Defending Civil Service Workers In Discipline Hearings
As a civil service employee, you have logged years of hard work and built a successful career. You look forward to enjoying your retirement with the life-long benefits of a guaranteed pension and comprehensive health insurance.
But one big mistake can put all that at risk. Either an off-the-job arrest or an on-the-job accusation of misconduct could cause your employer to file disciplinary charges against you. Your employment could be terminated, leaving you with only the retirement benefits earned up to that date.
Employment And Labor Law Knowledge Paired With Experienced Criminal Defense
Joey Jackson Law, PLLC., has more than 25 years’ experience in representing and defending civil service employees in New York. We will protect your rights in a job-related case and defend your freedom if you are contending with criminal allegations.
We advise and defend clients in civil service employment matters, including:
- Investigative interviews
- Disciplinary due process hearings
- Disciplinary appeals
- Medical separation hearings
We also provide comprehensive criminal defense services for clients accused of crimes such as theft/larceny, DWI, domestic violence, assault, drug possession, and more.
What Should A New York Civil Service Employee Do If Arrested?
If you are ever arrested, you may feel overwhelmed by questions and concerns. Here are three simple yet critical steps to take.
Call your union representative. If you are a union member, talk to your union rep right away. Your union rep may be of some assistance in fighting disciplinary charges at work, but be aware that they cannot provide the legal advice you need to deal with a criminal case.
Choose the right attorney. If you are arrested on criminal charges, you need a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in representing civil servants. Your attorney must understand how the outcome of your criminal case can affect your civil service job. For example, a plea bargain that results in a criminal conviction with a minimal sentence may be a good result in some cases, but maybe not if it is likely to result in termination from your job. Our team is ideally suited to defend civil service employees because we understand the procedures, regulations, and penalties of both systems.
Inform your employer. Most civil service employers require you to inform them of any arrest as well as the final disposition of your case. Possible dispositions include dismissal of all charges due to insufficient evidence, acquittal (that is, found not guilty), or conviction of the original charge(s) or some lesser charge(s). Your employer can file disciplinary charges against you simply because you were arrested, even if you are not convicted. Joey Jackson Law, PLLC., knows how to make a strong case in your defense against disciplinary charges stemming from a criminal arrest and its disposition.
Unique Issues for Civil Service Employees
If you are facing both a criminal charge and civil service disciplinary action, you will ideally have one attorney handling both. Your attorney must understand the unique issues of your two-part case, including:
The different rules that apply in criminal court vs. civil service disciplinary hearings. Many civil servants choose our team of attorneys because we understand the legal nuances of both systems.
In criminal court, the district attorney must prove that you are guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which means roughly 95% certainty that you committed each and every element of the crime. You can testify on your own behalf or not, and choosing not to testify cannot be held against you.
In contrast, in a civil service disciplinary hearing, a decision will be based on the “preponderance of the evidence,” which requires only 51% certainty that you committed the alleged offense. In other words, you “more likely than not” committed the offense. This standard of proof is much easier for your employer to meet. The burden is on you to explain why you should not be penalized for the alleged misconduct, and a failure to testify on your own behalf can be held against you.
The impact of your job title on your defense. Joey Jackson Law, PLLC., has defended a variety of civil service employees, from police and corrections officers to public transit employees. The impact of an arrest or disciplinary charge will vary depending on the type of offense and your job title. For example, certain conduct by a law enforcement officer could constitute a violation of their oath of office and result in termination of their employment. Similar actions by a sanitation worker might have no effect on their employment.
The impact of criminal penalties as well as collateral consequences. If convicted, a criminal sentence may include monetary fines, restitution for damages, community service, incarceration (usually followed by a period of parole supervision), probation, a drug treatment program, a conditional discharge (i.e., a conviction but no punishment as long as you comply with the court’s conditions, such as not committing another offense for one year), or an unconditional discharge (i.e., a conviction with no punishment and no conditions). Joey Jackson Law, PLLC., will negotiate on your behalf for a disposition that will have the least impact on your employment. The most desirable outcome, obviously, is no conviction.
Aside from any criminal sentence, a criminal conviction can have many collateral consequences, which vary depending on the type of crime.
- Some offenses can make you ineligible for specific civil service jobs, particularly in law enforcement. If you are dismissed from your civil service job, you could lose your pension and benefits.
- Some convictions can lead to loss of the right to vote, to serve on a jury, or to hold a public office.
- Some convictions may bar you from living in public housing, having a driver’s license, or receiving public benefits.
- Non-citizens can be deported, and professional license holders such as lawyers and medical professionals can lose their license to practice.
The need to manage the total effects of criminal charges plus disciplinary action. Prior to resolving your criminal case, the potential collateral consequences must be considered. After a criminal case has been resolved, Joey Jackson Law, PLLC., will continue to represent you on any related disciplinary charges initiated by your employer. Being familiar with all of the facts and defenses in your criminal case, we will be in the best position to make a strong case for your continued, penalty-free employment.
Contact Us For A Free Case Evaluation
If you are a civil servant who has been arrested or told that you are being investigated, first call your union, then contact Joey Jackson Law, PLLC., at 833-563-9522. Our team is ideally suited to represent you because we have a deep understanding of both the criminal court system and the civil service disciplinary process.