For a person to be eligible to work in a New Jersey school, he or she is required to have background checks through the New Jersey State Police or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Contrary to popular belief, this does not only apply to a teacher, teacher’s aide or substitute teacher. Any person who may come in contact with children is subject to these background checks. That includes school safety officers, custodial staff, lunchroom workers, secretaries and maintenance staff. In addition, school contractors are also subject to these background checks, so a school bus driver must also have a clean record.
If convictions for particular offenses appear on one’s criminal record, as set forth in statute N.J.S.A. 18:6-7.1, the individual can be disqualified from a job in a New Jersey school. Similarly, if the incident occurred while a person is employed at a school or works around children, he or she can lose the job. This is why it can be serious to have some disorderly persons convictions on one’s record—it can affect his or her life over the long-term and prevent getting a job that he or she might otherwise be qualified for.
Which Disorderly Persons Charges May Prevent Me From Getting a School Job?
A disorderly persons offense is a type of charge similar to what is called a “misdemeanor” in many other states. In New Jersey, a disorderly persons conviction will result in less severe penalties than an indictable offense, but sometimes the penalties are still serious. Some disorderly persons convictions can even prevent the ability to obtain a school job. Examples of offenses that, even if charged as a disorderly persons charge, could disqualify someone from employment within a New Jersey school include the following:
- Any offense involving the manufacture, transportation, sale, possession, distribution or habitual use of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-1) or drug paraphernalia (N.J.S.A. 2C:36-1)
- Lewdness (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4)
- Endangering the welfare of an incompetent person (N.J.S.A. 2C:24-7)
- Resisting arrest (N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2)
Keep in mind that someone can be excluded from employment within a New Jersey school system even if the excluding conviction occurred outside of New Jersey, provided that the conviction was pursuant to any similar statute of another state for a substantially equivalent offense. There is an opportunity for people with three or fewer convictions to have the disorderly persons offense expunged from their criminal record after five years. If you think you may be eligible for an expungement, it is important that you speak with an attorney who can help you remove these charges from your record.
Contact a NJ School Employee Disqualification Lawyer
Have you been charged with a disorderly persons offense in Ocean County or Monmouth County, New Jersey and you are hoping to become a teacher or gain employment in a New Jersey school? If so, you should contact an attorney at the law firm of Villani & DeLuca in Point Pleasant Beach. A criminal defense lawyer can help you understand your rights and possible consequences, and maybe even get your charge lessened so that it won’t prevent you from getting the job you want.
If you were charged with a disorderly persons offense in Belmar, Long Branch, Toms River or Brick and you are currently employed by a local school or would like to one day work in a school, contact Villani & DeLuca for a free consultation. Call today!