New Jersey DUI Lawyer – Why You Can’t Expunge a DWI / DUI Conviction in New Jersey and What That Means When Applying for a New Job

New-Jersey-Drunk-DrivingThe law in New Jersey is different than 48 other states in that it treats a DWI/DUI as a motor vehicle offense instead of a criminal violation. As such, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is recorded on a driver’s Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) records, aka a driver’s abstract.

Moreover, in New Jersey, expungements are limited to only criminal offenses, and, since DUI/ DWIs in New Jersey are traffic offenses and not criminal offenses, a conviction for drunk driving can never be expunged from someone’s driving record. Only criminal arrests or convictions that fall under the 2C code can be expunged in New Jersey. However, this rule is not entirely negative. The rule does result in the benefit of the DWI/DUI not showing on an individual’s criminal history.

Note however, this doesn’t mean convicted offenders won’t face criminal penalties. The law considers driving under the influence as a pseudo-crime or quasi crime, and the consequences can be severe, including fines and loss of driving privileges. Prison time is also possible for a DWI/DUI, and it is mandatory when a driver commits a second or third offense. For example, by New Jersey law, third-time offenders are sentenced to a prison term of 180 days or more.

DWI/DUI and its Effect on Employment Applications

Since drunk driving is not considered a criminal offense under the New Jersey criminal code, drivers who have been convicted and are applying for jobs after their conviction do not have to answer, “yes,” if the employer asks if they have ever been convicted of a crime. Sometimes, however, employers may ask if a person has been convicted of anything but a minor traffic offense. DWI convictions are considered major traffic offenses, so in those cases, an applicant with a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs should answer truthfully that they do have a history of more than just minor traffic offenses.

Many times, potential employers conduct background checks as part of their hiring process. Such background checks usually include an applicant’s driving record (which will show the drunk driving conviction), criminal record, court records and incarceration records. New Jersey does not report DUIs to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) — a common criminal history database that employers check – so the DUI/DWI will not show on the NCIC check.

Exceptions – When You Must Disclose Your DWI/DUI Conviction to a Potential Employer or Other Reviewer

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers across the United States from denying employment to individuals with a conviction unless they can prove a compelling business reason. Certain professions, like teachers, nurses, doctors and law enforcement officials, require disclosure as a condition of employment. There are other situations where a conviction must also disclosed, such as when a person is applying for a professional license – such as a law school graduate applying for admission to a state bar.

Notably, positions that require driving have obvious compelling business reasons to discriminate against DWI/DUI offenders. Therefore, someone with a DWI/DUI conviction who is applying for a position as a commercial truck driver, cab driver, delivery truck driver, etc. should disclose their prior DWI/DUI conviction.

For all these reasons, it is especially important to hire an experienced New Jersey DUI/DWI attorney if you have been arrested or charged with drunk driving in this state. Not only do penalties include the possibility of jail time, significant fines, and loss of driving privileges – a conviction for driving while intoxicated can also result in the loss of current of future job possibilities. An experienced lawyer can help you take advantage of certain laws that can lessen the penalties you must face or may be able to have the charges against you dismissed completely.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help Drivers Facing DUI Charges

The law regarding criminal history checks and expungements of DWI/DUI can be complicated and is different for everyone, depending on their situation. If you or someone you know is charged with drunk driving or driving under the influence in New Jersey, knowing what your rights are can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients in Ocean County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Union County and Somerset County.

New Jersey DUI Lawyer Discusses the Use of Video Evidence in DWI Cases

If you are pulled over for suspected drunk driving in New Jersey, it is very likely that the police will make a video recording.  Remember that your words and actions will be videotaped from the moment an officer turns on the police car’s lights.  Even if you feel that the stop is not justified, always remain polite and compliant because a judge may later view the tape.  Although it might seem like video of a DWI arrest will seal the case against you, video evidence can actually be helpful to your defense—especially if your rights have been violated or the officers exaggerated their observations when filling out their reports.

When Are Suspects Recorded?

Currently, the New Jersey State Police record both the motor vehicle stop as well as the subsequent roadside investigation (including the field sobriety tests).  The State Police do not currently videotape suspects taking breathalyzer tests while back in custody at the State Police barracks.

On March 1, 2015, a new law took effect requiring all newly purchased municipal police cars to be equipped with mobile video recording systems.  The requirement applies to police cars primarily used for traffic stops.  Many municipal police departments record the initial stop, the roadside investigation and some even record the administration of the breathalyzer test back at the station.

Mobile Video Recording (MVR) Technology

MVR devices coordinate the operation of a video camera mounted in the police car with the overhead police lights on the top of the police car.  When the lights are turned on to pull a car over, the video starts recording.  The video is electronically time and date stamped.  Police officers wear portable remote microphones to record audio of your exchange.  Anything you say to the police will be a part of that video record.  Consequently, if you are pulled over under suspicion of drunk driving, you should not make any statements to the police until you have spoken to an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer (except basic information like your name, address, date of birth, etc.)  You may think you are helping your case, but you cannot anticipate how your words will later be used against you in court.

Video recording systems in older police stations tend to use dated technology.  The quality of the video and sound from these older wall-mounted devices varies greatly from precinct to precinct.  Some recordings may be so poor as to be completely indecipherable.

Does the Judge Always See The Video?

The judge will not see the video unless either your attorney or the prosecutor introduces it as evidence in your trial.  In order to be admitted, the arresting officer and/or officer who administered the breathalyzer must also testify.  The judge cannot view the video of his or her own accord.

There are objections that can be raised to prevent the judge from viewing the tape or admitting it as evidence.  Most often, a defendant will object that the recording contains statements that constitute admissions, on grounds that they have not been advised of their right to remain silent.  Even if these parts of the video are redacted, other parts of the recording can still be admitted (for example video of the defendant stumbling while being fingerprinted or slurring words).

How Can the Video Help Me?

In order to affect a valid traffic stop, the police need a justifiable reason to pull you over—otherwise all the evidence subsequently gathered must be excluded at your trial.  If the police claim to have pulled you over because you were swerving erratically, but the video shows that you were not, this may be grounds for dismissal of your case.

The video recording should also capture the field sobriety tests.  If, for example, you failed the “standing on one leg” test because it was administered on challenging terrain, you may receive the benefit of the doubt in court.

If a police officer requests that a driver take a breathalyzer test, the driver cannot legally refuse.  The officer is required to read from a prepared statement when asking the driver to take the test.  If there is a dispute as to whether a driver actually refused to take the test, a video recording can clear this up.

Also, if an officer does not adhere to the required 20-minute observation period prior to administering a breathalyzer, the video can prove this, and it could be grounds for an acquittal or dismissal.

If a recording is lost or taped over, this may constitute a due process violation that requires the dismissal of your case.

New Jersey DWI Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Knows How to Use Video Recordings to his Clients’ Advantage

If you have been arrested for drunk driving in New Jersey, you should begin crafting your defense right away. New Jersey DUI attorney Edward M. Janzekovich is known throughout New Jersey for consistently getting positive results for his clients. To learn more about how we can help, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout New Jersey including Monmouth County, Middlesex County, and Ocean County.