DWI and your job: Can you get fired for a DWI in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal. You could face criminal charges and serious penalties, including jail time and fines, if caught driving while intoxicated (DWI). But what happens if you are convicted of a DWI and are currently employed? Can your employer fire you for a DWI conviction? More on this below.
Minnesota is an at-will employment state
Minnesota is an at-will employment state, meaning your employer can fire you for any reason or no reason at all. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, it is illegal for your employer to fire you for a discriminatory reason, such as your race, gender or religion. Additionally, your employer cannot fire you in violation of an employment contract.
If you don’t have an employment contract and you’re not protected by any other laws, then your employer can legally fire you for a DWI conviction. Even if you haven’t been convicted of a DWI, your employer could still choose to terminate your employment if they believe that you’ve violated company policy (e.g., by driving under the influence while on the job).
The consequences of a DWI conviction on your career
While you may not be legally protected from being fired for a DWI conviction, that doesn’t mean that it won’t impact your career. A DWI conviction can make it challenging to find new employment, especially if you’re applying for jobs that require you to drive (e.g., delivery driver, truck driver, etc.). Additionally, a DWI conviction can lead to the loss of your professional license (e.g., medical license, law license, teaching license, etc.), which can severely limit your career options.
So, if you were convicted and served your time, getting your DWI record expunged may be helpful. You can do this on your own or hire a criminal defense attorney to do it for you. But, you should be aware that it can take up to ten years, depending on the circumstances of your arrest.
Two to four bottles of beer before driving could destroy your career that you’ve worked on for 20 to 40 years or more. So if there’s any defense you can use to avoid conviction, consider exploring and making the most out of it.