Can a Person Teach in Texas If Convicted of DUI? A Look at State Laws
Both on-duty teachers and those aspiring to become educators must go through admissions processes that involve background checks, certifications, and more.
However, many still have questions about what would happen if they are convicted of driving under the influence or had related charges on their records.
Can educators teach in Texas if they are convicted of DUI/DWI, or should they consider a career change? Here's the answer, according to state law.
Can Someone Become a Teacher If They Have Been Convicted of DUI?
Texas law says DUI or "driving under the influence" occurs when a person under 21 operates a motorized vehicle after consuming any detectable amount of alcohol.
Based on that, it will probably take a few years for an individual convicted of DUI to try to become a teacher. However, in these cases, applicants still have to worry about school district policies and certification requirements.
After applying for a teaching position, candidates will likely be required to complete a background check.
Depending on whether it was in the past few years or there were other related charges, having a DUI conviction at this stage can become an issue.
Teachers work closely with children, and their labor has a great impact on society. Therefore, most schools expect those who aspire to become educators to be role models for their students, and a DUI conviction can affect that.
Also, some employers are stricter than others when it comes to hiring someone with a DUI conviction on their records. School districts, for example, are unlikely to allow someone involved in a drunken driving case to become a teacher.
However, some are more lenient, including those who do not require professional licenses or seek teaching staff for adults.
Can a Teacher Be Fired If Convicted of DUI?
The Texas State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) requires teachers to report their criminal history and new arrests or convictions for any criminal offense. However, it does not mean the process must result in an immediate penalty.
According to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), a school or educational institution must take disciplinary action against a teacher when they commit two or more offenses within a 12-month period.
The rule applies to offenses involving public intoxication, operating cars or other motorized vehicles under the influence of alcohol, or disorderly conduct.
Even though the TEA grants formal protection from punishment in these cases, a teacher can still be fired if convicted of a misdemeanor for driving under the influence or while intoxicated (DWI). However, it depends on the school's policies.
That's why it is essential to know how the school district handles cases of teachers with DUI or DWI.
In other words, a person can technically be a teacher in Texas if they have a misdemeanor, but the chances of being fired from their positions are high.
What Happens to the Teaching License after a DUI Conviction?
Under Texas law, adults caught driving while intoxicated or impaired (DWI), meaning they have .08 blood alcohol content or higher and are over 21, are punishable under the Penal Code.
In these cases, the offenses are considered serious. Therefore, a teacher facing a DWI conviction could not only be fired but also lose their license, especially if the crime occurred during their employment.
People who do not report their criminal history to the SBEC could also lose their license.
Since reporting past and new offenses is mandatory for educators, the SBEC could impose restrictions, suspend or revoke a teacher's license and add formal notes to their record.
Sparks Law Firm Can Help Teachers Convicted of DUI Keep Their Position
Most people can become teachers or keep their jobs even if they have a DUI/DWI on their records. However, they need help from a Tarrant County TX DUI attorney to build a solid defense and fight the charges they face. They can talk to you regarding a DUI conviction and answer your questions ranging from whether a flight attendant can have a DUI to how long after a DUI do you need an SR-22 in Texas?
Sparks Law Firm's attorneys know that a DUI or DWI conviction can affect teachers' personal and professional lives. Therefore, the legal team will go to great lengths to help them keep their criminal record free of driving incidents or even expunge old charges.
Any educator or aspiring teacher facing DUI/DWI conviction can contact Sparks Law Firm and get a free consultation today!