In Texas, the offense of
driving while intoxicated (DWI) is covered under
Section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code. If someone is convicted of DWI, he or she faces
up to 180 days in jail, up to a $2,000 fine, up to a one-year driver’s
license suspension and more. Given the fact that a DWI conviction could
mean spending up to six months behind bars, it’s understandable
why DWI defendants often ask, “Can I lose my job if I’m found
guilty of DWI?” Here, we’re going to take a closer look at the law.
Like most states, Texas is an “employment-at-will” state. What
does this mean? It means that when an employee does not have a written
employment contract, his or her employer can fire the employee for a good
cause, a bad cause, or for no reason or cause at all. But it goes both
ways. In an employment-at-will situation, the employee can quit whenever
they’d like, unless the employee agreed to an arrangement regarding
quitting the company.
Of course, the employment-at-will concept does have its limits. An employer
cannot terminate an employee based on discrimination, because this would
be in violation of state or federal laws. Employers are prohibited from
firing employees based on an employee’s race, age, disability, nation
of origin, or religious affiliation. So, where does this leave employees
with criminal convictions for DWI?
Can You Be Fired for a DWI?
In Texas, employees can be fired for criminal convictions because unlike
discrimination, employees are not protected if they are arrested or convicted
of a crime. Can your employer fire you because you are arrested, charged
or convicted of
DWI? Yes, absolutely. Even if you are not found guilty of DWI, your employer
can still use it against you and you have no legal recourse, unless you
have a written employment contract that protects you.
How will a DWI arrest or conviction affect your current job? It all depends
on your occupation and how your current employer feels about you and DWI
convictions. Every employer is different. If you are a driver, or if you
work in healthcare, real estate, education, or childcare, a DWI arrest
or conviction can certainly jeopardize your job.
On the other hand, if you work in retail, the restaurant industry, construction,
manufacturing, or another industry that’s away from the public eye,
your employer may not have a big issue with your DWI. However, if you
are sent to jail for months, the real question may be, “Will your
job still be there when you’re released from custody?” And
if not, “How will a criminal conviction affect future employment?”
“Effects of a Texas DWI.”
To protect your employment opportunities,
contact us to meet with a top-rated Dallas DWI lawyer. Learn more about Attorney Peter Barrett by