The timing of his DUI arrest was unfortunate for the middle school assistant principal, as it came just days after school board officials had mulled the necessity of an internal policy requiring employees to self-report personal contact with law enforcement.
Our Birmingham DUI lawyers know that while such arrests are costly and embarrassing, they may also have a direct impact on one’s career. Of course, not every arrest is going to make headlines – and we work to keep it that way. We can’t prevent the public from obtaining public records, of course, but we work to ensure our clients’ cases are handled as discretely as possible. And if media outlets do start calling, we can help you handle the backlash.
In this case, local news media report that the 33-year-old was stopped around 2:30 p.m. on Superbowl Sunday.
We don’t know why he was stopped or exactly what evidence the police had to move forward with DUI charges. However, we do know that in addition to DUI, the assistant principal was also charged with failing to keep mandatory liability insurance on his vehicle and improper lane usage.
School officials said he did report the incident to them within 24 hours, though he was not technically required to do so, as the school hasn’t yet passed the proposed policy.
The superintendent’s proposal would give employees three days to inform school supervisors of any felony arrests or arrests on misdemeanors of moral ineptitude, such as prostitution.
The board seemed to be in agreement, following the January arrest of a middle school physical education teacher at another nearby school on charges of DUI, open container in a vehicle and possession of marijuana and paraphernalia. He has been placed on leave.
A month earlier, an elementary school teacher in that same district was sentenced on federal charges alleging the illegal purchase of guns for a friend, with the weapons later ending up seized in a federal raid connected to Mexican drug gangs. In that latter case, school officials said they had no idea about the pending case until the sentencing, which included two years of probation and six months of electronic monitoring.
Presumably in light of that, a DUI might not seem so serious – but a professional should never underestimate the effect that a conviction can have on his future. A first conviction – assuming no one was hurt and no property was damaged – is a jail sentence of up to a year, a fine of between $600 and $2,100 and a revocation of driving privileges for up to three months.
While on the subject of school employees, it’s worth noting that under Alabama Code 32-51-191, school bus drivers may be charged with DUI if their blood alcohol content measures 0.02 percent or higher – a lower threshold than the general population limit of 0.08 percent. That same limit applies for drivers under the age of 21.