I plead no contest to a DUI 7 year ago. I’m currently going to school to become a teacher. By the time I’m done it will be 10 years and I will be able to have it expunged from my record. I know I still have to report it on a job application, but will this severely effect my chances of becoming a teacher?
Becoming a teacher is a very noble career path. Let me address a common misconception. You do not need to wait 10 years to expunge a DUI. You became entitled to petition for expungement (technically retroactive dismissal pursuant to Penal Code Section 1203.4) as soon as you successfully completed probation, which was likely four years ago. But while most misdemeanor petitions for expungements have to be granted if the person had no violations of probations, to expunge a DUI, a person must convince a judge that it would be “in furtherance of justice.” Usually something specific like an imminent job application to become a teacher or a background check is a sufficient showing to allow a judge to consider granting the DUI expungement. The expungement is not automatic after 10 years but rather the conviction cannot be used as prior conviction to enhance a new DUI penalty. There is a big difference. An expungement will allow you to truthfully state that you did not suffer the conviction. This is not an absolute when it comes to state licensing boards. I suggest you 1. expunge the DUI and 2. speak with an attorney whose practice area includes state licensing. But the short answer is that yes, it’s possible to become a teacher in California with a DUI conviction.