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How a CA DUI Affects Teachers' Credentials

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 the Commission.

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.

In a free case evaluation , our Orange County DUI attorney can answer your pressing questions.