Riverhead - (WALK) A fourth grade teacher will be sentenced in January after pleading guilty to drunk driving charges Wednesday, a weapons charge against him was dismissed on a technicality, according to Suffolk prosecutors.
Joseph Johnson, 40, of Southampton is employed at Philips Avenue Elementary School by the Riverhead Central School District. He was arrested in April of last year by Southampton Village police and charged with driving while intoxicated and criminal possession of a weapon.
Johnson was stopped by police at about 3:30 a.m. on Hill Street in Southampton on April 21, 2012. After his arrest police searched his car and found a loaded .45 calibre handgun in the glove box, said prosecutors.
After a review of Johnson's arrest and the post-arrest search of his car, the district attorney's office determined it could not sustain the burden of proof necessary to prove the search was legal. A Suffolk County judge agreed with the DA's conclusion and dismissed the weapons charge.
Johnson was removed from his classroom responsibilities as a teacher and coach of the Riverhead High School junior varsity basketball team, and reassigned to his home following his arrest. He is scheduled to return to court for sentencing on January 8.
Photo: Chris Potter