January 22, 2015

Can You Be Fired For a DUI Charge in California?

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Can You Be Fired For a DUI Charge in California

California is an “at-will” employment state. Lacking an agreement to the contrary, employers can terminate employees for any reason at any time. Unless the termination is retaliatory or discriminatory, you have no legal defense. Therefore, if your employer finds out that you have received a DWI, you can be fired as a result.

How Do Employers View DUIs?

Many employers equate DWIs with poor judgment and irresponsibility. A DUI charge can be a red flag for a high-risk employee who can potentially harm the company.

What Are the Implications of a DWI for an Employer?

A physician, nurse, teacher, police officer or anyone entrusted with public responsibility is more likely to be fired for a DUI because the employer may be liable for the employee’s errors in judgment.

An employee who drives a company vehicle may be fired for a DWI. If you lose your license because of a DUI, you will be unable to maintain your position. When you get your license back, your employer may be unable to insure you because of the DWI. If you get into an accident in a company vehicle and injure others, your employer could be sued as a result.

If the employee has been a positive addition to the company in the past and has no prior DWIs, the employer may offer an opportunity to get treatment or suspend the employee instead of firing them.

Must I Tell My Employer About a DWI?

In most cases, your employer will have no way of knowing that you received a DUI charge. There is no reason to share this information unless you are required to do so by company policy. Before taking action, it’s a good idea to consult a DUI attorney to protect your rights. Sometimes the consequences for not reporting a DWI are worse than reporting it.

If you have received a California DWI and are worried about losing your job, contact an experienced DUI attorney.A qualified DWI defense lawyer can advise you of your rights and counsel you on how to proceed.


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The acronyms DUI, DWI, OMVI and OVI all refer to the same thing: operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The most commonly used terms are DUI, an acronym for Driving Under the Influence, and DWI, an acronym for Driving While Impaired.
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