September 18, 2018By Brian Manchester
A DUI can be particularly detrimental to a teacher’s career if not handled properly. The Pennsylvania School Code Section 111 requires teachers, principals, school nurses, coaches, cafeteria staff, janitors, and virtually any other employee of a school to disclose the DUI conviction to the school. This amendment became effective on September 28, 2011.
With all school employment applications, Subsection (b) of Section 111 of the Pennsylvania School Code requires a criminal history report to be obtained from the Pennsylvania State Police. Subsection (c) additionally requires the prospective teacher or school employee to submit fingerprints which will be sent to the F.B.I.
Subsection (f)(1)(3) asks specifically for convictions related to DUI to be provided. This subsection requires a three (3) year ineligibility period for a prospective employee convicted of a second DUI if it is graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree. Any second offense DUI where the driver’s BAC is above .16% or a refusal of chemical test, and any third or subsequent DUI offense with a BAC of .10% or higher (or an accident is involved) is graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree. For example: In 2015 an individual is convicted of a second DUI while their BAC was .16% and received a sentence of 5 years intermediate punishment. That person would be ineligible for prospective employment in a school until 2023 – the 2015 sentence expires in 2020 at which point the three-year ineligibility period begins to run.
As for current school employees who receive a DUI, a current school employee is not automatically rendered ineligible if they receive a DUI. However, fact that a DUI is not an offense that requires automatic period of ineligibility for a current employee should be of little comfort to current employees that get a DUI. It is still probable that they could be subjected to the ineligibility provisions, given Subsection (f.2) states that nothing in this subsection shall interfere with a school’s ability to make employment, discipline, or termination decisions. Thus, the school is free to terminate a current employee because of the DUI, in which case the employee would be seeking prospective employment. Therefore, because a prospective employee is ineligible for three (3) years from the expiration of their sentence, the terminated employee would not be able to gain new employment at a school until the period of ineligibility ended. Lastly, current teachers with a qualifying DUI would not be able to move to a new school district under any circumstances until the completion of their period of eligibility. In essence, if you are a current school employee charged with a DUI, your best option is to find a way to keep your current position.
You Shouldn’t Assume You’ll Lose Your Job or Teaching Credential
It is important to know your options if you are a teacher charged with DUI, and you should not assume that you will lose your job or teaching credential. Brian Manchester has extensive training in DUI defense and is even a member of the National College for DUI Defense, the American Chemical Society, and the Society of Forensic Toxicologists. Brian Manchester also regularly attends seminars that specifically focus on DUI defenses, and he was also the Educational Chairman for the Pennsylvania Association of Drunk Driving Defense Attorneys. For a free consultation, we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.