As an educator, you know that the State Board of Education (SBEC) expects you to act as a role model for your students. However, life and mistakes can happen. If you’re an educator and have been charged with DWI, you could possibly face disciplinary action by SBEC.
You might be aware of the criminal penalties of a DWI, but not the career-related ones. Educators licensed by SBEC are subject to disciplinary action if they’re criminally convicted. SBEC could possibly impose restrict or add conditions to your license. In some cases, they may even suspend or revoke your teaching certification.
If you or someone you know has been charged with DWI and is licensed by SBEC, it’s important you contact a skilled DWI attorney.
DWI Attorney for Educators in Houston, Texas
A DWI conviction has a significant impact. The consequences can even bleed into your career if you’re licensed by the Texas State Board of Education (SBEC). Depending on the situation, you could be required to pay an administrative fee, have restrictions placed on your license, or even have your license suspended or revoked.
If you or someone you know has been charged with DWI, then it’s imperative you contact an attorney from Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc.. The attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. understand the rules of both the court and SBEC. They can create a formidable defense for you through quality legal service. Call (713) 224-5529 today to schedule a case evaluation for your charges.
Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. accepts clients throughout the Houston area and surrounding communities including Bellaire, West University Place and Pasadena.
Overview of Educators with DWI Charges in Texas
- DWI Consequences for Educators
- How SBEC Handles DWI Convictions
- Can I Still Be a Teacher with a DWI?
- Criminal Penalties for DWI
- Additional Resources
DWI Consequences for Educators by SBEC in Texas
The State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC) utilizes a set of agency rules referred to as the Texas Education Code (TEC). These rules outline the procedures of disciplinary actions within SBEC. Rule §249.15 states if you’re convicted of one of the following, you could have your license suspended, restricted or revoked.
- A felony offense;
- A crime that occurred in-part or wholly on school property or at a school-sponsored activity; or
- A crime which directly relates to the duties and responsibilities of the education profession.
SBEC handles disciplinary action on a case-by-case basis. Listed below are the factors SBEC uses to determine if a crime directly relates to education.
- Was a minor or student was involved in the crime;
- Whether the DWI happened on or partially on school property or a school-sponsored activity;
- Did the DWI involve felony possession or conspiracy to possess a controlled substance;
- If the DWI involved the transfer, distribution or sale of the controlled substance; or
- The DWI was felony-level
If the SBEC finds you in violation of their occupational code, then they can impose:
- Restrictions on your certificate’s issuance, holding or renewal;
- A non-inscribed or inscribed reprimand;
- A license suspension for a period of time;
- Probationary conditions on your license;
- Revocation on your license without an opportunity of reapplication; or
- Additional restrictions or conditions on your license.
How SBEC Handles DWI Charges in Texas
The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) overlooks disciplinary hearings for educators. Disciplinary proceedings are led by an administrative law judge who interprets the Texas Educational Code. The final decision will be made by the members of the State Board of Educator Certification.
You will have a chance to hire legal representation for the disciplinary hearing. At the hearing you can contest disciplinary action against your license with evidence. The administrative law judge will also hear evidence of your criminal conviction and the circumstance of your DWI. The board will then deliberate and vote on a decision once all evidence is presented.
SBEC uses the following factors to determine disciplinary action for a DWI conviction.
- The severity of the crime;
- Was the DWI premeditated or intentional;
- Did you try to conceal the conviction from the board;
- If you have prior SBEC sanctions or a history of misconduct;
- Are there any potential dangers for the welfare of students;
- Were there victims in your DWI;
- If time has passed since the conviction, were you rehabilitated;
- Will imposing sanctions deter future violators of SBEC rules; and
- Any other information relevant to your case
Can I Still Be a Teacher with a DWI Conviction?
Aspiring teachers are also subject to disciplinary action by SBEC. If you’re planning to take the certification exam to be an educator and have a DWI conviction, you could face some issues. The Texas Education Code (TEC) states SBEC can deny any applicant form taking a certification exam if they have a criminal history.
Rule §249.16 states SBEC can bar applicants if they have a criminal history that directly relates to the duties and purpose of the education profession. Essentially, your DWI will be assessed by the board to see if it relates to teaching. If your DWI involved any of the following, you could be subject to disciplinary action by the board.
- Felony possession or conspiracy to possess a controlled substance;
- The transfer, sale, distribution of a controlled substance;
- The DWI occurred on or partially on school property or a school-sponsored activity;
- The DWI involved funds or property; or
- It was a felony-level DWI
SBEC will review the evidence and notify you in writing if disciplinary action was taken. If you’re prohibited from taking an exam, don’t worry hope isn’t lost. You can appeal the decision by filing an appeal hearing. You will then have an opportunity to gain legal representation, so you’re prepared to face the board.
Criminal Penalties for DWI in Texas
Driving while intoxicated is a serious offense under Texas law. The criminal penalties depend on your criminal history and the circumstances of the offense. The chart below lists the potential penalties you could face if you’re convicted of DWI.
|Number of Offenses:||Offense Level:||Jail/Prison Time:||Fine:|
|Class B Misdemeanor||Minimum of 72 hours in jail; maximum of 180 days in jail|
|Class A Misdemeanor||Minimum of 30 days in jail; maximum of 12 months in jail.|
|Third-Degree Felony||Minimum of 2 years in prison; maximum of 10 years in prison.|
DWI cases are unique because their sentencing usually come with additional conditions. The judge may impose one or more of the following if you’re convicted of DWI.
- Community supervision;
- Completion of a DWI Education Program;
- Up to 200 hours of community service;
- License suspension for up to two years;
- Installation of an ignition interlock device;
- Substance and alcohol abuse evaluation; and
- Annual surcharge of up to $2,000 for three years by the Department of Public Safety.
Texas Board of Education Rules – Visit the official website of the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to access their Texas Administrative Code (TAC). Read the code to learn more about the educator’s code of ethics, disciplinary proceedings and more.
State Education Board of Certification – Visit the official website of the Texas Education Agency to learn more about SBEC. Access the site to learn who the board members are, their ties to education and who appoints the SBEC members.
Lawyer for Teachers with DWI in Harris County, Texas
If you or someone you know has been charged with DWI and is certified as an educator, it’s imperative you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. SBEC could restrict, suspend or even revoke your license for a DWI conviction. Protect your career today by hiring an attorney from Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc..
Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. is a group of distinguished attorneys who are skilled in DWI defense. We have represented people in both criminal and disciplinary proceedings. Our attorneys are familiar with the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) and the complexities of DWI law. Contact us today at (713) 224-5529 for a case evaluation.
Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. accepts clients throughout the greater Harris County area including Houston, Bellaire, Tomball and West University Place.
This article was last updated on March 11th, 2019.