September 2, 2014

Six Years after Fatal DWI, Convicted New Jersey Motorist is Sentenced to Nine Years in Prison

If it's been stated once, it's been stated a thousand times: a New Jersey drunk driving defense can only be complicated by a traffic accident. As Garden State DWI and drug DUI defense attorneys, I and my colleagues are serious when we say that causing an accident while possibly intoxicated is usually going to make for a difficult time in court. This is why we usually recommend that anyone involved in a DWI- or drug DUI-related car, truck or motorcycle collision seek professional legal help as soon as possible following the incident.

When someone suggests that a drunken driving charge can be complicated by a traffic accident, it is also important to point out that causing injury or death to another individual can compound the offense, which should be cause to contact a qualified DWI lawyer. Whether one lives in Atlantic, Bergen, Hudson or Sussex County, when you add an injury-related or fatal parkway wreck to a charge of driving under the influence, law enforcement and the local courts take a dim view of the situation. Naturally, if proven innocent of any drug- or alcohol-related charges, the motorist can possibly breathe a sigh of relief, but most serious DUI-DWI arrests are hardly "a walk in the park" when property damage or personal injury is involved.

Of course, it is interesting that despite the logic behind not drinking and driving, these incidents do, in deed, take place on a fairly regular basis all year long. To avoid a DWI summons, our suggestion, as usual, is to avoid getting behind the wheel at any time when a person believes that they may possibly have some alcohol in their system. The same thing goes for the taking of certain prescription medications, which may lead to a drug DUI.

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August 31, 2014

The School Year Starts Soon; Beware Extended Penalties of a DWI in a School Zone

In deference to the children who may be crying salty tears at the prospect of the start of yet another school year, summer is officially drawing to a close and classes are beginning very soon all over the Garden State. But the end of summer, for children at least, is not necessarily the end of the fun for many adults around the state. Whether near the Jersey Shore or farther inland, as kids are going back to school, those motorists who allegedly drive drunk will continue to face enhanced penalties when those intoxicated driving offenses take place in a school zone.

With summer winding down fast, primary and secondary school students are returning to reading, writing and 'rithmatic, yet the consequences for drunken drivers remains more or lass the same as it was around Memorial Day. As the warm weather gives way to the cooler days of fall, it may be instructive to remind individuals who might think about taking a drink or two before hitting the road -- whether or not kids are actually in school or not -- that municipal cops as well as state police are still on the lookout for motorists who may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs (drug DUI).

We find over and over again that many people who end up arrested for DWI or DUI in a school zone are surprised by the increased penalties associated with such an offense. These situations usually crop up when a driver is convicted of intoxicated driving, which took place within 1,000 feet of school property. It is important to note that some individuals accused of DWI do not realize that it makes little difference whether school was in session at the time of the initial offense or if children were even present during the alleged occurrence.

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August 25, 2014

NJ Drunk Driving News: NBC Today Show Exposé Shines the Light on Smartphone Breathalyzer Apps

Most anyone who has been formally charged with driving under the influence of alcohol here in the Garden State is probably familiar with the way in which local or state police obtain evidence of intoxication, that is, the use of a breathalyzer machine to determine a driver's blood-alcohol concentration, or BAC. For many people convicted of DWI, the machine most popular with law enforcement agencies across New Jersey is the Alcotest 7110 manufactured by Draeger Industries.

This particular BAC detecting tool, was first put into service more than 10 years ago. For anyone who has attempted to fight a DWI charge by calling into question the accuracy of the Alcotest device, it may not be a surprise to hear that a 2008 case heard by the New Jersey Supreme Court resulted in ruling that held the Alcotest 7110 to be scientifically reliable (State v. Chun, 194 N.J. 54 [2008]).

It could be said that ever since the police began using the first breathalyzer machines, some drivers have likely wondered if they, too, could measure their BAC levels before getting behind the wheel of a car or truck. The problem even into the 21st century is that the breathalyzer machines used by the police may be portable, but they are hardly convenient devices to carry on one's person state. Still, having a personal device that could warn a motorist that he or she is legally drunk is something that many people want to have - and do have now, thanks to smartphone technology.

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August 22, 2014

Drunk Driving Defense News: Don't Let a New Jersey DWI Put the Brakes on Your Career

Despite frequent warnings from traffic safety advocates and police agencies all across the country regarding the dangers of drunken driving and the negative effects that a drinking and driving conviction can have on one's personal and professional life, tens of thousands of motorists are arrested for DUI-DWI every month in the United States. Amazingly, almost one-third of all drunk driving arrests involve a repeat offense; based on this fact alone, it is certain that many American drivers, including motorists from the Garden State, are treading on dangerous ground when it comes to suffering not only physical injury, but also collateral effects on one's career and livelihood.

Surprisingly, some may say, is that the overwhelming majority of DWI-DUI arrests entail a motorist being stopped returning from a likely pleasant outing with friends, family or coworkers. With the number of people participating in these kinds of social events, the odds of having at least one sober individual who could drive an intoxicated individual home is probably quite high. Yet, week after week, hundreds of New Jersey drivers are hit with summonses for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

It is perhaps wise to remind readers that even one drunk driving conviction can have a devastating impact on a person's ability to get to work, or even cause problems for an individual as far as maintaining one's job. These days, with an already tight job market, does it really makes sense to risk losing one's job because of having a drink or two with friends? For anyone who questions the potential consequences of a DWI conviction, we have some sobering thoughts on the subject.

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August 17, 2014

Ocean County Woman Charged with Driving While Intoxicated, Plus Child Endangerment

As experienced DWI defense lawyers, my law firm understands how many drivers who are accused of DWI can be quite nervous about the serious consequences they may be facing following a drunken driving arrest. It is important to note, however, that some instances of drunk driving may be much more damaging for one person than for another. In fact, a DWI conviction -- or even simply an arrest for alleged DWI-DUI can severely impact some individual's future career opportunities.

Commercial truck drivers come immediately to mind when the topic of intoxicated driving comes up. But other people, not just professional drivers, can suffer the aftereffects of a DUI conviction in many ways. The question of trust, employee safety and company liability are all serious issues that companies, both large and small, must consider when an employee is found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Like it or not, the complications of a DUI-DWI arrest and subsequent conviction can have long-term effects on many New Jersey drivers.

We were reminded of the havoc that a DWI conviction can have on some individuals just a short time ago when we read a news report of a Bayville woman who was taken into custody by Toms River police after she allegedly slammed into a fire hydrant with her car early on a Friday afternoon. Apparently, the 50-year-old woman had recently been hired as a babysitter by a local woman to take care of her son at home. Based on police reports, the officers stated that the babysitter had been discovered drunk at her employer's home earlier that day.

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August 14, 2014

Drunk Driving Defense Update: Some New Jersey DWI Cases can be Appealed following a Conviction

Here in New Jersey, being arrested for DWI or driving under the influence of alcohol is different from many states because Garden State motorists accused of impaired driving are not permitted a trial by jury. Instead, drivers who have been charged with DWI or drug DUI will get a court trial with only a judge to decide the defendant's guilt or innocence. As with many aspects of the legal system, there are pluses and minuses associated with a non-jury trial.

As experienced DUI-DWI defense attorneys, my colleagues and I know that with the lack of a jury trial, a defendant who is found guilty by a New Jersey municipal court judge in a standard drunk driving trial will usually be able to challenge that decision in a high court under the legal concept known as a "de novo appeal." In such instances, the de novo appeal for a New Jersey DWI conviction will usually be heard by a second, county level Superior Court judge.

Under our system of laws, an appeal is usually filed by one of the two parties following a particular legal outcome arrived at by either a judge or jury, and which typically seeks a formal change to an official court decision. In broad terms, in a typical de novo appeal, the judge will review the trial transcripts from the original hearing, as well as listen to additional arguments from the defendant's lawyer and the attorneys from the prosecutor's office that originally filed the charges against the motorist.

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August 9, 2014

Garden State DWI News: Internist at Newark-Wayne Community Hospital Censured due to DWI Guilty Plea

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.

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August 7, 2014

Authorities Focus on Possible Drug Use by Essex County Tour Bus Driver following NYC Crash

As Garden State drunk driving attorneys, we understand how even a single DWI or drug DUI conviction can have a ripple effect through a person's personal and professional life. And while drinking and driving may cause serious consequences for the average commuter, not the least of which is the complication of getting around without the use of a car for months on end, the story can be much worse for a professional driver where the loss of driving privileges can severely affect his or her ability to earn a living.

As experienced New Jersey DWI defense lawyers, my legal team is well aware of the thousands of dollars that can be on the line when a motorist is facing a conviction for intoxicated driving, but as we mentioned previously, a professional truck or bus driver who loses his or her commercial driver's license (or CDL) may be looking at a dim future, certainly in the short run. For individuals like the Essex County man who is currently under investigation for his part in the crash of two double-decker tour buses in Manhattan recently, the threat of losing one's CDL, and hence one's livelihood, can be nothing short of catastrophic.

According to the news articles that are popping up on the internet following the much publicized bus collision in Times Square this past Tuesday, the New Jersey man who was piloting one of the vehicles may have been high on some kind of controlled dangerous substance (CDS) at the time of the wreck. Based on reports, while there was no evidence that the bus driver had consumed alcohol prior to the collision, police did take the man into custody after he allegedly failed a field sobriety test at the scene.

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August 3, 2014

Essex County Intoxicated Driving News: Caldwell Police Set to Participate in Upcoming Anti-DWI Campaign

Over the years, getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while possibly intoxicated has become more and more risky from a legal standpoint here in the Garden State. Not only is driving drunk dangerous from a traffic safety point of view, but the chances of being caught and prosecuted have been rising for those who take the chance that they may be legally drunk.

Whether one drives near the Jersey Shore or farther inland, police throughout the Garden State will be participating in the so-called "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign, a nationwide drunk driving enforcement effort beginning on August 15 and running through September 1. As New Jersey DWI defense lawyers, my colleagues and I have represented numerous clients over the years who have been stopped for what seemed like a simple traffic infraction only to fine themselves arrested and charged with drunk driving.

Needless to say, the stakes can be quite high these days, as those motorists who are convicted of DWI or drug DUI face thousands of dollars in fines, fees and mandatory insurance premium increases. This upcoming campaign will likely include enhanced DWI-DUI road patrols, plus additional sobriety roadblocks and DWI checkpoints. As usual, this late summer enforcement effort is timed to coincide with the Labor Day holiday, a time of year that is known for its parties and special events where individuals often consume alcoholic beverages and then sometimes get behind the wheel in an impaired state.

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August 2, 2014

Statewide, New Jersey Police Departments Continue Tradition of Strict DWI and Drug DUI Enforcement

Few people would argue that drunk driving does not present a variety of public safety concerns. But this doesn't change the oft-repeated scenario of some innocent motorist being arrested for DWI or drug DUI without sufficient evidence. For those individuals who are charged with drunken or drug-impaired operation of a motor vehicle, even with poor or improperly collected evidence there is still a chance that the court may issue a guilty verdict -- all the more reason, in fact, to consult with a qualified New Jersey DWI-DUI defense lawyer attorney before stepping foot into a courtroom or talking with the local prosecuting attorney.

In reality, there are some motorists who do get arrested and subsequently charged with DWI or drug DUI when the facts do not necessarily support the accusations. As Garden State drunken driving defense lawyers, my law firm is dedicated to assisting individuals who believe that they have been unjustly accused of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Our job, in such cases, is to provide the best possible legal defense.

There is no doubt that those convicted of drunken driving can face stiff monetary fines and other penalties, including jail time, but DWI-DUI offenses are much less acceptable by society in general, the stigma of a drunk driving conviction can have a serious impact on a person's private life and professional career. In addition to affecting one's future employment, a DWI or drug DUI can have a negative effect on an individual's standing in his or her community, as well as causing potential problems with family members, including one's spouse or in-laws.

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July 31, 2014

Arrested by Police for Drunken Driving? Fighting Those DWI Charges can be a Viable Option

Making the decision to fight DWI or drug DUI charges in the Garden State can be fraught with much anxiety and many questions. As experienced trial lawyers, my colleagues and I have defended hundreds of people over the years against all manner of civil and criminal charges. Every month we meet with dozens of New Jersey motorists who have been accused of intoxicated or drug-impaired driving, with the intent to have those charges reduced or dropped altogether. We know that the trepidation many people feel walking into a courtroom is completely normal, but it should not prevent you from fighting for your rights.

As Bergen County DWI-DUI attorneys, we believe that taking a proactive approach to protecting your legal rights can pay off in the end. My legal team here at the Law Offices of John F. Marshall, is highly regarded throughout the state of New Jersey, not only because of our seasoned and expert defense attorneys, but also because of the results that we obtain year in and year out. When we prepare a client's defense case, we endeavor to exhaust every avenue while thoroughly investigating the details of the arrest, as well as presenting a comprehensive legal strategy as a challenge to the prosecution's evidence.

It goes without saying that law enforcement agencies throughout New Jersey have a dim view of motorists suspected of DWI or drug DUI. Similarly, our state's drunk driving laws provide for some very harsh penalties for those drivers who are found guilty of violating the DWI-DUI legal statutes. Quite simply, a motorist is considered to have been driving under the influence in New Jersey if his or her blood-alcohol concentration (or BAC) is 0.08 percent or more. Penalties associated with DWI-DUI are also based on the BAC measurement determined at the time of the arrest.

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July 28, 2014

Prohibition Redux: Marijuana Getting the "Alcoholic" Treatment

As civil and criminal trial lawyers here in the Garden State, a large portion of our caseload is represented by client's who have been accused of drinking and driving. Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is a long-standing public safety problem here in New Jersey, which is why a great deal of time and effort is spent by state government, police agencies and our judicial system in the curbing of this admittedly dangerous activity.

Similarly, drug DUI is also viewed as a safety issue on public roadways, and so our state laws include penalties for driving under the influence of hallucinogenic, habit-forming and narcotic substances, typically grouped into what is known as controlled dangerous substances, or CDSs. Marijuana -- also referred to as pot, weed, hash or cannabis -- is on the prohibited CDS list.

Although New Jersey, the federal government, and most other states still view marijuana as an illicit drug when it comes to recreational use, more and more people are leaning toward the legalization of pot, even beyond the legalized "medicinal" applications that even our state has adopted. Look at the public attitude toward pot in places like Colorado and you will see there is a huge revolution in the making.

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July 28, 2014

Bergen County DWI News: Driver Hits Police Officer's Patrol Car at Drunk Driving Checkpoint

As many Garden State drivers already know, DWI and drug DUI roadblocks are frequent, if not somewhat random, occurrences throughout the New Jersey area. As Red Bank drunk driving defense lawyers, my colleague and I know that a percentage of motorists who are charged with DWI end up being arrested for intoxicated driving at these so-called sobriety checkpoints, which show up in certain "trouble spots" in and around Monmouth, Ocean and Atlantic County, as well as numerous other parts of the state.

For the average person who turns up at one of these drunk driving roadblocks, if he or she has had any amount of alcohol to drink prior to the encounter, a potential nightmare scenario is being taken into custody on suspicion of DWI-DUI. Simply one or two bottles of beer or glasses of wine during dinner can sometimes result in a major legal problem for any driver charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. We are well aware of this because we defend many individuals who have been accused of drunken driving, as well as other alcohol- and drug-related traffic offenses.

My legal team also understands that when it comes to being stopped at a DWI checkpoint, those who are arrested or served a summons for drunken driving are many times curious whether these commonly used police enforcement tools are actually legal under the laws of the State of New Jersey, not to mention that of the U.S. Constitution. Clients may often ask about the fairness of DWI-DUI roadblocks, which is completely understandable given the random nature of these checkpoints.

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July 25, 2014

Arrested in New Jersey for Drug DUI: Could One's Fate Hinge on a DRE's Testimony?

Every day, dozens of drivers all around the Garden State find themselves in the unenviable position of being arrested and later charged with impaired driving. While the safety of our roadways is everyone's concern, as Monmouth County trial lawyers working in the area of DWI and drug DUI law, we understand how innocent individuals can occasionally be accused of offenses they believe they did not commit. One type of traffic-related offense that happens quite often in our state is that of impaired driving resulting from the use or abuse of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS).

Under New Jersey law (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50[a]), motorists can be arrested for operating a car, truck or motorcycle if a police officer believes that the individual is under the influence of a hallucinogenic, narcotic, or habit-producing substance. Unlike drunken driving, which can be quantified by measuring an individual's blood-alcohol concentration (or BAC), a charge of drug DUI should usually be supported by the opinion of an expert in the field of drugs and medicines that have the ability to cause impairment.

While the requirements affecting a drug DUI arrest have been somewhat relaxed while the topic is being argued on appeal in the New Jersey court system, the issue of who can and should determine a driver's impairment is all the more important to those facing charges of driving under the influence of an illegal substance, or even a doctor-prescribed medication.

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July 23, 2014

Monmouth County DWI News: State Police to Watch for Intoxicated Toby Keith Fans this Friday

While country music star Toby Keith is playing the PNC Bank Arts Center this Friday evening, the New Jersey State Police will have their own event in progress that night, waiting for intoxicated fans to stop in at a sobriety checkpoint being planned in the area. According to news reports, state troopers will be manning a DWI roadblock in the along a stretch of the Garden State Parkway starting early during the concert and thereafter.

We mention this because here in New Jersey motorists often run across late-night sobriety roadblocks erected by state and local police agencies in order to catch potentially drunk or otherwise impaired individuals. This is in addition to the typical saturation patrols that can take place at certain times of the year when the incidence of drunken driving is known to be higher.

As New Jersey drunk driving defense attorneys, my legal staff knows how easily someone can be caught in a situation where an evening of fun can turn into a legal nightmare. Just a drink or two during an event such as a music concert or sporting event can result in some level of alcohol in one's bloodstream, which if high enough can result in DWI charges.

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