Riverhead Man Sentenced To Probation For DWI

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A Riverside teacher arrested in April 2012 for driving drunk while in possession of a loaded weapon has been sentenced to three years’ probation, officials have confirmed.

Joe Johnson, an elementary school teacher in the Riverhead School District since 2000, was sentenced to three years’ probation with alcohol and narcotics conditions, a six-month suspension of his driver’s license with a 20-day stay in a program designed to combat drunk driving, and a $395 mandatory surcharge, according to Robert Clifford, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota’s office.

Mr. Johnson was arrested on April 2, 2012 by Southampton Village Police. Officers said they pulled him over at about 3:30 a.m. on Hill Street that day for multiple vehicle and traffic violations. They said he was driving drunk, but also that he was in possession of a loaded .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol, despite having been previously convicted of a crime and lacking a valid pistol permit.

But in November, Mr. Johnson pleaded guilty to DWI and had the weapons charges dismissed. The district attorney’s office determined that it “could not sustain the burden of proof necessary to establish the legality of the search” in connection with the weapons charges, according to a press release from Robert Clifford, a spokesman for District Attorney Thomas Spota.

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