Hard-working professionals need a chance to unwind, but sometimes, kicking back can put your career in danger. Whether you went out for drinks with potential clients or with your co-workers to celebrate signing a big sale, if you choose to get behind the wheel after a few drinks and get pulled over by police, you may find yourself in a precarious position.
You likely already know that the state of Pennsylvania has significant penalties for those accused of impaired driving, particularly repeat offenders. However, it is not just the criminal consequences that you need to consider, but also the potential civil consequences.
The courts will not contact your employer directly or interfere with your job. However, they will likely suspend your license. Also, your employer can discover your legal issues and discipline you. That is one of several ways in which a drunk driving charge in Pennsylvania could hurt your career.
Many employers have rules against criminal convictions
When you first signed your employment contract, chances are good that you didn’t look it over too closely. Many times these are boilerplate documents that contain more or less the same information from company to company. One of the common inclusions in an employment contract is a restriction on criminal activity or convictions.
Your employer may have required you to submit to a background check before you began your job, and they may also perform periodic background checks as they consider you for promotions or raises. Even if you don’t disclose the charges to your employer, if you plead guilty or wind up convicted, they may find the criminal charges on their own and take disciplinary action against you.
If your job involves driving, you may be unable to perform it
Obviously, those with commercial driver’s licenses or who drive for a living will face career issues after a conviction. Employers may not have any choice, as federal rules often involve the mandatory suspension of commercial licenses for those convicted of even off-duty alcohol offenses.
Even if driving is only a fraction of your job, you may have career headaches in your future. For example, if you regularly drive to other business locations or drive with your sales partner to meet with clients, you may no longer be able to do so after your conviction. Not only could you face the suspension of your license, but there may be insurance issues as well that could affect both you and your employer.
Losing your license could mean getting in trouble for tardiness
Maybe you have always been early for your shifts, and maybe you have never missed a day due to illness. Unfortunately, that could likely change after you plead guilty or wind up convicted of an impaired driving offense. The loss of your license can make it difficult to get to your job.
Unless you can walk to work, you will have to find alternate forms of transportation. Whether you use a ride-hailing app like Uber, public transportation or rides provided by friends and family, consistently getting to work on time when you don’t have control over the vehicle can prove difficult. What’s more, you may end up missing work for court or any period of incarceration you must serve.
Clearly, with so many potential detrimental consequences, it is in your best interest to avoid a criminal conviction rather than to find a way to mitigate its consequences after the fact. Exploring your options for a defense can help protect your career and financial stability after an impaired-driving arrest.