Teachers and DUIs
Over the course of my many years handling DUIs I have had dozens of clients that were teachers. If you are a teacher that should be comforting to you. If you are a parent with your child in school that may be disconcerting. Out of all those cases I have never had a teacher suspended or lose their job over a DUI. However some recent news articles are causing me some concern.
The first from Tampa: The elementary PE teacher was driving the wrong way on a street and preliminary breath results were a .19/.20.
The second from the Baltimore area: The teacher who has taught since 2002 was involved in a solo vehicle accident. No BAC results were reported.
Another from Florida: The teacher is charged with DUI and battery on a police officer. The teacher has taught since 2006.
And the final one from Florida again: A second grade teacher accused of DUI and leaving the scene of an accident.
Now it should be important to note that the case from Baltimore is a person accused of a second DUI. However, a quick scan of Google News with the keywords teacher and DUI brings up a rather lengthy list of teachers being charged with DUI, this was just a quick overview of the first few on the first page of google.
So why is this important? First it’s pretty clear it’s not safe to be a teacher accused of a DUI in Florida!! If you’re a teacher and no one finds out about your arrest it’s probably no big deal. However, as social media is growing at an exponential rate, the chances of someone finding out about your conviction and posting it is growing every day. The one good thing about these cases it seems the schools are waiting to see how the cases resolve before deciding whether the teacher will keep their job or not. That isn’t always the case though.
I’m reminded by a client whose daughter played for a local soccer club, she found out her daughter’s coach had been arrested and asked me for info on what he was arrested for. Before I even had a chance to return her message social media was abuzz with all the information she was looking for. Now the coach was arrested for something a little more serious than a DUI but the point was the social media engine was in overdrive and the coach lost his job that day. So much for innocent until proven guilty right? We all know that in the court of public opinion people are tarred in feather within hours of their arrest. Do you really think that your school and the parents are your child’s school are going to be OK with you teaching there once word of your DUI arrest or conviction get out?
This is yet just another reason why it is critical to hire a skilled DUI defense attorney to fight the charges. DUI penalties are bad enough, what you don’t need is the extra stress and pressure of battling the media as well.