Having a driving under the influence conviction on your record does not have to prevent you from pursuing your dreams. Although it can be difficult, you can still become a certified teacher with a DUI conviction as part of your history. However, you may need to engage in specific activities to make sure that you demonstrate to a licensing board that you will not repeat the same conduct in the future.
Retaining a DUI attorney is a good thing to do if you are trying to have your criminal history expunged. You may have been arrested for driving under the influence when you were in high school or college. Everyone makes mistakes during their lives, but these mistakes should not be used to assume that a person is irresponsible or incapable of being a great employee.
Being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol while you are a licensed teacher in California may affect your current job, the status of your teaching credentials, and your ability to acquire job offers in the future.
The Effects of a DUI Conviction on a Teacher in California
As a teacher in California, you must adhere to specific professional standards. But a single DUI arrest and conviction does not have to end your teaching career. The following consequences may arise after a teacher is convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol:
- Having a teacher’s license revoked
- Loss of employment
- Substance abuse counseling
- Employment suspension
- Temporary leave of absence
- Written warning
- In-patient or out-patient substance abuse treatment
The facts and circumstances of every case are unique. If you need to learn more about how a DUI conviction can affect your teaching career, you can reach out to a Los Angeles DUI attorney in California.
Providing Information Regarding Past DUI Convictions
You may have been arrested and convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol decades ago. If this is the case, you need to report the arrest and conviction on your California teaching credential application.
A DUI conviction from more than ten years ago may not adversely affect your application. However, a more recent DUI conviction may call into question your fitness for teaching in the State of California.
A single DUI conviction may not cause any problems for an applicant who does not have repeat offenses or other evidence of substance abuse. It is possible that you may be questioned regarding your history of alcohol use, and you may be asked to provide a written statement to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
Not Disclosing a Past DUI Conviction
If you do not provide information about a past DUI conviction, then you may face severe consequences. By not disclosing this past offense, you are falsifying your application. Some of the consequences of falsifying your teaching credential application include the following:
- Criminal charges
- Disciplinary actions
- Application denial
It is always best to disclose any past conduct you think may be relevant to your application. A past DUI conviction may not adversely affect your application, but if you fail to disclose the conviction, you may find it difficult to obtain a California teaching credential.
Contextualizing Your Prior DUI Conviction
It may feel embarrassing to disclose a past DUI application on your application, but you need to make sure that you explain to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing the factors that led to the arrest. You need to explain to the commission in writing that you learned from your past mistake. Also, the commission wants to be assured that you do not currently suffer from substance use disorder.
If you have any records of rehabilitation or treatment, you can submit these with your teacher credential application. Providing a context to the arrest and conviction can help you explain to the Commission how you may have been dealing with psychological distress, economic insecurity, and depression at the time of your arrest. Also, you can provide information about how you were younger and less mature when the arrest occurred.
The Criminal Penalties for a DUI Conviction
A DUI conviction also brings other penalties that may affect a teacher from performing their job duties. The following are common penalties associated with DUI convictions:
- A maximum of six months in a county jail
- Having an ignition interlock device installed in your automobile
- A 6-month suspension of driving privileges
- Monetary penalties ranging from $1,500 to $2,000
- Mandatory attendance at defensive driving school
- Three to five years of probation
It is possible that these consequences could prevent a teacher from performing their job duties. It is vital that you speak to a Los Angeles DUI attorney if you are worried about protecting your career after being convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol.
School districts and private schools conduct thorough background investigations for prospective teachers. Also, school districts and private schools may have their own policies and procedures for sanctioning teachers who are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Teaching Career After a DUI Conviction
If you are worried about how a DUI conviction will affect your future teaching career, then you need to take steps toward mitigating the negative effects the DUI conviction will have on your professional life.
First, if you think you have a substance use disorder, it is important to enter treatment for your substance use disorder voluntarily. Meeting with a psychiatrist, a counselor, and a general practitioner on a regular basis can help you establish a record of your medical treatment. These records can help you demonstrate that you are being proactive about your mental and physical health.
Second, attend recovery meetings regularly to help establish a record of your treatment. If you do not have a substance use disorder, you can meet with a mental health counselor to help you determine what may have caused your DUI arrest. By seeking help to determine how to prevent this problem from occurring in the future, you can demonstrate to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing that you are doing everything within your power to prevent any future arrests.