As one of the most trusted and respected members of a community, teachers make a tremendous impact on our children. Many teachers act as lifelong mentors for students that want much more out of an education than developing rote memorization skills. Because of the high standards expected from teachers, educators need to maintain a clean criminal record. School systems screen prospective teachers by conducting background checks.
If you are a teacher and a DWI or DUI appears on a background check, there is a good chance you will not get the job. Current teachers that receive a DWI or DUI conviction are looking at a potential career-ending event, depending on your employer.
Consequences of a DWI or DUI Conviction for Teachers
For some teachers, school district policy dictates that a DWI or DUI conviction results in immediate dismissal. Other contracts can contain a clause that prevents the renewal of a teacher contract because of a DWI or DUI conviction.
In some contracts seen by 5-star rated defense Attorney Adam Capetillo, a teacher’s failure to disclose the initial arrest could be grounds for termination. The decision ultimately depends on the policies mandated by school districts.
In many parts of Texas, school district policy is considered strict when it comes to disciplining a teacher for a DWI or DUI conviction. A felony DWI or DUI conviction could likely increase the chances of a teacher being dismissed.
Suspended from Job
Some school districts in Texas have opted for a more lenient form of punishment for a DWI or DUI conviction. A suspension that lasts as long as one school year requires a teacher to take time off, without receiving compensation. Suspensions that accompany DWI or DUI convictions might demand participation in an alcohol rehabilitation program or an extended period participating in a community volunteer initiative.
Losing a Teaching License or Certification
Another career downside associated with a DWI or DUI conviction is the potential loss of a teaching license or certification. Losing a license or certification will lead to a career change that can take years and thousands of dollars to complete.
Driver’s License Confiscated
At the very least, you might lose your driver’s license for an extended period. This will severely inhibit the mobility you need to attend student events, as well as participate in teaching career enhancement conferences. If you are a teacher that has been charged with a DWI or DUI, you should speak with experienced criminal defense attorney Adam Capetillo to devise a defense that will allow you to remain in the teaching profession.
What is Considered a DUI in Texas?
Any driver under the age of 21 is considered Driving Under the Influence if there is any detectable amount of alcohol in the suspect’s system. Although teachers are typically older than 21, a DUI for a teaching student who is younger than 21 can derail his or her teaching career. In Texas, for anyone 21 years of age and older, they can only be charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). To be charged with this offense, the Officer must establish one of the following:
- The suspect had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher
- The suspect did not have their normal physical faculties, OR
- The suspect did not have their normal mental faculties
Criminal Penalties for a DWI in Texas
Criminal penalties for a DWI in Texas are as follows:
- First-time offenders face up to 180 days in jail and/or a Court fine that is not more than $2,000. This increases to 365 days in jail and/or a Court fine not to exceed $4,000 if the blood alcohol concentration is proved to be 0.15 or higher. In addition, there are statutory fines that became effective September 1, 2019, that range from $3,000 to $6,000.
- A second DWI or DUI charge can lead to jail time up to one year and/or a fine not to exceed $4,000. In addition, there are statutory fines that became effective September 1, 2019, that range from $3,000 to $6,000.
- A third DWI or DUI offense can spend between 2 and 10 years behind bars and/or pay a fine up to $10,000. Also, if it’s a first time DWI or DUI charge and there is a child under the age of 15 years old, this makes it a felony charge.
ALR Hearings for DUIs
For the State of Texas, the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) process is run by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to determine whether the license of a defendant charged with a DWI or DUI should be suspended or worse, revoked. As we mentioned, just the disqualification of your driving credentials can make teaching a difficult career to pursue.
Three cases initiate the ALR process in Texas:
- You refused to take or fail to complete a breath or a blood test to detect the presence of one or more intoxicating substances
- You consented to a test that measured at least .08 alcohol content in your system while you operated a non-commercial motor vehicle
- You consented to a test that measured at least .04 alcohol content in your bloodstream while you operated a commercial motor vehicle or a vehicle owned by your school district
Action taken to suspend or revoke a driver’s license is not related to any criminal charges that stem from a DUI arrest.
Get the Legal Counsel You Deserve
Despite the perception many people have that a DWI or DUI is a dramatic life-altering event, the fact remains you be proactive by working with a Texas licensed criminal defense lawyer who understands how to defend clients facing DWI or DUI charges. For example, highly rated criminal defense attorney Adam Capetillo will provide you with the representation you need to apply for the reinstatement of full driving privileges.
For teachers that face a career-ending DWI or DUI charge, Adam Capetillo will conduct an exhaustive review of your case to determine the most persuasive way to keep you in the teaching profession. Contact the Capetillo Law Firm today by calling our office at (346) 249-5544 or by submitting the online contact form.