Can I Get Fired for DUI in Colorado?


Depending on the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of their first DUI arrest, the driver can face up to $1,000 in fines, up to one year in jail, and a 9-month driver license suspension. Clearly, a driver license suspension and jail time can threaten a person’s job, but what about the DUI itself, can someone be fired in Colorado just because they are arrested or convicted of DUI?

The short answer is “yes,” almost anyone can lose their job for DUI, even if they avoid an extended period of time in jail. The reason – Colorado, like most states, is an employment-at-will state. What does that mean?

Colorado is an Employment-at-Will State

According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, "Colorado follows the legal doctrine of “employment-at-will” which provides that in the absence of a contract to the contrary, neither an employer nor an employee is required to give notice or advance notice of termination or resignation.”

While Colorado is an employment-at-will state, employers cannot fire employees for discriminatory reasons. Meaning, an employee can’t be discharged because of their race, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, national origin, and so on.

But a DUI...employers maintain the right to fire employees for DUI, even if it doesn’t affect employment. If the employer simply frowns upon DUIs, it’s reason enough to fire the employee without any legal consequences for the employer. The only exception is if the employee is in a written contract; in that case they cannot be fired for DUI.

Will You Be Fired?

Will a DUI impact your job? It depends on the facts of your individual case. How will your employer handle the DUI arrest? If you are sentenced to jail or prison, is your employer willing to save your job for you when you are released? Is a DUI bad for business?

Certain jobs in particular are frequently impacted by a DUI, such as those in teaching, childcare, commercial driving, real estate sales, politics, and healthcare. So, if you work in any of those industries, you may have something to be worried about.

Related: First DUI Penalties in Colorado

If you’re facing DUI charges in the Greater Denver Area, I urge you to contact my firm to explore your legal defenses!