Can you be a teacher with a DWI on your record or should you start looking for a new career? Unfortunately, the answer to this question may not be the one you’re hoping for. If you live and work in Texas, like we do, then you’re in what’s known as an “at-will employment” state. This means that you can be fired with no warning for any reason (as long as that reason isn’t discriminatory). A DWI or DUI is not discriminatory.
Since teachers work so closely with children and are expected to be role models, a DWI could be career-ending (even if your career hasn’t started yet). Let’s take a deeper dive into answering the question, “Can you be a teacher with a DWI?” and explore different examples of what could happen if you get a DWI or DUI as a teacher.
Teachers and DWIs: Will you be fired?
If you’re asking the general question,”How does a DWI affect employment?” the answer usually depends on your occupation. Certain employers (such as school districts and hospitals) will likely be very strict when it comes to receiving a DWI. On the other hand, employers that don’t require professional licenses, involve minors, or mandate a Driver’s License may be more lenient.
Because teachers work with minors and — in the case of public school teachers — are employed by the state, there are specific codes of conduct concerning how and when conduct outside of working hours can result in disciplinary action.
According to the rules set by the State Board of Educator Certification, teachers are required to report their criminal history as well as any new arrests or convictions for criminal offenses as part of the broader code of ethics. However, simply reporting any pending charges or old convictions may not result in immediate punishment. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) states that teacher discipline will occur when “two or more crimes committed within a 12-month period that involve public intoxication, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or disorderly conduct.”
In simple terms, an arrest is part of an accusation, not a conviction. In even simpler terms, you are not considered to have committed the offense if you have not been convicted. However, this distinction does not necessarily mean you won’t be fired from your current school campus or district — only that you are shielded from formal punishment by the TEA. You will need to review your employment contract and district policies to determine how your district handles teachers with DWIs (and whether or not you’re required to report your DWI).
So, to answer the question: Can you be a teacher in Texas with a misdemeanor? Yes, technically you can be. This being said, it’s still a very high possibility that you can be let go from your position, especially if the offense occurred during your employment. (And keep in mind, if that DWI is a felony DWI as opposed to a misdemeanor DWI, then it’s much more likely that you’ll be fired immediately.)
Can you lose your teaching license?
Aside from simply being fired from your job, there is the possibility that you could lose your teaching license entirely — which is just another reason why you should take your DWI charge very seriously.
In Texas, you are required to report your criminal history to the State Board for Educator Certification. If you don’t, then you could lose your license. The Board can also place restrictions on your license, suspend your license, or add formal notes to your record.
Related Content: Is getting a job with a misdemeanor drug charge different from getting a job with a DWI?
Can I still become a teacher with a DUI?
So far we’ve addressed what could happen if you’re already a teacher and you get a DWI. But what happens if you got a DUI when you were younger and now you’re trying to get your first teaching position? A DUI happens if you’re under the age of 21, and you are caught driving under the influence. In this case, you’ll still need to worry about district policies but also background checks.
Learn More: What does a background check show in Texas?
When you apply and interview for a teaching position, you can expect them to run a background check and a DUI conviction could show up (especially if it was within the last few years). This can definitely become an issue for you and future teaching prospects.
Learn More: Can you get fired for getting a DUI?
Keep your teaching position. Contact Thiessen Law Firm today.
Can you be a teacher with a DWI? Yes, but only if you fight your charges aggressively and with expert defense at your side.
A DWI charge can be life-altering for a teacher — but with the right defense team at your side, you can overcome a DWI charge and keep your criminal record stain-free. Even better, you may be able to expunge an old DWI from your record and remove that burden from your life altogether. At Thiessen Law Firm, we’re considered the go-to DWI experts in Houston, and we’ve helped thousands of people in Texas get their DWI cases dismissed or achieve a full Not Guilty verdict.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you keep your teaching license and avoid a DWI charge, give us a call at 713-864-9000 or fill out our online form. We’d love to help.
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