In the state of New Jersey, there were 24,313 driving under the influence (DUI) arrests in 2015, according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute. State law in New Jersey is different than 48 other states in that it treats DUIs as motor vehicle offenses instead of criminal violations. This results in DUIs permanently staying on drivers’ Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) records. It also has some benefits for how DUI offenders deal with their mistakes after a conviction.
Why You Cannot Expunge a DUI Conviction
The simple answer is that because DUIs are motor vehicle offenses, it cannot be expunged because expungement refers only to criminal proceedings. DUIs are recorded on the DMV records of each driver, but not the criminal record.
However, this doesn’t mean offenders won’t face criminal penalties. Offenders are arraigned in Municipal Court before a judge who hears evidence and issues a ruling himself on the issues in the charge. There is no jury trial. Prison time is possible from a DUI, especially when a driver commits a third offense. By law, third-time offenders are sentenced to a prison term of 180 days or more.
DUI and Employment
Because a DUI is not considered a crime in New Jersey, drunk drivers applying for jobs after their conviction do not have to answer, “yes,” if the employer asks if they have been convicted of a crime. Often job applications ask if a person has been convicted of anything but a minor traffic offense. DUIs are major traffic offenses, so in those cases, an applicant with a DUI on his driving record truthfully should answer, “yes”.
Employers often purchase third-party background checks as part of their hiring process. From the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which governs third-party background checks as well as credit reports, 20 different types of information may be included in the report including driving record, vehicle registration, criminal record, court records and incarceration records. New Jersey does not report DUIs to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) — one of the most widely used archives. Depending on how extensive a background check the employer does, the DUI may or may not come to their attention.
Employment Discrimination for DUIs
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from denying employment of individuals with a conviction unless they can prove a compelling business reason. Jobs that require driving have obvious compelling business reasons to discriminate against DUI offenders. The law can be fairly vague as to what is a compelling business reason, and DUI job applicants may be better off not disclosing their arrest if possible. Certain professions, like teachers, nurses, doctors and law enforcement officials, require disclosure as a condition of employment
The law firm Dash Farrow LLP is committed to protecting people accused of DUI. Contact our office at (856) 235-8300 or contact us online today to set up an appointment for a free consultation with a lawyer.
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