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I Got an OWI! Do I Have to Tell My Boss?

Whether you were arrested for an OWI during the weekend or on a weeknight, you may be dreading going to work and having to explain to your boss about what happened.

But do you have to notify your employer about a pending OWI charge? According to Wisconsin law, you don’t have to unless the charge results in a conviction.

So, you may keep the information to yourself and allow the legal process to take its course. However, there are several situations where it is mandatory to inform your boss about an arrest.

You are required to disclose your OWI arrest if one of the following is true:

  • It is in your employment contract – If your employment contract or policy states that you are required to inform your employer about any criminal arrests, charges, or convictions, failure to do so could result in serious penalties such as complete termination.
  • Your job is to drive – Whether you drive the company vehicle or possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL), an OWI arrest could result in the automatic suspension of your driving privileges. Without your license, you can’t do your job, which means you would have to tell your boss about your current predicament. In addition, your boss can be held liable in the event of an accident if he/she knew or should have known about your OWI and let you drive anyway.
  • Your boss finds out – Word travels fast sometimes. As soon as you enter the office, your boss may ask you about the recent OWI charge. If this happens, do not lie. Rather, tell the truth and ask your employer to reserve any action and judgment until the criminal justice process plays out. Furthermore, ask your boss to make a decision regarding your employment based on your work history, as opposed to a one-time embarrassing incident.

If you have been arrested for an OWI in Milwaukee, schedule a free consultation with Cherella Law today.

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