DWI stands for driving while intoxicated and is used interchangeably with DUI which means driving under the influence. DUI/DWI laws prevent someone from driving when influenced by alcohol, drugs or both regardless of what their blood alcohol level is. In case you are an employer and your employee is charged with a DWI, this article will inform you on a few basic points and what your course of action should be.
Employment in Transportation
If your employee gets a DUI while working in a transportation field, you are in your right to terminate them or suspend their employment if you believe it to be in the best interest of the business. A DWI conviction exposes you to liability for maintaining an employee negligently even after knowing that they have a DWI record. You may also change the duties and responsibilities of your employee to a role that does not include operating a vehicle, watercraft or aircraft.
The at-will employment concept allows you to terminate your employee based on any reason. When an employee has been hired, the employer can use their discretion for maintaining job positions and could fire an employee who gets a DWI conviction. You can also hire an employee who is working under the terms of a contract if the employment terms are based on the employee avoiding convictions or arrests.
An employee with a DWI is likely to attract huge interest rates for you as an employer. If your employee is a trusted and valuable part of your work force, you may consider helping them fight the charges. You only have fifteen days to request for a hearing regarding the suspension of your employee’s driver’s license. If you or your employee fails to request for a hearing 15 days from when they were arrested, their license will be suspended for 40 days.
In most cases, the police agency that arrested your employee will send the District Attorney an arrest report. The District Attorney will file a charge against your employee in a county court and then your employee will get a notice instructing them to appear in court for a hearing. There is usually a 4-6 week gap between the time your employee is arrested and their first court appearance.
Your employee has four options when it comes to fighting a DWI charge:
• Pleading guilty
• A plea bargain for a reduced charge such as reckless driving
• Requesting for trial presided by a judge
• Requesting for a jury trial
In case your employee is facing a DWI charge, you need to determine whether you should fire them or help them fight the charges. An experienced attorney will assist you in weighing your options and take the best course of action.