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7 Ways an OWI Can Affect Your Career in the State of Wisconsin

Posted on in Professional Licensing Defense

kosar-DUIBy Attorney, Steven McGaver

It is safe to say that an OWI conviction in Wisconsin can have a lasting impact on your life. For some it is the catalyst to reexamine lifestyle habits, while others consider it only a minor misstep in their youth. One thing that is often not an immediate concern for an individual who chooses to get behind the wheel after consuming and intoxicant is the impact an OWI conviction might have on their current or future employment status. However, this recent news story offers an important lesson about the lasting consequences an OWI conviction could have on your career. With that in mind, here are 7 ways an OWI arrest or conviction in the State of Wisconsin could have a detrimental effect on your current and future career path.

  1. Lack of transportation - Quite often one penalty an individual convicted of an OWI offense incurs is the revocation of their driver's license. If you live in an urban area with public transportation available, this revocation may not have a significant impact. However, if you need a vehicle to get to and from work, or are required to travel to conduct business this penalty could greatly hamper the ability to perform your employment duties (especially if you don't qualify for an occupational driver's license).
  2. Employment applications - While potential employers in Wisconsin cannot ask about your arrest or conviction record, this is not always the case if you apply for a job outside of the state. Additionally, according to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, potential employers can ask about any "pending" charges or convictions (those charges cannot be held against an applicant unless they are directly related to the job for which they are applying) or convictions that are substantially related to the field of employment. An OWI conviction will also appear in a routine employment background check, which is often conducted by businesses before a new hire.
  3. Contractual requirements - For many employers, an OWI arrest or conviction is a red flag for other potential employment issues. With that in mind many business include a code of conduct within their employment handbook or employee contractual agreements. If the handbook (or employment contract) lists criminal ( or OWI) convictions as grounds for dismissal, you may soon find yourself unemployed.
  4. Insurance issues - If you are required to drive as part of you employment (truck driver, chauffer, etc.), you will also be required to have current insurance coverage. Many insurance companies will not insure individuals who have an OWI conviction (or will require them to purchase substantially more expensive high-risk insurance). Furthermore, if insurance coverage is provided by your employer, they could be put in the position of losing their corporate insurance coverage (or face increased insurance rates) because you are on their plan.
  5. Professional licensure loss - A profession that requires you to hold a license (hair dresser, physician, teacher, etc), might also required you report any recent arrests or previous convictions on a license application. Depending upon your occupation, you could also lose your license and potentially your job if you are convicted of an OWI.
  6. Time off work - Court appearances that are a result of an OWI arrest will likely take place during regular business hours. In addition, if convicted, you may be required to undergo substance abuse counseling or seek other professional services as a part of your restitution. This time away from work could be held against you, especially if you had a high absentee rate before your arrest.
  7. CDL revocation - If you require a commercial driver's license as part of your occupation, a first offense OWI conviction will result in the loss of your CDL for a period of one year. If you are convicted of a second OWI offense your license will be permanently revoked.

Our best advice, as always is to have a designated driver if you choose to drink. However, if you find yourself facing a potential OWI conviction, we recommend contact ing an attorney who is qualified to handle the intricacies of this type of litigation.

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