information, especially if it is unlikely your employer will find out.
- Seek Support or Counseling Before Disclosing Anything: If you are required to disclose your DUI, start by signing up for classes or counseling to tackle any substance abuse issues. You could also talk over your conversation with your employer with a therapist or counselor — they could even help you practice the discussion.
- Focus on the Positives: If you must disclose your DUI or if you think the information will come out anyway and want to be the one to talk to your employer first, arrange for a calm conversation. Discuss the steps you have already taken to have a favorable outcome and to prevent further DUIs and remind the employer about the positive impact you have had on your place of work. Ask your employer to wait until the outcome of your case and explain how the DUI will not impact your work performance.
If you are worried about your job and future after a DUI, contact Morales & Sparks for compassionate and professional criminal defense representation. Our lawyers treat you like part of the family and work hard to give you the best future possible.