Microsoft employees in Washington who are arrested for a DUI can lose their driver's license, have to pay heavy fines, and possibly lose their job. A drunk driving conviction can be considered a liability for workers with special clearances and access to closely guarded intellectual property. If you are a Microsoft employee arrested for a DUI, contact an experienced Redmond DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible.
What are the consequences of a DUI for Microsoft Employees?
The Microsoft Redmond campus is the company's official headquarters. There are more than 30,000 employees working on the Microsoft campus, with more to join after the coming expansion. Just like anyone else, employees like to go out with friends and have a few drinks. Unfortunately, some of these people have one too many and end up under arrest on charges of drunk driving.
Anyone convicted of a DUI in Washington State will face serious penalties. The penalties depend on the driver's alcohol level at the time, criminal record, and whether anyone was injured. Even a first-time DUI can include:
- 1-364 days in jail (Minimum of 1 day in jail)
- $1,200 - $5,000 in fines
- 90-day driver's license suspension
- SR-22 drivers license insurance for three years
- Ignition interlock device (IID) required to drive for 1 year
- Alcohol Evaluation and Treatment
- Court-supervised probation for a period of 2-5 years
- Travel to Canada prohibition.
Even before you are convicted, your driver's license will be suspended automatically after a drunk driving arrest. The Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) will administratively suspend your license for a minimum of 90 days. If you want to prevent the automatic suspension, you must request a hearing within 20 days of your arrest.
Microsoft employees could face additional restrictions because of their job or immigration status. A DUI could be considered a safety or security threat. Additionally, most Microsoft employees are considered “at-will,” meaning an employer could terminate the employee after a drunk driving conviction, or for no reason at all.
DUI After Drinking at a Work Event
Many workers in the tech industry get together for drinks with co-workers. At Microsoft, you don't even have to leave the campus to enjoy drinks with other employees. Microsoft workers can buy a beer, attend a wine tasting, or have cocktails as part of an on-campus event.
However, after drinking on campus, workers still have to find a way to get home to Bellevue or Kirkland. For many employees, their only real option is to get in the car. However, Redmond police are on the lookout for drivers getting on the 520 who might be driving while impaired. The police don't want to hear about where you were drinking, or that you only had a couple of beers. If you appear impaired, you will be arrested.
Do I have to tell my boss about my DUI?
It is generally up to you whether you want to tell your boss about a DUI. It may be none of their business or you may be embarrassed to talk about it. Your boss may also not care about your DUI or may even have a drunk driving conviction of their own. Most employees will not lose their job after a DUI.
However, some employers have a policy that requires employees to disclose a criminal arrest or conviction, including for a DUI involving drugs or alcohol. If your job does require reporting a DUI arrest, you should generally inform your employer. Some employers use post-hire monitoring background screening and may find out about your DUI even if you don't tell them.
Arrested by Police on the Microsoft Campus
In some cases, you may be stopped and arrested for a DUI while on campus. When Microsoft security guards encounter a suspected drunk driver, they usually report the incident to the police. The police may then arrive and conduct their own investigative stop.
If you are arrested for a DUI while on the Microsoft campus, it can be more harmful to your job. A DUI on company grounds may be considered a liability, as well as a danger to other employees. It is also difficult to keep an on-campus DUI secret from co-workers and supervisors.
Will a DUI affect my H1B visa status?
Many Microsoft employees are in the U.S. on a permanent or temporary work visa. This includes workers on an H1B temporary visa. In order to get a visa, applicants have to fill out paperwork, disclose any criminal history, submit to a medical exam, and go through an interview with the U.S. consular office.
After you have been given a work visa, the Department of State (DOS) can revoke your visa for a DUI arrest, even before you are convicted. When the consular office learns of your drunk driving arrest, they may decide to revoke your current visa out of a concern for public safety. This does not require a conviction or admission of guilt.
If your visa is revoked because of a DUI, you may be required to leave the country, or be required to re-apply for a new visa the next time you travel outside the country.
Will I lose my security clearance after a DUI?
As an innovative company, there are a number of projects going on at Microsoft that are subject to heavy secrecy. This includes projects involving government agencies, as well as closely guarded and valuable intellectual property. A DUI arrest could be taken as a sign of substance abuse, which could lead to the loss of your special clearance.
A single DUI with no other signs of substance abuse may not be enough to mean the loss of your job clearance. However, if there are other signs of alcohol or drug abuse, the company may be concerned that too much alcohol could lead to questionable judgment and an increased risk of disclosure due to carelessness.
Redmond DUI Defense Lawyer
There are a number of tech industry workers in Redmond and the surrounding King and Snohomish Counties, including Microsoft employees. Tech workers may face additional penalties after a DUI because of the sensitive nature of their work or because of their immigration status.
John Tymczyszyn is a third generation Washingtonian and former prosecutor who has represented thousands of clients in Redmond and the greater Seattle area. John is a criminal defense attorney who understands what a DUI can mean to those who work for the big tech companies. A drunk driving arrest can threaten your job and even your livelihood. Contact John today for a free consultation on your DUI case.