If you’re a California teacher and you were recently arrested for
DUI in Orange County, you’re likely wondering if, and how much a
DUI conviction will affect your teaching career. This curiosity is well-founded
since you happen to work in one of the occupations that frown upon DUIs.
In some cases a DUI conviction won’t ruin your career, but in other
cases it certainly can have a detrimental impact on a hard-earned reputation, and your
employability as a teacher.
In December of 2010, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (Commission)
examined data showing five-year trends. The data revealed that the largest
single case type among teachers was alcohol-related offenses.
According to the data collected between 2010 and 2011,
first-time DUI offenses made up 28.61% of criminal cases among teachers. In effect, the
Commission is certainly aware of the DUI trend among teachers and has
systems in place to address such offenses.
What the Law Says About Teachers & DUI
Under Education Code Section 44421, the Commission “shall privately
admonish, publicly reprove, revoke or suspend for immoral or unprofessional
conduct, or persistent defiance of, and refusal to obey, the laws regulating
duties of persons serving in the public school system, or for any cause
that would have warranted the denial of an application for a credential
or the renewal thereof, or for evident unfitness for service.”
Read our next section to learn how the above paragraph is interpreted by
Taking Disciplinary Action
The Commission will look into a criminal conviction for
DUI, however, it must also review the circumstances surrounding the conviction
before taking any disciplinary action. The Commission must examine the
facts and decide whether a teacher’s misconduct has any relationship
to their abilities to perform their duties under their credential.
If a teacher is convicted of a criminal offense, the Commission has the
authority to take adverse action against a teacher, however, the following
factors will be weighed:
- Likelihood the DUI may have adversely affected the students, fellow teachers,
or the community.
- How long ago the offense happened.
- Any aggravating circumstances surrounding the offense.
- Publicity given to the teacher’s conduct.
A single alcohol-related offense does not always give rise to an adverse
action by the Commission providing there is no publicity, and no children
or school property were involved.
Generally, the policy of the Commission is that if a teacher has a single
alcohol-related offense with no aggravating factors, it is handled as
a local issue.
If you’re a teacher who was arrested for DUI in Orange County, and
you’re concerned about your DUI affecting your job or career, we
urge you to contact the
Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. right away for help from a
board-certified DUI defense specialist.
free case evaluation
, our Orange County DUI attorney can answer your pressing questions.