If you’ve been arrested and charged with DWI, one of the biggest dilemmas you will likely face is whether to tell your employer about it–and if so, what you should say. Are you required to tell your boss about the DWI? Could you lose your job over it? The answers to these questions may depend on your situation and circumstances, so let’s dive a bit deeper.
To be clear, there is no law on the books that explicitly requires you to report a DWI to your current employer—and in fact, the law places some limits on what an employer may ask about your criminal record. However, there are a few exceptions in which you must disclose a DWI to your boss. For example:
- If you drive as part of your job. A DWI arrest will likely trigger a temporary license suspension, affecting your ability to drive legally. Your employer may also face additional liability if they allow you to drive while under DWI restrictions. If your job involves any type of driving, commercially or otherwise, the employer must be told.
- If your employment agreement requires it. If your contract specifically requires you to disclose arrests like DWI, you could be in breach of contract if you don’t. Likewise, if your employer has a policy requiring employees to disclose arrests, you could be fired if you’re caught withholding that information.
- If you’re applying for a new job and you’re asked about arrests and convictions. You’re required to answer honestly on job applications, and since more and more employers are running criminal background checks, it’s likely they will find out, anyhow. It only makes you look worse if you try to cover it up.
When Is It Recommended to Tell Your Boss About Your DWI?
In the following situations, it might not be mandatory to disclose your DWI to your boss, but it still may be in your best interests. These include:
- If your employer asks you directly about it. It might not be against the law to lie in that situation, but if your boss finds out you lied, it could get you fired, not for the DWI, but for dishonesty.
- If it otherwise affects your ability to do your job. If a license suspension makes it difficult to go to work, or if you’re missing work due to court dates, your boss is more likely to be accommodating if you are honest about the challenges you’re facing.
When Is It Okay to Keep Your DWI Private?
If none of the above situations applies to you, and if your ability to do your job well is not impaired, you have no legal obligation to tell your employer about a DWI arrest or conviction. In that case, use your own best judgment regarding whether to disclose it and what you should say.
No matter the circumstances, and regardless of your guilt or innocence, telling your boss about your DWI is likely to be awkward and potentially risky. To ensure you don’t disclose too much or too little, always consult with your defense attorney about the best way to disclose a DWI to your employer. If you’ve been arrested for DWI, our New Hampshire DWI defense attorneys are here to help you navigate the challenges ahead. Contact Tenn And Tenn, P.A., to schedule your free initial consultation today.