Michael C. Hennenberg

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Do you have to tell your employer about an off-duty OVI?

You work as a truck driver, something you have done for the past 20 years. It's the only thing you have ever done for a career, and you love it. You are also well aware that it's the only thing you have the training and experience to do. Without it, you would likely be unemployed, and you're too far into your career to go to school and start all over on a new path.

As such, you are always very careful. You never drink and drive in your rig. You won't even have a beer with dinner if you know that you are going out on the road. It's just not worth it. If you do drink with friends the night before a job, you make sure that you stop in time to be 100 percent sober before pulling your truck back onto the interstate.

Unfortunately, you are not quite as careful when you're off duty. One day, while driving home from dinner, you get pulled over and fail a breath test. You're just barely over the legal limit, and you instantly regret that last glass of wine. You thought you felt fine to drive, but you still get arrested for exceeding the limit.

The impact

The problem here is that you have a commercial license. This is your job. Do you now have to tell your employer? Or can you keep it to yourself? After all, you were not working when you got pulled over, so it seems like it may just be your personal business.

Due to the nature of your work, it's not. If you get convicted, you then have 30 days to contact your employer and tell them about the event. You will lose your license. As long as you do not have it, your employer cannot legally give you work until you get it back.

Derailing your career

If you wind up losing a commercial license, you may not get it back as fast as a personal license, which massively cuts into your earnings. However, no matter what type of OVI suspension you get -- maybe you got pulled over before you even started your career, for instance, on a personal license -- remember that it goes on your record.

This can completely derail everything you have worked for and it can essentially end your career. While you can technically look for a job again after you get your license back, you will find that many employers have plenty of candidates and do not want to hire drivers with such records.

Your rights

You can't overstate these ramifications. It's serious. Make sure you know all of the legal OVI defense options you have as soon as you get arrested.

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Cleveland, OH 44124

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