Can I Be Fired After a DUI Arrest? Orange County Deputy Fired After DUI Arrest, Reckless Driving Plea

Following a DUI arrest, many people start to wonder what the consequences will be. Will they go to jail? Will they be able to drive? Will they be fired from their job? While all of these scenarios are possible, whether or not you will be fired from your job depends on a variety of factors such as what kind of job you have, and what the company employment policies are for criminal offense records that include DUI-related arrests. Another important thing to note is that an employer may decide to terminate a person’s employment for any reason, however that does not mean they always have a legal basis to do so.

An Orange County Sheriff’s deputy was fired last month after his March DUI arrest, when authorities allege they found his blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit to drive. 

The 56-year-old former deputy was in his truck about 3:30 a.m. March 18 when a Winter Garden police officer noticed him stopped beyond a crosswalk at an intersection, according to an OCSO internal affairs investigation. The truck did not move for two full cycles of the traffic signal and, when the officer walked to the driver’s side, she said she found the man with his head slumped on his chest with the truck still in drive.

The officer claims she repeatedly banged on the window and got no response from the man. When he awoke, the truck rolled further into the intersection, where cross traffic was traveling at 45 mph, according to reports.

The Winter Garden officer requested an ambulance for the man to make sure he was not in distress. After he was medically cleared, the officer began field sobriety tests with the former deputy, all of which she said he failed, including a one-leg stand and heel-to-toe steps.

She claims the man had red watery eyes and a strong smell of alcohol on him, as well as slurred speed. 

The man later consented to a breath test, which recorded his blood alcohol content at 0.165 and 0.179, the report said. Both are more than twice Florida’s legal limit to drive, 0.08.

The man, a deputy since 1996, was not on duty and was driving his personal vehicle at the time of his arrest. He had most recently been assigned to the agency’s special operations division in aviation, but had not been performing law enforcement duties since his arrest, the report said.

In May, the man pleaded no contest to reckless driving, after multiple attempts to suppress evidence from the traffic stop, court records show. He was sentenced to one day in jail, a DUI class and 75 hours of community service, all of which he completed.

The man was found in violation of the OCSO’s policy on conforming to laws.

Reckless driving is a misdemeanor and reports indicate that there are other OCSO personnel who have been arrested on DUI and not fired.

The man appealed his firing, but an administrative review upheld it. He is still awaiting a final decision from the Disciplinary Appeal Board, according to reports. 

If you are worried about getting fired after a drunk or drugged driving arrest, the best thing you can do is get legal help from our Florida Employment Law Attorneys at Whittel & Melton so that we can examine your arrest and make sure you do not make any potential mistakes when you meet with your employer to discuss the incident.

We understand just how much a DUI arrest and a person’s job can suddenly become two major problems to deal with. We have helped many drivers in your same predicament figure out how to handle these two separate, but related issues. 

The first step is to let us review your case information to see if we can legally protect your employment rights. Once we do, we can go over all of your options when alerting your employer about your arrest. If your employment duties require you to be able to drive for the company, or if you drive a company car, then you have to inform your employer of the DUI-related arrest offense immediately, as well as the possibility of a driver’s license suspension.

Most companies will need to be updated on any further happenings with your DUI matter. Let’s say a person was arrested for a DUI and did not tell their employer and continued to drive a company vehicle while their driver’s license was suspended, that person could very well be fired for their actions. Failing to disclose an arrest or license suspension is considered reasonable cause for an employee’s termination.

You may also be wondering if you can get fired for DUI even if you have not gone to court or been convicted. The answer is yes, it is possible, as many employers have company policies regarding DUI arrests and subsequent convictions regarding their employees.

If you are concerned about losing your job because of a DUI, then we can help. We can answer your questions about a possible termination and what strategies you have for protecting your work status. You may have legal rights that you never knew existed which provide the best defense to save your job after a DUI. 

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