What Do I need to Tell My Boss If I Get Arrested?

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy F. Rosenthal

(972) 369-0577


I’m asked a lot about what someone should tell their boss after they have been arrested.  It’s a great question — even though it’s not squarely what I deal with as a criminal lawyer.

Unfortunately there’s no quick answer and because no two work-places are alike and because no two arrests are alike.  These situations have to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Texas is an “at-will” state which means that in most cases an employer can terminate you for a good reason, for a bad reason, or for no reason at all.  I point this out to underscore how powerless most people are to begin with when it comes to their jobs in the first place.  So it’s possible that you can do everything right and still be shown the door.  But experience tells me that most employers aren’t in a big hurry to get rid of good help.

Some jobs may require disclosure and some jobs may not.  A good place to start is always your employee handbook or employee manual if you have one.  Be sure you understand your company’s policy.

Also if you have a license such as a medical license, nursing license, or commercial driver’s license (as examples), you may also want to make sure you know the rules for reporting arrests that the state may require.  Even though your employer may not care, a professional licensing agency certainly may!

You should understand the precise terminology that your company may be asking for as well as understand the precise status of your situation — whether it be arrest, indictment, pre-trial, or whatever the case may be.

It is my experience that most employers are fairly respectful of the judicial process and don’t require you to confess to keep your job.  Usually they just want to keep their finger on the pulse of your case and aren’t interested in the details until your case is over, and sometimes they may not have much of an interest at all.

Obviously if your arrest is related to your workplace then it’s a completely different ballgame.  In any event, if you have any questions about these issues you should consult an attorney that can help you in complying with your workplace policies.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice about any specific matter you should directly consult an attorney.

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