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If you have a DUI / DWI conviction on your record and intend to become a teacher, you may have some difficulties ahead of you. Many employers require background checks and other documentation that are likely to reveal these past convictions. Unlike 20 years ago, when background checks were relatively new, it is no longer an easy matter to sweep unfortunate incidents like these under the rug. Modern technology puts records of this type only a few mouse-clicks away.
Having a criminal record of any kind is a disadvantage in the teaching profession. A DUI conviction or even pleading no contest to the charge may have serious consequences for those who want to be or are currently in the education field. Such a conviction can negatively affect both potential certification and employment for teachers, depending on how the Board of Education for various states and school districts have written their policies.
Every state has a different set of standards for its teachers. Some are more rigid than others. For some states, older convictions may not be taken into account for teacher certification purposes. One example of this is Washington, which allows for a single DUI conviction, if it took place more than five years ago. By contrast, Oklahoma requires a current, clear criminal history record search, which may prove more of an obstacle, depending on circumstances.
For those intending to teach, especially in the public school system, the best way to handle this issue is to avoid DUI / DWI convictions. To do this, it is imperative to hire a local attorney who specializes in DUI cases to represent your interests in the courtroom. Your lawyer should be well-versed both in legal matters related to the charge and in how the outcome of the case will govern your future career choices and options. An experienced attorney may be able to get the charges reduced or otherwise arrange for a plea bargain that will improve your outlook in terms of being able to teach in your state.