Being arrested on suspicion of drunk driving is obviously a concern for anyone affected. However, DUI charges can be absolutely devastating for those who must be able to operate a vehicle for a living. This is particularly true for one New Jersey woman school bus driver who was recently handed DWI charges.
Cell phones led to the undoing of one school bus operator in Nov. 2011. The 47-year-old woman, employed by a private bus company, had a bus full of students in central New Jersey. Some of the 25 students on the bus sent text messages to their parents complaining about the actions of the driver. The students apparently suggested she was operating the vehicle in an erratic manner. It was reported that a few of the parents, in turn, called authorities about the messages they had received.
Though there were no reports of accidents, police apparently located the driver at school. At this point, the bus operator was accused of drunk driving. Now, she has been indicted for endangering children as well. There was no indication that the woman submitted to any field sobriety or blood alcohol testing.
A DWI charge in New Jersey is serious under any circumstances. When the driver has children in the vehicle, the potential consequences multiply should a conviction ultimately be obtained. However, a criminal accusation is just that -- only an accusation. Prosecutors now have the burden of proving the allegations in court by a measure of proof characterized as beyond a reasonable doubt. It is paramount that the accused woman retains all of her legal rights in order to ensure she is treated fairly and impartially under the law, particularly since the prosecutors are likely to push hard for conviction.
Source: The Republic, "NJ school bus driver indicted on child endangerment charge stemming from drunk driving case," Nov. 4, 2012