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Can I get unemployment if I was fired for getting a DUI?

Updated : December 9th, 2022

Fired for DUI

“Can I get unemployment if I got fired for getting arrested for a DUI?”

Posted by Luci (Pompano Beach, FL)

I have not been convicted of the DUI. But I missed 10 days of work because I could not get out of jail. My work was called immediately to let them know. When I got out they told me they could no longer keep me. I’m not sure if I was fired or laid off.

Hi Luci,

You were fired. And probably not directly because you were in jail for a DUI. Since you have not yet been convicted yet, it may be safe to assume you were fired for violation of the employer’s attendance policy.

The reason for termination should in fact be for something considered, misconduct connected with the work.

Now, although Florida does not have an adjudication manual available, or a special provision in law for those who admit to a compulsion to drink, I can tell you what I think your problem with benefits will be.

Attending work when scheduled and on time is an employee’s responsibility. This includes following the call-off procedure and the possibility you are already laboring under a formal written warning for attendance if you did manage to call into work. However, if you no called/no showed for two days or more, that is more likely something that should be adjudicated as a voluntary quit by job abandonment.

But let’s lay this aside for a moment to understand why in states such as California, or Colorado the special provision might work.

A person that becomes too sick to work suddenly and winds up in the hospital can also be fired merely because most work in America is of the at-will variety. However, for purposes of UI, there is a big question mark as to whether the discharge is for work related misconduct, mostly because the circumstances and the illness are beyond the employee’s control.

In California and Colorado, admitting that one has a compulsion to drink, is admitting to the illness of alcoholism and completion of a 12 step program is like seeking treatment, which can be good cause for the UI dept. to lift a disqualification of benefits.

Florida has no such loophole in UI law for alcoholics – functioning employees or not.

However, you raise a valid point about not being convicted .. yet. Now, as I said, Florida doesn’t explain or mention your situation specifically in their statutes, but in other states, an unemployment hearing can be postponed until the charge is resolved, therefore, a
not guilty may show the incarceration and by virtue, the job loss, was in fact beyond your control.

Understand? I think it is dependent on whether you were rightfully or wrongfully incarcerated for a DUI and whether you are managed to come out of that unscathed.


Comments for Can I get unemployment if I got fired for getting arrested for a DUI?

by: Anonymous

Worked for a bar for 10 years where we tasted new alcohol favors on the job and drank after hours, and when I got a DUI (not going to or from work) I get fired for misconduct. The bar won their appeal for my misconduct and I will have pay back the unemployment money I received. Do you think I could win on appeal?


What State do you live in?

What did the hearing decision say?

What was the employer argument for work related misconduct?

Did they have a rule?

Since you aren’t required to drive for a living and the DUI was not coming to or going home from work .. I do question the decision, I’m wondering what the hearing officer’s reasoning was for denying.



by: Anonymous

My friend went to jail for failing a breath test at his monthly probation visit for DUI . He was initially denied unemployment by his employer but won his appeal as he had no control over going to jail. I was shocked but he collected for a year and then moved to another state.

Always appeal and fight for what is right. A lot of employers will lie and deny benefits so they don’t have to pay extra $ out of pocket. Sucks but that’s our system. The people that fired you have a right to lie and deny you. Fight, fight, fight. Good luck

Which state was this? I suspect it has to be one of those states that will usually non-charge an employer and considers alcoholism a medical condition that he had no control over. He undoubtedly should have had control over not going to jail in the first place, considering he was on probation.

Can an employer fire you for not providing an arrest report?

by: Anonymous

Can a person be fired for not providing a case report of an arrest within a certain amount of time, and what if case was dropped and no case report can be obtained?


In case it doesn’t come through loud and clear already, an employer can fire you for having a hang nail.

That is “at will employment”.

However, it seems to me that if an employer fired a person for “not providing a case report within a certain amount of time .. I’d be looking at the employers rules and procedures to support the discharge was for insubordination ..

I think the request is a reasonable directive from the employer. After all, employees act as agents of the employer, but your failure to provide the report is the cause for termination as it is an act of insubordination if it was within your power to do so and whatever happened caused you to miss work.

But, I did hear what you told me.

and what if case was dropped and no case report can be obtained?

Really? Charges were dropped and you can’t obtain a police case report to save your job?

What police department was that? I think they need lessons in documenting, as I don’t think police reports are supposed to be destroyed.

I also don’t know what “a certain amount of time” is, or if it was reasonable.

  1. I worked 100% remotely for a company in Pennsylvania, but reside and pay taxes in Mass. HR is telling me I must file unemployment in Penn not Mass. Is that correct? I pay Mass taxes. Mass pays max $1015 vs Penn which pays max $572 which is a HUGE difference.
    Where do I file unemployment?

    • Hi, there – you typically file for unemployment in the state in which unemployment taxes have been deposited on your behalf. One thing you can do is take a look at your last pay stub and it will tell you the state where unemployment was paid. That is the state in which you should apply for unemployment benefits.

  2. My family was living in hotels and out car for a long time. As soon as we git the benefits we were in the process of finalizing paperwork for move in we went to find that all the benefits paid onto my and my finances banknof america card was gone. A total of approximately 10k taken on July 11, 2020. We have yet to receive updates or our money back. The horror story and back and forth customer service not even for for a dog could sum enough pages to write a book. Vehicle repossession and thousands of hours on the phone and email correspondence to no avail. Blame game was shifted between the UI office and B of A so much it Kade my head spin. And here we are 2 5 years later to never have received the money back or wven a reasonable and accountable explanation if facts, discoveries if anything to justify their taking our money. They treat you like you have no right to the information. There is no transparency or accountability it’s an outright unjustice, criminal acts on their part To make matters worse the UI had the bad taste to include the funds that were seized on our 1099s so that we were taxed for some if it and reported as overpayments they never even adjusted their books. How does this happen in America this day and age?

    • Hi, Linda – you should report identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online at or by phone at 1-877-438-4338. The FTC will collect the details of your situation. You may also need to file a local police report. In addition, you should reach out to the unemployment authority for your state and report unemployment insurance fraud. Any information you can share will be helpful to authorities.

  3. Press 2 to speak to spanish rep
    Social security
    You should get hold music after this. Don’t hang up.
    I tried this and got an english speaking rep after 5 minutes on hold

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