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4 ways an OWI can impact your career

You're 35 years old, and you're fairly set in your career at this point. You pride yourself on hard work. You've been getting promoted, your boss likes you, and you recently got a nice raise - which you plan to use to buy a bigger home for your family. Everything is going well, and you go out to celebrate.

Then, on the way home, you get pulled over. It turns out you had a bit too much to drink, and before you know it, you're in the back of a police car with the lights flashing. How could an OWI conviction impact that career you've worked so hard to achieve?

1. You could be fired.

Not all companies have mandatory policies that stipulate you'll be fired for an OWI, but some do. If yours does, a conviction means you're looking for a new job.

2. You can't drive.

Your license could be suspended. Now, you can't get to work without taking public transportation or having someone drop you off. In an industry in which you have to drive for work, losing your license means you're unable to even do your job. That could lead to a firing even if there's not a mandatory policy, just because you're not productive or valuable to the company.

3. You miss time on the job.

An OWI means you have to go to court. A conviction could mean you're spending time behind bars. You could be sent to alcohol-treatment classes or rehab. All of these things mean you're not on the job. If you're an hourly worker, you're directly losing wages. You're also losing prestige at the company, having to explain to everyone why you're gone, and perhaps losing your job because missed time is lost production.

4. You can't get another job.

If you do end up losing your job, you may think you'll just go out and get another one. You're a good worker. You have connections, experience and an education. While that's all good, your next prospective employer may run a background check and see the OWI. Even if that doesn't bar you from the job via company policy, they could pick someone else with the same qualifications - but without the conviction. It can follow you around like this for years.

As you can see, a simple OWI could destroy the career you've been working at for more than a decade. It could derail your plans to buy that new home, cost you your recent raise, and throw your life into chaos. You must know your legal defense options, especially when you want to fight the charges, prevent a conviction, and protect your career. 

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