nervous employee with bossYou may have to tell your employer about your drunk driving charge or conviction. Often, it depends on the type of work you do, the wording of your employment contract, and other factors that an experienced DUI defense lawyer can help you navigate.

Four Reasons to Tell Your Boss About Your DUI

The court may not inform your employer if you are charged with drinking and driving, boating under the influence, or driving under the influence of marijuana. However, there may be situations where you want or need to tell your employer about the charges against you. For example, you may need to tell your employer about your DWI charge if:

Your Job Contract Says So

Carefully review your job contract and employee handbook if you have them. Some company policies state that you must report any DUI/DWI arrests, charges, or convictions. The exact wording is important here. If your case is still pending, you may not need to tell human resources unless you’re convicted.

Unless there are aggravating circumstances, most DUI charges in Virginia are misdemeanors. Company policies may require you to report felonies but not misdemeanors. Others may demand you report any criminal charges whatsoever. If you’re ever unsure, consult with a Virginia DUI attorney to discuss your situation. 

You’re Applying for a Restricted License

A first DUI conviction in Virginia comes with a 12-month driver’s license suspension. Subsequent convictions may result in longer suspensions. In some cases, you may be able to apply for a restricted license. This will allow you to drive with specific restrictions. You may only be allowed to drive for specific reasons and during certain hours. One of these reasons could be driving for work. 

You Have a Commercial Driver’s License

If your job involves driving, your boss may have grounds to terminate your employment because of a DUI charge. They may not be willing to endorse your restricted driver’s license application. This is even more relevant with a commercial driver’s license (CDL). You need a CDL to drive commercial vehicles like large trucks and buses. You may need one to transport hazardous materials. 

The license suspension that comes with a DUI conviction also suspends your CDL. Without your CDL, you may not be able to do your job. Your employer needs to know you no longer have a valid CDL. In this instance, you need to notify them of your DUI/DWI charge. 

You Need Time Off Work

As your case proceeds through the legal system, you may need to take some time off work to attend court hearings. If convicted, you might need time to attend alcohol awareness and safety classes. If you need to serve time in jail, you also need time off work. In all cases, your employer will likely ask why you’re asking for time off, and you may need to tell them about the drunk driving charges or conviction. 

Telling Potential Employers About a DUI

Whether or not you need to tell potential employers about your DUI charge or conviction also depends on the situation. Be very careful in reading the question on your job application. Some may only ask about convictions and not arrests. Some may only ask about felonies and not misdemeanors. It’s essential to be honest. But you don’t have to give more information than what is required.

The reality is that there are lifelong consequences to a DUI conviction. One of those is the permanent criminal record that can affect employment opportunities. 

Get the Legal Advice You Need After a DUI Charge

Working your way through a drunk driving charge can be a stressful and confusing time. An experienced DUI defense lawyer can help explain what happens after a DUI arrest. They can not only help develop a strong defense, but they can help you understand your employment options and obligations. Every situation is different. Get personalized legal advice from a skilled professional.