Stacey M. Washington, Attorney and CounselorAttorney and Counselor
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Can a DUI cause you to lose your job?

That depends on a few things: whether it's a charge or a conviction, and whether it's your first, second or third. However, one thing is certain: anyone with a DUI conviction will face a number of difficulties afterward, in everything from school to work to their personal life. But did you know you could be at risk of losing your job on top of everything else?

It hardly seems fair, if driving has nothing to do with the work you do. (Note: commercial drivers face specific, harsher penalties for DUIs.) All you have to do is get to work and do the job, right? But being charged with a DUI, or convicted, could affect your performance and lead to termination.

Here are some of the ways your work life could be affected:

Practical concerns

  • Getting to work on time, or at all, during the time your license is suspended, leaving you at the mercy of friends, public transportation and expensive car share or taxi services
  • Missing work hours due to community service, alcohol treatment, attorney meetings or court appearances (and possibly jail time)
  • Not giving notice for missing work-as in, the morning after the DUI or the time your transportation plan falls through
  • Arrests are reported to any licensing agency overseeing your profession, which could affect your professional license renewal prospects

Emotional worries

  • Reacting or overreacting to your case; making yourself a topic of conversation or gossip by being overly dramatic or "sharing" too much information
  • Feeling like you've let everybody down and are a failure-remember, a DUI is a mistake, not a moral failure
  • Obsessing over the outcome of your case, which could lead to lack of focus and being unproductive
  • Your reliability may be in question and you may be tasked with proving it by a supervisor

In addition, your company may have a code of conduct that you violated. You can also be accused of representing the company in a bad light. Does this mean you should give up and accept this challenge to your career? No. The first thing to do is talk to an experienced attorney about how to fight a DUI charge. Avoiding a conviction in the first place is the key.

1 Comment

The emotional part that comes with getting a DUI isn't focused on too much. It's good to be aware of those types of consequences as well. I imagine it's a lot less stressful and overwhelming when you already have an attorney to turn to for help.

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