A conviction for driving under the influence in Pennsylvania has the potential to impact many areas of your life. Even as a first-time offender, you may face substantial fines and probation obligations, among other penalties. If you also work in Pennsylvania as a teacher, you may wonder whether your conviction could threaten your ability to continue to earn a living in this manner. 

So, are you at risk of losing your opportunity to teach after a conviction for DUI? 

The “good moral character” review

The Pennsylvania Department of Education assesses each prospective teacher to make sure he or she is fit to educate within the state school system before granting teaching licenses. When doing so, it considers a series of variables that help determine whether you have “good moral character.” 

Certain offenses, such as drug offenses or DUIs, may call your character into question, but this is not absolute. So, there is no cut and dry answer about whether a DUI is going to disqualify you from becoming a teacher in Pennsylvania. It might, but it might not. 

Statistics surrounding good moral character reviews

Over the past 20 or so years, the Pennsylvania Department of Education conducted more than 1,900 character reviews. Almost 200 of those reviews involved individuals who had convictions for drunk driving. Most of those prospective teachers were still able to move forward with obtaining teaching licenses despite their DUI convictions. 

While many opponents argue that good moral character reviews are unfair and outdated, for now, they remain in place.