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Can You Be Fired for Your DWI in Texas?

By Jose Ceja
Managing Attorney

Being convicted of a DWI is never a good thing. It can negatively impact so many aspects of your life. Under Section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code, an individual who has been convicted of a DWI can face numerous consequences such as up to 180 days in jail, up to a $2,000 fine, and up to a one-year suspension of their driver’s license just to name a few. But can a DWI in Texas get you fired from your job?

As with most states, Texas is considered an “employment-at-will” state, which means that an employer can fire an employee for any cause at all, and similarly, an employee can quit at any time they desire for any cause or no cause at all – unless of course there was a pre-existing agreement as to when or how the employee could quit his or her job.

No Termination Based on Discrimination

It’s important to distinguish the fact that “for any cause” does not include termination based upon discrimination as laid out by state and federal laws. Therefore an employer does not have the legal right to terminate someone’s employment based upon several protected classes: 

  • Race
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Religious affiliation
  • Nation of Origin
  • Ethnicity
  • Pregnancy

But are employees with criminal convictions protected from termination? Put simply: yes. Employees in Texas can be fired for criminal convictions since criminal history is not considered a protected class of people. Even if you were not found guilty of your DWI charge, your employer can still decide to fire you for it and absent an agreement otherwise, there is nothing that you can do about it.

Your Employment Depends Upon Your Employer

This is not to say that a criminal conviction, such as that for a DWI, will undoubtedly result in the termination of your employment. Ultimately it depends upon your specific job, your specific employer, and how it feels about the situation. However, certain industries are likelier to have a lower tolerance for criminal convictions – or even charges – than others. For example, those who work in education, real estate, health care, or child care are more likely to be face termination than some other industries such as construction, manufacturing, retail, and the restaurant industry, since you may not always work with the public. 

Regardless of which industry you work in, if you are convicted of a DWI – or another crime – and face time in jail, the real concern is whether or not your job will be available for you when you get out. If it’s not, you may just face difficulty finding future employment. 

The Attorneys at Ceja Law Firm Help Those in Houston Who Have Been Charged with a DWI

As explained, if you have been charged with a crime in Texas it is important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney who can walk you through each step of the process.

At Ceja Law Firm PLLC, we understand the repercussions that a criminal conviction can have on your life. That’s why we will work to help you obtain the best possible outcome. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

About the Author
Jose Ceja is the managing attorney of Ceja Law Firm. He has practiced law since 2007 and has devoted his career to the practice of criminal law. Mr. Ceja began his legal career as a felony drug prosecutor, where he prosecuted drug, gang, and violent offenses. Mr. Ceja has first or second chaired almost 100 trials, including murders, drug cases, DWIs, and assaults. In his career as a defense attorney, he has regularly obtained dismissals, not guilty verdicts, and grand jury “no bills” in a wide variety of cases.
Posted in DWI