You had a rough weekend. You were arrested and charged with DUI. You spent a better part of the weekend behind bars before being released on your own recognizance. You can only drive legally to and from work. You’ve got hearings in front of you – and you’re still only accused of drunk driving.
So do you have to tell your employer? In most cases, you don’t. However, it’s crucial to know when you do.
When you’re required to inform your employer of a DUI arrest
There are some cases where you have to report being charged with DUI, even if you haven’t pled guilty or been convicted:
- You drive a company or commercial vehicle as part of your job.
- Your employer (or your specific employment agreement or contract) requires reporting any arrest.
- Your licensing board requires it.
There are typically more situations in which you need to report a conviction than an arrest. That’s just one reason to challenge the evidence and the charge if you believe you have grounds to or if you know you’re not guilty.
Should you withhold the information if you don’t have to report it?
That’s a decision only you can make based on your individual situation. If you’ll be attending multiple court hearings and potentially going to trial or spending some time in jail, it may be better to be upfront rather than lie about your needed time off.
If there’s a chance someone else at work is going to find out (or already knows), it may be best if you’re the one who tells your boss. They don’t like to hear things through the grapevine.
If you know your boss won’t react well (for example, if they are staunchly against drinking for religious reasons), it may be best not to tell them. While you likely can’t be fired for being arrested, they can certainly make your work life unhappy and find other reasons to get rid of you.
It’s important to find out what your obligations are, requiring notifying your employer before you say anything. It’s your private life, and they may have no reason to know about this. One advantage of having legal guidance with a DUI is that you have a better chance of lessening the consequence for your life and your job.