A firefighter in Huntington, West Virginia, was suspended without pay this month after allegedly being charged with a DUI offense.
Not a first-time DUI. Not a second-time DUI. Not even a third-time DUI.
According to a media report, the DUI charge was the gentleman’s fourth.
While I could expound on my experience as a West Virginia criminal defense lawyer who handles a high volume of DUI cases – both first offense and those charged with subsequent DUI offenses. I could tell you how serious a third or fourth DUI offense is in West Virginia, and how it’s a felony and how, if you are convicted you could serve jail time.
State jail time.
Instead, I want to discuss another part of this story – one that involves disclosure.
Say you work in retail or in food service or as a customer service representative and you get popped for a DUI. Do you tell your employer? My advice? I wouldn’t – because you don’t have to, and because it shouldn’t affect your ability to perform your job (other than, perhaps, getting to and from work or having to take some time off to attend court hearings).
In this case, the fireman in question allegedly had his license revoked twice in 2013, while he was an active member of the department. And, according to the news report, he did not disclose that to city officials.
And here’s why: He may have had to drive, park or otherwise be in control of super expensive equipment (some aerial fire trucks, for example, can easily cost more than $1 million) – and there could be very serious insurance consequences for the department.
The moral of this story (other than the overriding, “Don’t drink and drive” lesson) is to consult with a criminal defense lawyer who regularly handles DUI cases before you make the decision to disclose or not to disclose.
And just as a hint: If your job involves a company car, a CDL or regular driving – the stakes are that much higher, and you should consult that criminal defense lawyer all the sooner.