Teaching in California can be a stressful job. Teachers often get a lot of complaints about problems with education without a lot of appreciation for doing a great job with limited resources. As a way to unwind, a teacher may want to go out for a glass of wine or have fun at a friend's party on the weekend. Drinking a little too much can lead to a drunk driving arrest.
Even if the DUI had nothing to do with the teacher's work performance, a drunk driving conviction can impact their job. Teachers are required to disclose criminal convictions or investigations. A teacher could lose their job, have their credential suspended, or face sanctions by the California teaching commission.
Sanctions can be imposed on top of the already harsh penalties, like jail times, license suspension, and DUI school. The best way to protect your future teaching opportunities after an unfortunate arrest is to find the right California DUI lawyer to challenge the charges and avoid a criminal conviction.
California Commission on Teacher Credentialing DUI Reporting Requirements
Teachers who are applying for a teaching credential in California have to complete a professional fitness disclosure. There are questions about professional and personal fitness, including questions about criminal actions:
- Have you ever been convicted of any felony or misdemeanor in California or any other place?
- Are you currently the subject of any criminal inquiry or investigation by a law enforcement agency or any licensing agency in California or any other state?
- Are any criminal charges currently pending against you?
If you were convicted of a DUI in California, you have to disclose that conviction. If you were arrested for a DUI and charges are still pending or there is a criminal investigation, you have to disclose the criminal action.
If you were convicted of a misdemeanor DUI, you must provide a copy of the investigation report and a certified copy of the court docket regarding the incident. The disclosure also requires describing the incident leading to the arrest in detail. If there is a criminal investigation or there are charges pending, you have to provide an explanation of the event and status of the investigation.
What Happens If I Don't Disclose the DUI Conviction?
Failure to disclose a reportable offense can be worse than reporting a DUI. Failure to disclose the required information is considered a “falsification of the application.” According to the CTC, falsifying the application could lead to denial of the application, adverse actions, and criminal prosecution.
If you do not disclose the conviction, the CTC can still find out about the criminal charges through criminal misconduct reports. The CTC requires fingerprinting for every credential application. The fingerprints are compared to law enforcement records to do a background check of prior criminal charges.
Do I Have to Report an Old DUI?
The CTC does not put a time restriction on reporting requirements. Even if you got a DUI 20 years ago, it should still be reported for a California teaching credential application. However, an old DUI may have less weight than a more recent DUI when the CTC evaluates the criminal charges. If there have been no other criminal actions or indications of substance abuse, an old DUI may not have an impact on your credential.
Factors in Considering a DUI Conviction for Credential Applications
Under Title 5, California Code of Regulations, Section 80302, there are eight factors the CTC may consider when evaluating a past DUI conviction, including:
- Likelihood and degree that the conduct may have adversely affected students, teachers, or the educational community
- The proximity or remoteness in time of the conduct.
- Type of credential held or applied fo
- Any extenuating or aggravating circumstances
- Praiseworthiness or blameworthiness of the motives resulting in the conduct.
- Likelihood of recurrence
- Extent to which disciplinary action may inflict an adverse impact
- Publicity or notoriety given to the conduct
The committee can also consider compliance with court sanctions and evidence of rehabilitation. Rehabilitation efforts can be documented by the applicant to talk about changes made to prevent future drunk driving problems. Letters from counselors, probation officers, or parole officers can also be submitted in support of your application. A drug or alcohol recovery program or counselor can provide supporting documentation of current sobriety and history of alcohol or drug use.
Types of Consequences for a Teacher After a DUI
A DUI does not have to mean the end of your teaching career, especially for a first-time offense. There are several ways the CTC can discipline a teacher, including:
- No disciplinary action
- Written warning
- Temporary leave or suspension
- Require substance abuse treatment
- Terminate employment
- Loss of teaching credential
A warning can involve a public reproval or private admonition. Generally, it provides a warning that any repeated such actions may result in denial, suspension, or revocation of their teaching credential.
DUI Help for East Bay Teachers
East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 38 years of DUI experience and understands the consequences involved for professional teaching credentials after a DUI arrest. Representing educational professionals in Contra Costa and Alameda County, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the local DUI laws, and the local officers and prosecutors involved. Contact East Bay DUI lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.