A DWI conviction in Texas comes with many consequences, such as license suspension, a criminal record, fines, and possible jail time. There may be secondary consequences as well. One of the most common questions about secondary consequences that we are asked by clients who have been charged with a DWI is: Will I lose my job with a DWI conviction?
At Vinas & Graham, PLLC, our criminal defense attorneys understand that you may have multiple concerns about DWI charges, including whether or not your employment is in jeopardy. Your job status after a DWI conviction depends on several factors that are discussed in more detail below.
If you have an employment contract, the contract should provide the reasons for which your job may be terminated. If those reasons specifically include DWIs or criminal convictions in general, your employer may have cause for termination. There might also be broader categories in your contract, such as the right to terminate employment for conduct unbecoming of the company or its reputation, that may be grounds for termination after a DWI conviction.
Texas, like most states, is an at-will employment state. This means that unless you have an employment contract, you may be terminated for any legal reason. In general, it is legal to fire an employee after a DWI conviction. Some types of employment circumstances increase the risk that you will lose your job after a DWI.
High-Risk Factors For Job Loss After A DWI
Factors and circumstances that increase your risk for job loss after a DWI include the following:
- Jobs that require a commercial driver’s license – If you have a CDL, you are held to a higher standard for vehicle operation than other drivers. If you are convicted of a DWI, your license may be suspended for a longer time than for drivers with a regular state driver’s license. If your job requires a CDL, you may lose your job upon suspension of your license.
- Jobs that require you to drive – If your job requires you to travel and you lose your license, you may lose your job because you do not have a way to carry out your job duties. For example, those who work in sales often drive to see clients on a regular basis. If they are unable to visit their clients, their employers may terminate their employment.
- Jobs working with children – People who work as teachers, daycare providers, and other positions that involve working with children are entrusted with significant responsibilities. Employers may consider employees with DWIs to be a liability and may no longer trust them to work with children.
- Jobs operating heavy machinery and equipment – Operators have a significant responsibility to carry out their job duties safely. Employers may see it as too great of a risk to trust employees with DWI convictions to operate heavy machinery and equipment.
- Jobs that require professional license – Professional licensing boards are responsible for granting and suspending professional licenses. Boards regulating licenses for attorneys, accountants, medical professionals, and other occupations may suspend or revoke licenses for those with DWI convictions.
- Jobs with regular employee background checks – Most employers run background checks on job applicants, and some of them regularly run background checks on employees after they have been hired. Employers who discover DWI convictions in routine background checks may decide to terminate those employees.
- Law enforcement and other government jobs – Those in law enforcement and other government positions are held to high standards, and their employment may be terminated for DWI convictions.
- DWI after prior convictions – Some employers may look the other way if you have a single criminal conviction. However, if you are convicted of a DWI after having previous convictions, your employer may decide to terminate your employment.
Houston DWI Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a DWI, the best way to protect yourself is to hire an experienced DWI defense attorney. Your attorney will go over your case, review the evidence against you, and look at law enforcement conduct to determine if your constitutional rights were violated. Contact Houston DWI defense attorneys at 713-229-9992 or online to schedule a free consultation.
We know that you may have many questions about your DWI charges, including how your job may be impacted. We will go over your case, discuss your defense strategies, and talk about the potential legal outcomes in your case. Follow our Facebook page to learn more about our law practice and the types of cases that we handle.