As New Jersey drunken driving defense lawyers, my colleagues and I know that a large percentage of people have no real idea of the long-term effects that a DWI or drug DUI conviction can have on a person and his or her family. Furthermore, those who may be concerned about the financial implications of a drunk driving arrest and possible guilty verdict may not fully grasp the extent of the financial pain that may be felt for years after a conviction for intoxicated vehicle operation.
Here in New Jersey, as in many parts of the country, a drug DUI or DWI conviction can result in a range of penalties including license suspension, fines, insurance premium increases, jail time, probation, alcohol and drug education classes, and possible installation of an ignition interlock device (IID). But if a person’s job involves driving a car, truck or bus, the implications go well beyond the relatively minor financial penalties and other inconveniences of a guilty verdict — some may find that themselves facing firing, unemployment and a serious impediment to one’s career.
Even for those who don’t necessarily rely on their ability to drive can find an employer is much less enthusiastic about any kind of drunken driving conviction. Such can be the case for all manner of jobs and employment situations. Take, for instance, the story of a physician at the Newark-Wayne Community Hospital who received a censure by his state’s Department of Health following a guilty plea to a driving while intoxicated charge in 2013.
According to news reports, Dr. Arun Nagpaul received the censure, as well as a reprimand, plus a $1,500 fine from the New York State Board for Professional Medical Conduct. Although the doctor told the news reporter nothing like that had ever happened before, the internist was reportedly very embarrassing and humbled by the entire episode. Licensed to practice in that state since 2001, the doctor also serves as the medical director for the county public health department, as well as being on the county health services advisory board.
The reprimand and censure took place following the guilty plea entered by Dr. Nagpaul back in December 2013. That charge — driving while intoxicated — is a misdemeanor in New York State. After pleading guilty, the man was fined by the court $500, plus a $400 surcharge. According to Dr. Nagpaul, the arrest arose from a police traffic stop that took place in December 2012. At that time, he told the court that he was not working at the time and he was not “on call.” Also, it appears that there was no property damage nor injuries associated with the incident. According to the news article we saw, after about a year of legal maneuvering, the doctor’s lawyer advised him not to contest the DWI charge.
Dr. Nagpaul mentioned to reporters that he voluntary submitted to alcohol and substance abuse evaluations, after which it was determined that he did not require treatment. According to the news story, the physician told the press that his privileges at the hospital were never restricted, and he is being randomly tested by his employer for alcohol and/or drugs. Needless to say, this entire ordeal has likely been a significant learning experience for this gentleman.
As New Jersey DWI-DUI defense lawyers, we understand how just one or two drinks at the wrong time can send a person down a rather costly and often embarrassing road. As many people have already learned, saying yes to even a single alcoholic beverage before getting behind the wheel of a car, truck or motorcycle can lead to unintended consequences. It is usually the better part of valor to take public transport or find a sober friend to drive you home.
Wayne County doctor censured after pleading to DWI charge, DemocratAndChronicle.com, July 14, 2014