Q & A Session – Off-Duty Conduct and Discipline


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


I am an 1811 and was arrested off duty for a DWI in my personal vehicle. I was wondering what to expect as far as my job goes. I have never been in trouble at work and have no criminal record other than this occurrence. I have been told different things, like my job is safe, etc. I know it has happened before in my office and they did nothing to the individual. I guess my question is what to expect and do they have to be uniform across the board when disciplining for similar offenses.


Agencies are supposed to consider how other employees were treated in deciding how and whether to discipline you. It is not a requirement, just a consideration. A DWI for a law enforcement official can be a problem, and most likely will be reviewed in the context of a security clearance, if one is required for your job. A simple DWI unaccompanied by other indications of alcohol and drugs or other aggravating factors will most likely not result in the loss of a job or a security clearance.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

Disclaimer: Ask a Lawyer publishes information on this website for informational purposes only. Information on this website is intended – but not promised, guaranteed, or warranted – to reflect correct, complete and current developments. In addition, the contents of the website do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the attorney. Information from this website is not intended to be used as a substitute for specific legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. You should not act, or refrain from acting, based on information on this website without seeking specific legal advice about your particular circumstances. No attorney-client relationship between you and Ask a Lawyer’s author is created by the transmission of information to or from this site.


About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.

Leave A Reply