Civil Service Criminal Representation
Criminal Arrest of Civil Servants & It’s Affects on Freedom and Employment
You have a successful career as a civil servant and working your way toward retiring with your pension. You’ve done everything right but now you find yourself on the wrong side of the law. You are being investigated or you have been arrested.
The attorneys at Watford Jackson, PLLC have more than 40 years combined experience representing members of various civil service unions with extensive experience representing law enforcement members of service (MOS) on criminal cases and the related disciplinary charges filed by their employers. As a civil servant, if you get arrested, most employers require you to report the fact that you have been arrested. Additionally, your employer will require you to inform them of the resolution or disposition of your criminal charges. Consequently, your employer may generate disciplinary charges against you due to the fact that you were arrested. In some cases, your arrest does not have to result in a conviction in order for your employer to initiate disciplinary charges against you as a civil servant.
If you are a civil servant who has been arrested and is seeking criminal representation, it is important that you hire an attorney who has experience in representing civil servants on criminal charges that are related or unrelated to their employment. Some cases go to trial while most do not. It is important that your criminal attorney is aware of the fact that you are a civil servant and that a criminal conviction or non-criminal conviction may affect your ability to keep your civil service job thereby placing your pension in jeopardy.
It is common knowledge that a criminal conviction can lead to traditional forms of punishment such as incarceration, parole supervision following incarceration or probation in lieu of incarceration and/or a monetary fine. People with criminal convictions face a variety of additional legal effects known as collateral consequences. These collateral consequences may affect many areas of life. Some convictions can lead to deportation, loss of the right to vote, being ineligible to serve on a jury, or to hold a public office. Additionally, a conviction may prevent an individual from continuing to live in public housing, hold a drivers license, or become ineligible for public benefits. Most importantly as a civil servant criminal convictions can affect employment as a law enforcement officer, a peace officer and many other positions as a public servant. Moreover criminal conviction can cause forfeiture of a pension, make a person eligible for a license or a permit needed to be employed or to do business. The attorneys at Watford Jackson and their extensive experience in this area are aware of the wide variety of potential collateral consequences related to your criminal case that may impact your continued employment. Prior to resolving your criminal case, we explore the potential collateral consequences of your criminal case while keeping in mind your status as a MOS or civil servant.
At Watford Jackson, we also offer continued representation on the related disciplinary matter that may be initiated by your employer after the criminal case has been resolved. We will be familiar with all of the facts and defenses of your criminal case when we continue to represent you on the related disciplinary charges that may be generated by your employer as a result of your arrest.
If you are a civil servant who has been arrested or told that you will be arrested, first you call your union, then you call the attorneys at Watford Jackson, PLLC. We Stand For You.
I was arrested and all of my charges were dismissed. My employer is now bringing me up on disciplinary charges related to my dismissed criminal case. Can they do that? Isn’t that double jeopardy?
Even if your criminal charges have been dismissed, your employer can still bring disciplinary charges related to the same underlying facts that led to your arrest. It is not double jeopardy when your employer does this. In a disciplinary, administrative or civil matter, double jeopardy does apply. Double jeopardy is a legal term that exists only in criminal prosecutions and does not apply in disciplinary, administrative or civil matters for several reasons.
First, the penalties in a disciplinary matter are not the same as the penalties in a criminal matter. Simply put, in a criminal matter your liberty is at stake while in a disciplinary matter your employment is at stake. Moreover, you cannot go to jail as a penalty on your disciplinary matter. Another difference between criminal and disciplinary matters is the standard of proof. In a criminal matter the prosecution must prove the charges against an individual beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, generally, on numeric a scale from 0 to 100, proof beyond a reasonable doubt is 95 to 98% proof that a person committed each and every element of the crimes charged. By contrast, in a disciplinary, administrative or civil matter, the standard of proof is preponderance of the evidence. Generally, on a numerically on a scale from 0 to 100, preponderance of the evidence is 51% versus 49%. Stated another way, preponderance of the evidence is also known as “more likely than not” that a fact occurred or did not occur.
A real life illustration of double jeopardy not applying to a civil matter that is related to criminal case is the O.J. Simpson criminal trial. After trial, he was found not guilty of causing the death of two people. However, when he was sued in civil court for causing the same deaths, he was found to be civilly liable because of the lower standard of proof which was preponderance of the evidence and not proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
In conclusion, just because you may have been found not guilty after trial or your criminal charges were dismissed without a trial does not prevent your employer from bringing disciplinary charges against you based upon on the same allegations that led to your arrest.
I have heard that I am being investigated. What should I do?
If you have learned that you are being investigated, you should immediately contact your union representative and you should also immediately contact an attorney. Some investigations may result in no action against you however; some investigations may result in disciplinary charges and/or criminal charges being filed against you.
If you are confronted by a supervisor who is questioning you regarding an allegation of employment related misconduct, you are entitled to request a union representative prior to answering any questions that could elicit a response which may be used against you in that disciplinary investigation. If you are confronted by an investigator employed by your employer, you are entitled to request union representation prior to answering any questions. You can also request to have an attorney present prior to answering any questions.
If you are confronted by investigators from the Department of Investigation, Inspector General or any law enforcement agency, you should immediately request to have an attorney present before you answer any questions. Under these circumstances, if you only request a union representative, one does not have to be provided to you if the investigation is a criminal investigation. Moreover, in a criminal investigation, the law enforcement agency investigators know that a union representative is not the equivalent of an attorney. They may seek to still question you if you only ask for a union representative. If you request an attorney, they must cease questioning you. Therefore, at Watford Jackson, it is our position that if you are confronted either by any agency investigator, any law enforcement agency investigator or anyone asking you questions about matters related to your job or unrelated to your job you should immediately request to have an attorney present before you answer any questions. Failure to do so could lead to the statements that you make to those investigators being used against in a criminal prosecution as well as in any disciplinary investigation.
If you are being investigated or have been told that you are going to be investigated, first you call your union, then you all the attorneys at Watford Jackson, PLLC. We Stand For You.
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