Whether you are a high school teacher, elementary school nurse, administrative staff or a paraprofessional, if you are employed by the New York City Department of Education (DOE) an arrest and prosecution raises numerous flags in both the criminal court and with the City of New York. Simply, any arrest – misdemeanor or felony, through a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) or being hauled before a judge in criminal court – involves numerous moving pieces that you must address to preserve your career. Certainly, any arrest for any person is compromising. A shoplifting arrest in Manhattan where you are given a DAT for PL 155.25 or PL 165.40, a cocaine or other drug possession charging PL 220.03 in Brooklyn or even a turnstile jump or failure to pay a cab resulting in an arrest for PL 165.15 in Queens may not seem to be the most serious crime in the spectrum of New York City prosecutions, but to a DOE teacher or other employee, the concerns are real. Again, any arrest is compromising, but even if there is a limited likelihood for incarceration and you are not charged with an Assault, Grand Larceny or DWI, there are steps you must take in addition to those you are pursuing before the criminal court where you and your criminal defense attorney are fighting the allegations. To start, you should examine and review Chancellor’s Regulation C-105 that dictates the policy and management for arrests involving DOE employees.
Do not misconstrue this blog as the answer to your legal questions. Instead the value of this entry is to assist you in educating yourself, finding the right criminal defense attorney and understanding your responsibilities as a DOE employee arrested in New York or elsewhere. Section (9) of Chancellor’s Regulation C-105 states in pertinent part that:
Any person employed by or in the Department of Education, or employed by a Department of Education employee to provide services in Department facilities (i.e., custodial helper) who has been arrested and charged with a felony, misdemeanor or violation must immediately notify the OPI and his/her building or office supervisor in writing and provide a copy of the criminal court complaint. Notification to a supervisor alone does not satisfy this reporting requirement. OPI must be notified separately in writing.
What complicates matters involving arrests of DOE employees is that not only is failure to comply with their rules a potential infraction and violation, but you may be removed from the classroom and reassigned while the case is pending. Moreover, you will be asked for a copy of the criminal court complaint. Sounds easy enough, but if you are issued a Desk Appearance Ticket, there is no criminal court complaint to provide the DOE. In such a case, then what? What is required and will this satisfy your obligations under Chancellor’s Regulation C-105?
As your case plays out in criminal court, it may be that your criminal attorney has a particular defense that is passive or aggressive. Should you try to get your case advanced to resolve it as early as possible instead of waiting weeks or months? Is the best defense one that that is about mitigation of your conduct or should you fight through to the end because you did nothing wrong or the evidence will fail to bare out a crime? Obviously, defenses you and your criminal defense lawyer ultimately decide is best for you cannot be hashed out in a blog entry.
Make no mistake. If you are given a DAT for a misdemeanor crime such as PL 221.10 for smoking marijuana in public or you are charged with more serious crimes such as possessing a gravity knife in violation of NY PL 265.01 or a felony bar fight for Second Degree Assault in violation of NY PL 120.05, you have two distinct problems that are also intertwined. A criminal conviction can destroy your career, but mismanaging the DOE can also set you back significantly. Whomever you ultimately retain for your criminal case make sure he or she can provide you with the documents and materials you need and be a resource in your dealings with the DOE. No, a criminal defense attorney is not an employment lawyer, but taking the proper steps to address the issues with the DOE while fighting your criminal case with your attorney in criminal court can mean the difference between a life altering mistake and one that merely causes you some emotional, albeit significant, anxiety.
To read about any of the crimes including PL 155.25, PL 165.40, PL 220.03, PL 221.10 as well as numerous other offenses found in the New York Penal Law, the websites and blogs below contain significant materials that are easy to read and understand without a legal background.
Saland Law PC is a New York criminal defense firm representing clients throughout New York who are accused of criminal activities. The former Manhattan prosecutors at Saland Law PC have successfully represented countless teachers and other DOE employees throughout New York City.