Criminal defendants have many worries after getting picked up for DWI. Major concerns are the prospect of going to jail and losing their driver’s license. Do you need to worry about job loss, too?
The answer is “yes.” Criminal proceedings are public in Texas. Anyone who searches your name online or runs a background check could easily find out about the DWI. What’s more, employment in Texas is usually at-will, which means your employer can fire you for almost any reason.
At Tad Nelson & Associates, we represent DWI defendants who are facing time in jail and fines. We also worry about the repercussions of your criminal charge, including possible job loss. Please call our law firm to discuss your case. We believe in providing a zealous defense, and we can also talk about whether you can seal any criminal record related to a DWI.
Are You Required to Report a DWI to Your Employer?
Some workers have employment contracts which spell out the employee’s obligations. One duty might be to report any traffic violations, including DWI arrests. For example, if you drive for Uber or Lyft you almost surely must report DWIs. Truckers also must report traffic offenses to their employers.
If you refuse to notify your employer, you are breaking your employment contract. Once your employer finds out about the DWI, they can fire you for cause. That means you will be without a job and no way to get it back.
Some workers don’t have employment contracts, but you might have an employee handbook which identifies certain obligations. Always follow the handbook, since it is a type of “quasi-contract” in many cases.
Your boss might also ask you directly if you were arrested. You might need to request time off to go to a court hearing and they could ask why. Lying hurts you in these situations, too. Discuss how to handle this issue with your DWI lawyer. We are more than courtroom advocates for our clients. We also help them understand other issues related to a criminal arrest.
What Rights Do You Have if Fired?
Not many. It is rarely illegal to fire someone for committing a crime. Employers have a free hand deciding who to keep and who to let go.
Can You Seal a DWI Record in Texas?
Yes. Texas allows people to seek an Order of Nondisclosure, which essentially seals the record. Once sealed, a record shouldn’t show up in any criminal background check, which means you can always answer that you don’t have a DWI arrest. No member of the public should be able to see it.
Not everyone is eligible to seek an Order of Nondisclosure. You need to meet the following eligibility criteria:
- You should have no prior convictions, other than for minor traffic offenses.
- You must not have gotten into an accident while driving drunk.
- You weren’t convicted of a Class A misdemeanor with a high BAC (.15 or higher).
You will also need to satisfy a waiting period, which will depend on the facts of your case:
- 2 years: You can request an Order of Nondisclosure if you completed probation and all requirements and had an interlock ignition device (IID) installed for at least six months while on probation. You can apply to seal your records two years from the day you were formally discharged from probation.
- 3 years: You can request an Order of Nondisclosure if you resolved your case some way other than probation, and you had an interlock ignition device installed for at least six months.
- 5 years: Other eligible citizens must wait 5 years after they complete their sentence if they did not have an IID installed for a minimum of six months.
You also cannot have other criminal arrests during this waiting period.
What Other Steps Can I Take?
You can try to show your employer that you are serious about addressing any alcohol or drug problems. For example, you might enter and complete a treatment program so that you remain sober.
You can also fight the DWI charges as aggressively as you can. If you are truly innocent, there is no reason to accept a guilty plea. Instead, you can prove to everyone that you didn’t drive while drunk or high.
Hire the Best DWI Lawyer in Town
Tad Nelson can defend you from DWI charges, including DWI assault. His law office can also assist with seeking an order to seal any criminal records which are eligible. Contact The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today for more information.