Facing a DUI isn't easy for anyone, but when you work in a supervisory capacity and everyone knows about your arrest, it can be even harder. With your income, ability to drive, and so much more on the line, you really have to proceed with caution. Here are a few important and helpful ways to cope with this potentially devastating situation.
Seek Your Attorney's Specific Advice About Your Employment
Unless your position at work is directly related to driving, you shouldn't be instantly fired over a DUI charge. Most especially, an employer probably isn't going to terminate your position if you meet any of the following conditions:
- You have an exceptional record for performance at work.
- This is your first and only alcohol-related charge.
- You have no history of alcohol affecting your performance or behavior at work.
- You are able to retain your driving privileges and thus able to get to work regularly.
- You handle the matter in a professionally-appropriate manner, such as not discussing it openly around the water cooler.
Since your employer does have the right to terminate your position for any number of reasons, including an arrest and conviction, it's important that your lawyer advise you about how to approach your supervisor with specific details. That way, you can cover all of your bases, including any presented by a contract agreement you signed when you first joined the company. There is no law that protects you from being fired for drunk-driving; however, with a DUI attorney directing what you disclose, you stand a much better chance of keeping your job and continuing a normal life.
Fight The Charges
If you were, indeed, driving under the influence, only you and your lawyer need to know this. While it's obviously in your best interest and the interest of the public at risk to refrain from driving while intoxicated in the future, this doesn't change the fact that you can and should fight the charges against you. Do not admit anything to anyone, including family members who might discuss the case with nosy neighbors or anyone else that could put your case at risk. Learn an important lesson from your mistake, but vow to fight, especially considering all that's at stake. Your lawyer will likely tell you to discuss the matter privately with your direct supervisor and to assure them that your intent is to clear this matter up as quickly and cleanly as possible, but beyond that, you're not obligated to tell anyone anything.
Consider a Transfer
Sometimes the stigma of a drunk-driving charge is too great to overcome in a professional environment, but if your employer is still supporting you, ask them about possibly transferring to another location. If your case is still open, you might have restrictions on you about moving to another state and you'll definitely have to notify the courts of any change of address, but if being surrounded by a different crew at work will help you move forward with your life, it could be a good idea. When you get to your new office location, avoid discussing with anyone the reasons why you transferred .
Carefully Weigh The Benefits Of A DUI Class
While volunteering for a DUI class or some type of alcohol-related treatment may appease the court if you're facing conviction, if the case is yet to be resolved and you believe you stand a good chance of fighting the charges, hold off. Despite the potential benefits of a course or treatment, volunteering could imply some level of guilt on your part. Your DUI attorney will know if it's a good idea or not, so don't bring the matter up with your employer or anyone else until how you know how it might affect your case.
Work On Your Image, If Needed
Because being in a supervisory position comes with a lot of responsibility and respect, you need to make sure you're not sending anyone the wrong message with your attitude or actions. While it's fun to be "one of the gang" and laugh over jokes or references to alcohol and partying, that will not reflect well on you, at least for the time being. No matter what kind of boss you normally are, either strict or social, rigid or relaxed, polishing your professional image is vital following a DUI incident. Also, if you're actively being prosecuted, any words you say or pass along on social media could be used against you, so keep your tone muted and professional.
A DUI is a serious, potentially life-changing charge, but no matter how you got into this mess, you must work very hard to get out of it. With the help of a good lawyer, the support of your employer and some due-diligence on your part, you should get through and hopefully, resume a normal life soon.