With the holidays fast upon us there is a more than better chance that someone you know may be stopped by state police or local law enforcement for some type of traffic violation. Of those Garden State motorists stopped by police for offenses such as speeding, improper lane change, or an number of so-called minor traffic infractions, there is always a chance that the driver may be accused of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
Being impaired by beer, wine, hard liquor or prescription medication (drug DUI) is cause for a patrolman to arrest a driver for driving while intoxicated. A DWI or DUI arrest can also lead to extensive fines and other penalties, even for a first-time offender. It's not unusual an individual convicted for multiple offenses to also face jail time, depending on the circumstances. As New Jersey drunken driving defense lawyers, I and my staff of legal professionals have the skills and experience in representing drivers accused of DWI and drug DUI (including cases where illicit drugs -- also known as controlled dangerous substances, or CDS -- such as marijuana and cocaine are involved).
Anyone who is arrested for driving under the influence faces similar charges and, likewise, similar penalties, the individual circumstances will vary accordingly. The following is a short list of recent arrests by police officers in Bergen County, though DWI and drug DUI arrest happen every day in other counties across the state, such as Monmouth, Union, Passaic and Essex. Here are some examples:
Late on a Monday evening, a local patrolman stopped a vehicle driving along a stretch of N. Maple Ave. The officer apparently stopped the motorist because of visible front-end damage and a report of a hit-and-run accident in the Ho-Ho-Kus area. As a result of the traffic stop, the policeman determined that the driver was in fact involved in said traffic accident. On further investigation, the police officer also determined that the 30-year-old out-of-state driver behind the wheel was impaired due to alcohol consumption. The man was taken into custody and charged with drunk driving, marijuana (CDS) possession and drug paraphernalia possession, open alcoholic beverage container in a motor vehicle. In addition to DWI, the driver was also charged with careless and unsafe driving. He was released pending a court appearance.
On a Tuesday evening local police responded to a report of a car being driven erratically along a stretch of Goffle Rd. Assisting Hawthorne Police, Ridgewood officers arrived at the scene where a vehicle had been stopped and the 63-year-old male driver from Hackensack was eventually arrested. The man was charged with DWI, breath test refusal, operating a motor vehicle under a suspended license, and for providing false information to obtain a driver's license.
Ramsey, New Jersey
During a Friday afternoon in late October, police recived a report of a single vehicle accident at the intersection of Perry St. and Kinderkamack Rd. Upon arrival at the crash site, Ramsey police found that a car driven by a 40-year-old Dumont woman had left the road and crashed into a fire hydrant and then a municipal garbage receptacle. Police interviewed the driver, who stated she was uninjured. Upon further investigation, officers observed that the woman and noted that her movements were "extremely slow" and that her eyes appeared "droopy."
The local patrolman also stated that the driver's speech patterns were occasionally slow. Having no apparent evidence of alcohol consumption, police concluded that the driver was likely under the influence of a CDS. Police questioned the driver about any prescription medicine that she may have taken; she replied that she had taken some that morning, yet could not remember what or how much. Officers had the driver take several field sobriety tests, which she reportedly did not complete to the satisfaction of the officer in charge. She was placed under arrest and later evaluated by a drug recognition expert from the River Vale PD.
The results of that examination resulted in the expert determining the driver was under the influence and unable to operate a car safely. The woman's vehicle was impounded and she was issued a "complaint summons" for CDS-related drug DUI as well as careless driving. The woman was released to her fiancé pending a court date.
Park Ridge, NJ
On a late Sunday evening a local police officer pulled a motorist over after observing a vehicle traveling above the posted speed limit, as well as tailgating at least one other vehicle. After stopping the suspect's car a little after 10pm, the office approached the car and apparently noticed the smell of what was described as "burnt marijuana." The 20-year-old driver, and resident of Camden, NJ, was arrested for marijuana possession in a motor vehicle, as well as drug paraphernalia possession.
About a week later, a Park Ridge police officer saw a vehicle apparently skid to a stop along a stretch of Main St., and immediately afterward accelerate rapidly away. The offer followed and eventually pulled the motorist over, apparently on the grounds of a simple traffic violation. During the subsequent interview with the driver, the policeman reportedly noticed the odor of alcoholic emanating from the 52-year-old driver. The motorist was arrested for DWI, as well as having an open alcohol beverage container in a motor vehicle.
Ridgewood: Police Blotter, NorthJersey.com, November 22, 2011
Park Ridge: Police Blotter, NorthJersey.com, November 9, 2011
Ramsey: Police Blotter, NorthJersey.com, November 2, 2011