Los Angeles DUI and Teachers
For professionals who must maintain state licenses and undergo background checks, a conviction for a DUI offense may carry disastrous consequences and could lead to loss of credentials. For those involved in the teaching profession, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (“CTC”) requires that any conviction for DUI be reported. Under the California Education Code, the CTC is charged with evaluating and imposing discipline in response to incidents of educator misconduct.
A teacher is required to report any conviction whenever he or she renews or applies for a teaching credential. The CTC will be made aware of any arrest when the arrestee’s fingerprints are entered into the state LiveScan database.
Anytime an educator self-reports a DUI conviction, the CTC will review the circumstances to see whether or not there is a connection between the criminal conviction and the educator’s job function. For most first-time DUI convictions, no correlation will be found. However if the educator’s BAC was unusually high (.15 or higher) or if there was a collision involved, the CTC may ultimately take action. This would also be the case if the educator was arrested for a DUI incident during school hours or at a school function or was driving a school vehicle at the time. In these cases, the CTC may take decisive action against the educator’s teaching credentials.
For teachers who are convicted of second or subsequent DUI offenses, the CTC can revoke or suspend teaching credentials or deny a prospective teacher’s application. Multiple DUI offenses can be used to show that the educator is addicted to alcohol which would provide grounds for discipline. This may include revocation of teaching credentials.
Even if a teacher’s previous DUI conviction has been expunged via a California Penal Code Section 1203.4 PC motion, the prior conviction can still be considered by the CTC when determining whether or not to discipline an educator. However, the CTC may view a successful 1203.4 motion as evidence of an educator’s reform and consider this to be a mitigating factor. In addition, the CTC will review the severity (or lack thereof) of the offense, the relation of the offense to teaching, whether or not this has been a recurring problem, whether the teacher has complied with court orders and whether or not the teacher has taken steps towards rehabilitation. It is the educator’s burden to show evidence of rehabilitation. Actions such as completion of community service or other volunteer work may be viewed favorably by the CTC.
A DUI conviction would become part of a teacher’s criminal record and would be visible to any current or future employers conducting criminal background searches. Teaching candidates with DUI convictions may have difficulty in securing positions for which they are otherwise qualified.
In addition to potential consequences against an educator’s teaching credentials, a DUI incident can carry criminal penalties imposed by the court and administrative penalties assessed by the Department of Motor Vehicles. If convicted criminally, the defendant could be placed on probation for a period of three to five years. As conditions of probation, someone convicted of driving under the influence may be sentenced to jail, a mandatory alcohol education class, community service or community labor, expensive court fines and any other conditions of probation that a judge chooses to impose. If the defendant was involved in a collision, he or she would be responsible for repaying the victim for any damages incurred.
In addition, the driver arrested for driving under the influence would be subject to a minimum four-month driver’s license suspension on a first-time offense. The driver would be eligible for a restricted license after a 30 day hard suspension unless the driver refused to submit to chemical testing. If there was a refusal, the driver would lose his or her license for a year and would be unable to obtain a restricted license during this period.
If you or someone you know are a teacher or are applying for teaching credentials, it is crucial that you speak with a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer immediately. Los Angeles DUI Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who works hard on behalf of his professional clients and can often help them avoid professional consequences.
For more information about Los Angeles DUI and teachers, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.