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How & When to tell your boss you have to go to court for DUI

One issue that seems to come up with regularity is whether to tell one’s employer or boss that they were arrested and charged with a DUI or other criminal event. Certain people with high levels of clearance or security may be required to inform their employer upon any infraction of the law. However, the majority of people do not have such strict limitations placed upon them. Some people may be concerned because their employee manual may speak to ramifications of a DUI arrest or they may have heard stories about other folks similarly charged.

For the normal person who does not have a clear and absolute obligation to tell their employer, we would generally suggest waiting until the matter is resolved in court, and even then we might consider the necessity of sharing such personal information. The initial problem that comes to mind with being charged is that a charge is not a conviction and therefore going to one’s boss and indicating they were charged with a criminal offense could place that employee in a less than favorable light. Then, when one actually goes to court and if they avoid a conviction or better yet beat the charge completely, that person will have unnecessarily put a stain on their employee record, as far as the boss is concerned, even if their case is won. It is for that reason that we would typically say wait and see what the outcome of the event is before telling anybody about the event. Additionally, some employers may take a fairly strict stance on this type of matter which may be completely unwarranted if the matter is won in court.

We have had the privilege of representing a wide variety of people with professional licenses, the military, clearances, etc., and while all the cases are different, one should consider carefully the advantages and disadvantages of bringing such news to an employer without being able to give them the result of the situation.

In other words, some employees may find themselves suspended or otherwise reprimanded or downgraded until the matter is resolved several months later. This is an unfortunate situation because you have not been convicted of anything at that time, only charged. For that reason if one felt compelled to tell their employer we would rather be able to do it at a time when we could give the employer the entire story including the result.

As far as taking work time off to go to court, it is surely a personal matter and one that does not need to be shared with the employer or the office under normal circumstances. In that regard, taking personal leave time for your scheduled court date is a good course of action. If you emerge from the situation without a conviction certainly nobody needs to be any the wiser and you avoid any negative implications from your coworkers or employer.