Are you currently a teacher or want to become a teacher and are worried about how a DUI (driving under the influence) will affect a teaching license?
While there is no concrete, black and white answer, the attorneys at Stechschulte Nell Law want to guide you through the basics of how the Florida Department of Education might respond to a DUI if you are a teacher or want to become a teacher and how you can fight to keep your license and job.
Why Teaching Without a Criminal Record is Important
Does having a DUI affect my employment? This is a loaded question because there are so many scenarios and situations that can affect your employment with your current employer. It can simply come down to your occupation and your employer.
But our current focus is on being a teacher. Teachers are special and unique because they are employed by the state and are role models for children. Teachers work hands-on with young, impressionable children every day. A public-school teacher also requires a professional license, a driver’s license, and a clean criminal history—after all, they are working with minors.
Florida and District Laws
Florida is an “at-will employment” state. This means an employer can fire its employees for any reason, as long as that reason is not discriminatory. A DUI is not discriminatory, so if you are convicted of a DUI, you can be fired “at-will” without a reason.
A teacher that is charged with a DUI will most likely face a disciplinary hearing through the Department of Education, especially if the DUI charge ends in a conviction.
Remember an arrest for A DUI is an accusation, not a conviction. You are innocent until proven guilty.
It is important to remember that just because you have been arrested and/or charged with a DUI, it does not mean you are guilty, and while Florida is an at-will employment state, you need to make sure you have the right representation. Stechschulte Nell Law will fight for you to make sure you receive the legal representation you are entitled to.
The Department of Education may be more lenient on first-time offenders that receive a misdemeanor charge. This is another reason to make sure you have an attorney by your side to make sure your case can be cleared, or you can receive a plea that will not affect your teaching license and employment.
Make sure to review your district’s policies and your employment contract to see how DUIs are handled.
New Teachers with Prior Record
Are you wanting to become a teacher, but are worried about a prior DUI conviction on your criminal history?
Teachers—new and currently employed—are required by the state to report their criminal history and complete a thorough background check. Having a DUI on your criminal history record can become an issue for future teaching employment.
If you can find the information online, make sure to check out the school district’s policies on criminal history. Some districts, even in the same state, may have different policies about past criminal history, and it all may be situational and circumstantial depending on when the DUI occurred and how it was charged.
With the right legal representation, you may be able to get a prior DUI expunged from your record before you apply for your teaching license and job.
Let Stechschulte Nell Law Keep Your Teaching Position
Whether you are currently employed as a teacher and have been charged with a DUI or want to become a teacher and have a previous DUI conviction, it is important to make sure you are taking the right actions to show the Department of Education that you are not an employment-risk. You need to prove that your DUI charge/conviction does not affect your day-to-day teaching and work ethic.
It is possible to be a teacher with a DUI, but you will need the attorneys at Stechschulte Nell Law by your side to fight your charges aggressively. DUIs can be career-ending for a teacher and their teaching license, and that is why you need someone on your side you can keep your criminal record clear or even expunge an old DUI from your record.
Call (813) 280-1244 to learn more about how Stechschulte Nell Law can help you keep your teaching license and avoid a DUI charge.