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Michigan Criminal Law Blog

Should I Tell My Employer about My OWI?

An OWI arrest can affect every area of your life. In the days and weeks after it happens, you’ll likely think about the event and what it means for your future non-stop, and you might feel as if the aftermath is creeping into all corners of your existence.

One of the biggest concerns for anyone arrested for anything is how it will affect his or her livelihood. If you’re arrested for OWI, do you need to be concerned about your job? Do you even need to tell your employer about the arrest?

The simple answer to this question is “no.”

Nobody is required to tell his or her employer about an arrest and the charges that follow, unless there are specific issues to work-related circumstances.

It’s also important to realize that being arrested and charged with a crime does not mean you will be convicted of that crime. Anyone can be accused of something, but unless it can be proven that you committed the crime and, as a result, you are convicted, there’s no reason to share the news with your employer. Doing so could make you look bad for no reason.

Of course, you might need time away from work to deal with the legal ramifications of the charges, but you aren’t required to go into specifics about why you need to take time off to appear in court. Simply request time off according to your employer’s policies or, if you must share any information about why you need time off, simply say it’s because of a court date.

When Do You Need to Tell Your Employer about the Charges Against You?

Despite the average person not needing to share news of his or her OWI arrest with an employer, there are exceptions.

For instance, if you have signed a contract that legally requires you to disclose an arrest, you’ll need to abide by the contract. The same is true if you’ve been given a security clearance and as part of that clearance you’re required to share information about an arrest.

Some employers state in their employee handbook or manual that employees must share information about an arrest if it occurs. This is commonly the case when a person’s job requires he or she drive. Employers can face civil liabilities if they allow someone considered high-risk to operate a motor vehicle and an accident occurs.

Your employer might also have certain requirements dictated by its insurance company and if so, they’ll require you to share information about an OWI arrest.

In addition to employees who are required to report an arrest because they drive as part of their job, some professionally licensed fields also require the report of an arrest. For instance, doctors sometimes have a duty to report an OWI when the time comes to renew their license.

If you have been arrested for OWI in Michigan, you are not alone. For more information about OWI arrests in general throughout the state, check out the Michigan State Police’s Annual Drunk Driving Audit.

If you’ve been arrested for OWI and you are concerned about your job, or you have any questions about an OWI arrest, we can help. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact Andrew W. Kowalkowski, PLLC at 248.974.9594.

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