The arrest/court aspect of a DUI is clearly your first concern after an arrest. You may wonder whether the traffic stop was valid, what the fines may look like or what defenses you may have if the case is going to trial. Whether this is your first DUI or not, the charge can have a big impact on your life, and the legal process is where you begin dealing with that.
However, you may need to start thinking about other ramifications: Is it going to impact your career? Could you get fired for getting a DUI, even if you were not on the job when if happened?
Do you have an employment contract?
First, if you have an employment contract, it may state that the contract can be terminated after an arrest. It may also state that you must tell your employer that you got the DUI. You cannot just hide it or fail to bring it up.
If you have a contract, follow it to the letter. Your employer doesn’t have to fire you for a DUI, legally speaking, but they may have the right to know. If you lie and breach the contract, you can simply be fired for that, regardless of whether you are actually convicted of the offense itself. Go over your contract carefully.
Do you drive for work?
Another consideration, of course, is whether you either have to drive to get to work or drive as part of the job itself. If so, you may not be able to do the job at all while your license is suspended. You cannot break the law and drive without a license—that risks another criminal charge and possible probation violation. Again, you must tell your employer. Those in the most precarious position are professional drivers who may lose an important professional license.
Florida is an at-will state
Finally, you do need to remember that Florida is an at-will state, so employers have the ability to fire most employees at any time, as long as they don’t violate those employees’ rights while doing so. Even if you don’t have an employment contract, it’s not illegal for your boss to fire you if he or she knows you got a DUI.
You can see that the ramifications of this traffic stop are quite serious. You need to know your rights and defense options to protect your future.