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Can you lose your Pennsylvania teaching license due to DUI?

A conviction for driving under the influence in Pennsylvania may leave you facing steep fines, license suspensions and other sanctions. However, depending on what you do for a living, it may hurt you in other ways, too. If you hold a Pennsylvania teaching license and receive a conviction for drunk driving, your conviction may impact your ability to continue to teach within state lines.

Per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pennsylvania Department of Education considers whether you have “good moral character” before deciding whether to give you a license to teach.

Determining whether you have good moral character

Before you get a license to teach in Pennsylvania, the state asks a series of background questions to get a better sense of your character. Depending on how you answer these questions, you may need to have a character review.

Having a single DUI on your record does not immediately disqualify you from being able to teach in Pennsylvania. However, depending on the circumstances that preceded your drunk driving conviction, there is a chance that your DUI may prevent you from becoming a teacher. This is especially true if you already have existing DUI convictions in your past.

Assessing past good moral character reviews

Since 1999, the Pennsylvania Department of Education conducted more than 1,900 reviews of teaching applications that raised red flags with the department. Of those 1,900+ reviews, 11 of them resulted in teaching license denials on account of drunk driving convictions. While this may not seem like a lot, DUI was the most common reason teaching applicants had their applications for licensure denied.

To summarize, being unable to secure a teaching license is not an absolute following a Pennsylvania DUI conviction. However, there is a chance that a DUI may make it impossible for you to teach within state lines.