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.

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