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

Updated : September 23rd, 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.

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