San Antonio DWI Attorney: Will a DWI Impact My Teacher Certification in Texas?
As a criminal defense attorney, I have seen firsthand the devastating consequences that a DWI conviction can have on individuals. However, for teachers in Texas, the impact of a DWI charge can be especially severe. Not only can it result in criminal penalties such as fines and jail time, but it can also jeopardize their teacher certification and potentially end their careers.
In this blog post, we will explore the question, "Will a DWI Affect my Teacher License?" and provide a comprehensive overview of the potential consequences that teachers may face after being charged with a DWI. We will also discuss the steps that teachers can take to protect their teacher certification and minimize the impact of a DWI charge.
The purpose of this blog post is to help teachers who are facing DWI charges to better understand the potential consequences of their situation and take proactive steps to protect their teacher certification.
The process of becoming a certified teacher in Texas involves meeting specific requirements set forth by the Texas Education Agency. These requirements include obtaining a bachelor's degree from an accredited university, completing an approved teacher preparation program, and passing the appropriate teacher certification exams.
In addition to the initial certification requirements, Texas teachers must renew their certification every five years. To do so, they must complete continuing education credits and adhere to the teacher code of ethics. Teachers must also undergo a background check during the renewal process.
The Texas Code of Ethics and Standard Practices for Texas Educators outlines the standards of professional conduct for Texas educators. These standards include maintaining a professional relationship with students, maintaining confidentiality, and avoiding behavior that could be detrimental to the welfare of students. A DWI conviction is a violation of the Code of Ethics as well as failing to report it after it happens.
The Impact of a DWI on Teacher Certification
The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) is the organization responsible for ensuring that all Texas educators meet high standards of professionalism and conduct. The SBEC has the authority to take disciplinary action against teachers who violate the educator code of ethics or who engage in other misconduct.
The grounds on which the SBEC can take disciplinary action against a teacher in Texas include:
Criminal offenses: A teacher can face disciplinary action if they are convicted of a crime directly related to the duties and responsibilities of the education profession.
Failing to Report: The failure to report or impeding the reporting of child abuse, or an educator's known criminal history as mandated by the law and regulations of the Board
Failure to meet certification requirements: The SBEC can take disciplinary action against teachers who fail to meet certification requirements, including continuing education requirements or criminal history disclosure requirements.
Misuse of funds: Teachers who misuse school funds or resources can face disciplinary action.
Other misconduct: The SBEC can take disciplinary action against teachers who engage in other forms of misconduct, including the abandonment of their contract, failing to cooperate with a Board investigation or violating the security requirements of State testing.
The SBEC considers a DWI “related to the duties of an educator” if there is a commission of two or more DWIs in a 12-month period. But this is according to their outline; however, the final determination is up to the decision of the Board. So it is still possible that they could consider a single DWI as part of this category. This becomes even more likely the more DWI convictions a teacher obtains.
What Actions Can the SBEC Take Against a Teacher
SBEC may take the following action against an educator's certificate:
Place restrictions on the issuance, renewal, or holding of a certificate, either indefinitely or for a set term,
Issue a non-inscribed reprimand
Issue an inscribed reprimand
Suspend a certificate for a set term or revoke or cancel the certificate altogether
Other Consequences for Teachers Who Are Convicted of DWI
The criminal consequences of a DWI in Texas can be severe, even for a first-time offender. A DWI conviction can result in fines, court fees, and probation. It can also result in a jail sentence, particularly if the offender has a prior DWI conviction or if there was an accident involving injury or death. In addition, a DWI conviction will lead to a suspension of the offender's driver's license.
In addition to the criminal consequences of a DWI conviction, there are also significant collateral consequences. These may include:
Increased insurance rates: A DWI conviction can lead to a significant increase in insurance rates or the cancellation of insurance altogether.
Employment consequences: A DWI conviction can result in job loss or difficulty finding employment, particularly in fields that require a clean criminal record, such as education or law enforcement.
Educational consequences: A DWI conviction can lead to the loss of scholarships, financial aid, or other educational opportunities.
Personal consequences: A DWI conviction can result in strain on personal relationships, difficulty obtaining loans or housing, and other negative personal consequences.
Importance of Hiring an Experienced DWI Attorney
If you are a teacher in Texas and have been charged with a DWI, it is crucial to seek legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney. A DWI conviction can have severe consequences, both criminal and collateral, and can jeopardize your teacher certification. An attorney can help you navigate the legal process, protect your rights, and work to mitigate the consequences of a DWI conviction.
At Thornton Criminal Defense, PLLC, we have extensive experience representing clients charged with DWI offenses, including teachers facing the potential loss of their certification. With a background as a former chief prosecutor and leader on the vehicular crimes team, Brad Thornton has the expertise and knowledge necessary to provide the best possible legal representation. As a board-certified criminal law attorney, he understands the complexities of the criminal justice system and is committed to fighting for his clients' rights.
If you are a teacher in Texas facing a DWI charge, do not hesitate to contact Thornton Criminal Defense, PLLC. We are dedicated to providing our clients with the highest level of legal representation and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and interests. Contact us today at (210) 439-5627 for a consultation.