Can You Be Fired for a DWI in Missouri?
A DWI conviction is a serious matter that can have wide-ranging consequences on every aspect of your life. If the police arrested you for drunk driving, you may be wondering whether you could lose your job, and the short answer is “yes.” Missouri is an at-will employment state, which means that an employer may terminate an employee at any time, and for any reason, so long as the reasons for firing someone isn’t prohibited by law. As a result, a DWI could certainly result in the loss of your job, so it’s critical that anyone facing DWI charges in the St. Louis area contact an experienced DWI criminal defense lawyer immediately.
How Can You Maximize the Chances that You Will Keep Your Job?
It’s important to recognize that it’s entirely up to your employer whether you will be able to keep your job. In fact, your employer is within its rights to fire you simply for the arrest, even if you are ultimately not convicted. Fortunately, there are certain things that you can do to maximize your chances of keeping your job. These include:
- If your employee handbook requires that you disclose the arrest, you should do so. Even if it doesn’t, and your employer discovers that you were arrested and asks about the incident, you should be honest about the arrest.
- Take proactive steps to address the conduct that caused your arrest. It is not a bad idea to obtain an evaluation from a substance abuse professional and seek treatment, if appropriate.
- Retain an attorney as soon as you can. Retaining a lawyer shows that you are taking the matter seriously, and your attorney can help control the public relations messaging about your arrest, if necessary.
If You Have Already Lost Your Job, a Lawyer May Be Able to Help You Avoid Employment Issues in the Future
In the unfortunate event that you have already lost your job because of your arrest, retaining an experienced attorney can help minimize the chances that your arrest will cause you problems when it comes to getting your next job. If there are any legal defenses available in your case, your lawyer will recognize them and use them to try and get your case dismissed or obtain an acquittal, should your case go to trial. Some of the defenses that are often available in DWI cases include:
- Challenging the reason for the initial traffic stop
- Arguing that the breathalyzer was improperly calibrated
- Showing that there were alternative reasons for the signs of intoxication observed by the arresting officer
Importantly, even if there are no defenses available to you, and you determine your best option is to plead guilty, an attorney may be able to get you into a diversionary program that, if you complete successfully, will allow you to avoid a conviction from appearing on your criminal record, improving the chances that your DWI will not affect your ability to get a job in the future.
Call Bruntrager & Billings Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with St. Louis Criminal Defense DWI Lawyer
If you have been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, you should speak to an experienced attorney as soon as you can. At Bruntrager & Billings, our skilled St. Louis criminal defense attorneys will review the facts of your arrest at no charge to you and advise you as to your options. To schedule your free, no-obligation consultation, call our office today at 314-646-0066 or contact us online.