Receiving a DWI charge can be an incredibly stressful time, both for first-time and repeat offenders as it carries with it severe legal ramifications. Receiving a DWI while driving a company car is simply rife with consequences on multiple fronts.
Let’s begin with company consequences.
In a DWI/DUI situation involving a company car, the company in question retains the right to determine their own series of consequences or courses of action for the employee. Generally, company policy regarding this scenario can usually be found in the employee handbook or employment agreement, and it will have been signed by the employee before he/she began driving their company car.
As an employer, it is important to work with both a business lawyer as well as a DWI or DUI attorney, in order to establish the proper code of conduct and to ensure that such codes are properly drafted into the employee contract. Also, you want to be absolutely sure that you are within your rights to take whatever action you deem fit against an employee charged with a DUI/DWI, and that such action is in the best interest of your business, irrespective of whether that business is an LLC, partnership or a corporation.
It is important for your employees who are driving company cars to understand their rights in the event of a DWI or DUI, as well as your rights as their employer, to apply consequences in a way you deem appropriate. If an employee gets a DWI/DUI charge while driving a company car, there are a few actions the company can take. The most obvious, of course, is an immediate termination of employment. Beyond termination, employers can change the scope of their worker’s job description, as well as suspend their right to drive a company vehicle for a certain amount of time. If you go with the latter option, it is important to have a prearranged system in place; the first DWI results in a suspension, the second DWI results in termination.
Beyond company consequences, there are certain unavoidable legal consequences to a DWI. The specifics will depend on where the DWI occurs as each state has varied laws surrounding impaired driving. It is likely you may have your license suspended for a period of time. The amount of time you must remain stripped of a license will depend upon how many DWI convictions you have or the severity of the charge. The first conviction might result in a thirty-day long suspension, the second, a six-month-long suspension, and so on, until your license is revoked indefinitely.
Jail time is also not impossible, and this will depend on how many prior convictions you may have had. Again, state or city law will vary for your specific legal consequences; some states might be entirely more severe with a first-time offender than other states.
The type of license the convicted employee has also plays a factor in the legal consequences.
The two types of licenses being referred to here are a personal license VS a CDL. A CDL is a Commercial Driver’s License and requires Federal training and testing. The Department of Transportation regulates CDLs. A CDL will be used by people driving large trucks, such as buses, tow-trucks, and semis.
If a driver receives a DWI while on a CDL, he/she will face Federal consequences, as well as those of the state and their company. Federal law mandates that a person driving on a CDL that receives a DWI will lose his/her license for a minimum of one year for their first offense. A second offense will strip their CDL permanently.
Impaired driving will always have its consequences, regardless of where you work. Driving a vehicle when your reactions are dimmed by some substance or medication is highly dangerous and potentially lethal, often resulting in horrific, mortal accidents.
A DWI has the potential to change the course of your career. If you hold a CDL and you receive a DWI, you might lose your license, forcing you to find a different career path, as it will be almost impossible to find another job in the same industry. Unless, of course, you lie on your application, which, again, will have consequences on your future job prospects, even in a different industry. Even if you are on a personal license, the risk of license suspension or loss, as well as termination, are very real possibilities that can affect your ability to earn an income.
Never get in a car when you are impaired, however much you might believe you can handle it; you’d rather be late than having a DWI/DUI, or worse cause an accident that results in a fatality.
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