Becoming a teacher puts you in the unique position to positively impact the lives of generations of children. But what happens if your dream is to become a teacher, but you have a criminal record? Unlock Legal, an Orange County-based professional teacher certification defense firm, wants you to know that a criminal record might not necessarily prevent you from obtaining a teaching license, but the process can be difficult and time-consuming.
The first thing to consider when you think about applying for a teaching license is the type of crime you committed. Violent crimes and major felonies like murder, rape, domestic violence, and robbery will probably keep you from becoming a teacher. Other crimes, such as drug offenses or a DUI, can also lead to a rejected teaching license, especially if you’re competing for jobs with people who don’t have a criminal record. If your criminal conviction resulted in jail time, there’s a good possibility that the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing could reject your license application.
Expunging your criminal record before applying for a teaching license is the best way to increase your chances of getting your license. Not all crimes can be expunged — convictions that resulted in a prison sentence will stay on your record permanently. Having your case expunged means that the guilty plea is withdrawn, and the case is dismissed. This allows you to honestly say on a job application that you have never been convicted of a crime. However, beware, an expungement does not save the day when applying for a professional license. An expunged matter still must be disclosed. But expunging your matter is seen as rehabilitative and is very helpful in getting the results you want.
Expunging a criminal record often requires the drafting and filing of a petition and declaration as well as a hearing before a judge. This is a significant time commitment. That’s why Unlock Legal, an Orange County professional license defense firm, has worked with professionals to help them get successfully expunge their criminal convictions and apply for their licenses even if they have a checkered past.
If you’re applying for a teaching license but are afraid that a past criminal conviction could keep you from pursuing your dream, contact the team at Unlock Legal by sending us an email here or calling us at 949-997-1469.