Can I Get Fired for a Florida DUI?

By Jonathan Blecher on April 9, 2014

When people are charged with driving under the influence (DUI) under Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes, it’s not as if their lives come to a grinding halt. Since most people who are arrested for DUI are normal, everyday citizens, they still have bills to pay, children to take care of, and jobs to go to.

Considering the fact that most people’s livelihoods are depending on their jobs, it’s understandable why most of my clients ask me, “Can I get fired because of my DUI?” Yes, you can, but there’s no way I can guarantee what will happen. The answer will depend on the type of job that you have, your employer’s view on DUI, whether the DUI is bad for business, and if you are sentenced to jail.

Florida is an Employment-at-Will State

Like most states, Florida is an employment-at-will state. This means that in the absence of a written contract, an employer can legally terminate their employees at any time, with or without cause and they are not required to provide the employee with any advance notice.

However, employers cannot terminate employees for discriminatory reasons (e.g. race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, etc.), for refusing to break the law, for filing a workers’ compensation claim, or for being a whistleblower and notifying the authorities of illegal activities. But DUI, employers can definitely fire an employee for drunk or drugged driving, even if it occurred outside of work.

When DUIs Are Bad for Business

In some industries, an employee may luck out if they have a sympathetic employer and the DUI won’t really impact the person’s job. But in other industries, it may be the exact opposite. If you drive a commercial vehicle, if you’re in real estate, childcare, education, politics, healthcare, or in another field where you’re in the public eye, your employer may consider the DUI to be bad for business. So, the future of your job has a lot to do with your employer and how they react to the DUI.

A first DUI can result in up to six months in jail. In this case, the question may be, “Will my employer keep my job so it’s there when I am released?” If you’re facing first DUI charges, the best way to protect your job may be to go through the Back on Track Program. To learn more, contact my Miami DUI defense firm today

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