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Background Checks for Teachers with Marijuana Convictions

Posted by Carmine R. Villani | May 17, 2015 | 0 Comments

Can You Avoid School Employment Disqualification? 

Today's job market is competitive enough, and many employers don't want pot smokers or marijuana users working with their money or supervising their employees, especially if the job involves children. Criminal background checks for teachers are required with anyone working in a school. School employees (teachers, substitute teachers, principals, secretaries, nurses, coaches, cafeteria staff, janitors, landscaping contractors, etc.) in New Jersey require a criminal background check conducted through the Federal Bureau of Investigation or State Bureau of Identification through the New Jersey State Police.

Can You Avoid School Employment Disqualification?

Criminal Checks

In order to conduct criminal checks, a background screening company will check state and federal databases in order to turn up convictions and arrest records for employer review. Some names that come up are considered criminals; however, others may be victims of unfortunate circumstances.
These laws are complex and can severely damage your future and your career in education, so it is extremely important that you immediately take steps to obtain representation from a criminal defense attorney familiar with school employment disqualification.

Disqualification from the Public School System (N.J.S.A. 18A:6-7.1)

The New Jersey Statute regarding criminal records relative to an employee in regular contact with pupils warrants disqualifications from employment and the public school systems. The statute provides that anyone convicted of (1) endangering the welfare of children (N.J.S. 2C: 24-4), (2) endangering the welfare of an incompetent person (N.J.S. 2c: 24-7), or (3) resisting arrest or eluding a police officer (N.J.S. 2C: 29-2) will be permanently disqualified for a school position. A criminal records check is a full federal search of crimes, such that even a crime committed in another state may become a disqualification.

A Fresh Start: Expunged Records

Educators may be able to expunge or clear their record on a path to a fresh start in life. An expungement of a record is the removal of a detention, arrest, trial or disposition from a person's criminal record. This is also known as sealing of a record. In New Jersey, there is no legal distinction between sealing your record and expunging it (both involve a court order prohibiting the public from viewing). Expunged records include complaints, warrants, arrests, processing records, fingerprints, photographs, index cards, “rap sheets” and judicial docket records. To be eligible for expungement of an indictable offense, certain requirements must be met, so it's critical to consult with a criminal defense attorney to find out if it's right for you.

Expunging Criminal Records for Teachers

After a charge has been expunged from your record, employment applications for a teaching job do not need to recite past matters so long as it is not in law enforcement, corrections or the court system. In fact, if your arrest resulted in a conviction and that conviction is later expunged, Section 1570.3 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations allows you to tell the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that you have not been convicted.
If you're facing a marijuana charge that could lead to the loss of your teaching job (in addition to jail time and other penalties), call the experienced marijuana attorneys at Villani & DeLuca P.C. right away at 732-709-7757 for your complimentary consultation. Act swiftly to protect and preserve your rights through an effective defense. Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty.

Contact an Experienced New Jersey Criminal Attorney

The laws that regulate educators in New Jersey can be quite complex. It's very important to discuss your case with an experienced New Jersey defense lawyer at Villani & DeLuca P.C. to advise you. Contact us today at 732-709-7757 to learn more about how we successfully defend professionals in the school system throughout Monmouth County and Ocean County,

About the Author

Carmine R. Villani

Founding partner, Carmine Villani, Esq. is a former municipal prosecutor with over three decades of experience in Criminal and DWI Defense.


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