If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Missouri, you likely have a lot of fears and concerns running through your mind, like whether you will have to go to jail and if you will still have a job if you do not. These are certainly valid concerns. A DUI is a serious offense that can have far-reaching and long-term consequences. The truth is that being arrested or convicted of a DUI can absolutely affect your employment status. Missouri is an at-will employment state, which means that your employer can fire you for any reason (unless that reason is illegal, such as it is discriminatory). Employers are therefore acting within their rights to fire you if you are arrested or convicted of a DUI. In many cases, this will not happen, but if there are any driving responsibilities or a heightened standard of care in your profession, it will be important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Hiring a lawyer as early on as possible after you are charged with a DUI will give you your best chance at overcoming it and will help you to navigate the process as strategically as possible. A lawyer may be able to help get the charges against you dismissed if the original stop in which you were charged was unconstitutional. A lawyer may also be able to help you arrange a plea bargain for a less serious offense that will be much less likely to affect your employment status, such as a moving violation. In the event that your case goes to trial, a lawyer will work to assert the strongest possible defense to try and ensure a finding of not guilty. However, even in the event that you are convicted, a lawyer can argue for a lesser sentence, such as probation and substance abuse treatment, that would allow you to keep your job.
How to Maximize Your Chances of Keeping Your Job After a DUI
Whether or not you have to inform your employer of your DUI charges or a conviction depends largely on company policy. Some companies require that you report any criminal charges, while other companies may only request information on convictions, or may not have any specific policy outlined on the subject at all. If your job requires driving, it will be in the most jeopardy, as it significantly increases the liability of the employer. In this case, your best bet at keeping your job is to hire an attorney and work to get the charges dismissed. In some cases, enrolling in a substance abuse treatment program may demonstrate to your employer that you are committed to bettering yourself. They may have a performance action plan, or drug/alcohol testing at work, that you can submit to in order to maintain your employment.
Talk to the Johnson Law Firm
If you are facing DUI charges in Missouri and are concerned about the impact that it could have on your career. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Johnson Law Firm are ready to fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Contact the Johnson Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.