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Can a DUI conviction ruin my teaching career?

On Behalf of | Oct 11, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Teachers in Maryland are considered role models for their students. Many instructors also try to pass on their morals and values in their classrooms. But if a teacher goes out, has a few drinks and gets arrested for DUI, their judgment can be questioned. A DUI can have an impact on your teaching career in several ways.

Teachers can face disciplinary actions

A DUI under any circumstances is bad news. While the Maryland State Board of Education usually doesn’t revoke teaching certifications for a single conviction, an educator may face disciplinary action from their school district. Even if charges are dropped, a teacher can face repercussions from the community if word gets out about a DUI arrest. Parent groups may ask the school board to fire a teacher because of what they feel are questionable morals.

More severe consequences can stem from a DUI conviction. Once a conviction is on your record, your school district and certification board will receive notice about the incident. You’ll also need to disclose this information for background checks whenever you apply for a new position or renew your certification. Not all DUI offenses will disqualify you from a teaching position. The circumstances surrounding the DUI, including your blood alcohol content (BAC), whether the incident occurred on school property or during school hours and if you have previous offenses, will factor into such decisions.

Not all DUI arrests turn into convictions

Most Maryland DUI charges are classified as misdemeanors. However, anyone charged with a DUI should mount a strong defense against the charges. Challenging the legality of the police stop, finding errors in field sobriety tests and breathalyzer results and vigorous cross-examination during a trial to expose weaknesses in the case can also result in having the charges against you dropped.

Even if the charges are not dropped, it’s in your best interests to get the sentence reduced to probation and minimize your exposure to other consequences. Attending and completing a court-mandated alcohol education program can work in your favor, as well as refraining from drinking before getting behind the wheel.