One of the most frequent questions that a person who has been arrested for driving under the influence will ask has to do with the ramifications a conviction will have on the prospects of future employment. There are certain jobs for which a DUI conviction will be a serious hindrance. One such job is being employed at a school.
DUI is not a criminal offense, but a traffic offense. In spite of that, the penalties are still significant enough that they can have a major influence on a person’s life in the future. A person who harbors hopes of school employment needs to do whatever possible to try and have DUI charges reduced, dismissed or win an acquittal.
Process For A DWI Stop, Arrest And Penalties For A Conviction
A law enforcement officer is not allowed to make a traffic stop to investigate a DUI unless there is just cause to do so. Just cause can take many forms including a witness informing police of a possible DUI, witnessing a driver committing a traffic violation such as running a red light, or the performance of a dangerous action like weaving in and out of traffic.
When the stop is made, the officer will speak to the driver and watch for signs of intoxication. These can include bloodshot eyes, slurring words when speaking and smelling of alcohol. Next, the officer will give the driver field sobriety tests. These will likely include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, the Walk and Turn test and the One-Leg Stand test. If there is still suspicion of a DUI, the driver will be asked to take a breathalyzer test. If there is a belief that the driver is under the influence of drugs instead of alcohol, there will be a request that the driver submit to a blood test at the hospital.
For the breathalyzer test, the officer is required to observe the driver for 20 uninterrupted minutes to ensure that nothing is done that could compromise the test’s accuracy. This can include smoking a cigarette, regurgitating or chewing gum. After the observation period, the test will be given. If the driver is age 21 or over and registers 0.08% or above, there will be an arrest for DUI. For a driver under 21, the blood alcohol content must be 0.01%. For a commercial driver, the BAC must be 0.04%.
Drivers who are arrested for DUI must remember that there are certain procedures that the officer must follow in addition to the 20 minute observation test and the justifiable traffic stop. The officer is required to be certified to give the breath test. The machine itself must be properly calibrated. If these rules are violated, it’s possible that the charges will have to be dropped.
The penalties for a first offense DUI include fines, surcharges, a driver’s license suspension and possible jail time. If the BAC is 0.08% to less than 0.10%, the driver will face a driver’s license suspension of three months. There will be a fine of $250 to $400. There will be a surcharge of $1,000 per year for three years. The driver will have to pay $230 to the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC). $100 will go to the drunk driving fund and the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund (AERF). $75 will go to the Neighborhood Services Fund. There can be up to 30 days in jail.
A DUI due to drugs and its penalties are equivalent to a BAC of 0.010% or higher. There will be a driver’s license suspension of seven months to one year. The fine is $300 to $500. All other penalties remain the same as for the 0.08% to less than 0.10% BAC.
Issues With School Employment After A DUI Conviction
Since New Jersey takes it seriously when a person is applying for a job in which they are in frequent contact with children, a DUI conviction can make getting the job very difficult. A DUI charge might not automatically exclude a person from being employed as a teacher or school worker, it is a hurdle that must be overcome.
It’s not just a DUI that causes the problem for a prospective school worker. There are certain acts that a person might commit while under the influence that they would ordinarily not have done. For example, if the driver has a minor in the vehicle, there might be a charge of endangering the welfare of a minor. This will prevent a person from getting a job in a school.
Other mistakes can be made when committing a DUI. Fleeing an officer is a panic move that some drivers will commit. Resisting arrest and eluding an officer will make a bad situation exponentially worse and will almost assuredly stop a person from getting a school job. Having drug paraphernalia is also an excluding factor for a school job.
School jobs require a federal background check. Criminal activity will show up on this check. Although DUI is a traffic offense, the application will ask whether or not there has been a DUI conviction. It must be disclosed if there was one and it could stop the applicant’s hopes of getting the job. For other crimes that were committed during the DUI, it is possible that they will escalate to a first degree or second degree criminal offense. This will disqualify a person from getting a job in a school.