April 23, 2014

New Jersey Motorist Charged with DWI after Out-of-State Police Traffic Stop for Speeding

While not as common as in-state traffic stops, more than a few Garden State residents get caught every week by police in nearby states for any number of traffic violations. Although a speeding ticket or citation for a vehicle equipment violation may not weigh heavy on the mind of some individuals, being arrested for drunken driving -- whether her in New Jersey or somewhere out-of-state -- can cause one to seriously consider the present and future implications of a potential DWI or drug DUI conviction.

It is a fact that as a licensed driver here in New Jersey, a motorist is required to obey the traffic laws and rules of the road here, as well as in other states in which one operates a motor vehicle. The sharing of DMV information between law enforcement agencies across the country has made out-of-state violations just as relevant as if they occurred in one's own home state. This means that even if a New Jersey driver violates a traffic law out-of-state that he or she will still be subject to penalties, points and license suspension within New Jersey.

For reference, there are two interstate agreements that affect drivers when operating their vehicles in a state other than their own. The first is known as the "Driver License Compact," which is an agreement between 45 of the 50 states in the Union, as well as the District of Columbia, that governs certain traffic violations and license suspensions for non-residents. Essentially what this means is that when a motorist is convicted of a traffic violation in a state other than the one where he or she resides, the non-resident state will report that conviction to the appropriate agency in the motorist's home state.

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April 21, 2014

Newark Driver Avoids Vehicular Manslaughter Charge in NYC; Gets Probation in Connection with Deadly DWI

According to news reports, a New Jersey driver avoided a vehicular manslaughter charge in connection with a fatal 2013 auto-pedestrian collision over in Brooklyn last summer. Based on a recent article, the Newark, NJ, area motorist was sentenced to probation, a six-month driver's license suspension, plus a $500 fine after his guilty plea for being drunk behind the wheel when he struck and fatally injured a 27-year-old woman on July 5 last year.

As Garden State DWI and drug DUI defense attorneys, my firm is all too familiar with the often devastating results of drunken driving. Although we defend individuals accused of DWI-DUI, we do not condone drunk driving; and we certainly do understand the risks involved in getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol. There is no doubt that a DWI arrest in conjunction with a fatal traffic accident is something that no person would ever want to have happen. In this particular case, the prosecutors apparently believed that the defendant's reported blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.126 percent was not a factor in the tragic death of the 27-year-old victim.

According to news articles, the deadly accident took place around midnight near the intersection of Flatbush and St. Marks avenues. At that time, the defendant was driving a BMW sedan when he reportedly struck the woman. As a result of the impact, the victim sustained massive head injuries, complications from which resulted in her death five days later as she was being treated in a local hospital.

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April 19, 2014

Monmouth County DWI Update: Even Simple Traffic Infractions Can Get a Motorist into Hot Water

As most any drunk driving defense attorney will tell you, there are any number of traffic infractions that can open the door to a DWI, drug DUI, or in-vehicle CDS possession charge. Something as simple as making a right on red where it is prohibited can cause a police officer to pull a driver over and issue a traffic citation. If that motorist seems to be in some way impaired, there is a distinct chance that the patrolman may suspect alcohol or drug use, which can result in further investigation.

Being stopped for a basic infraction, therefore, has been known to lead to a motorist being asked to perform one or more field sobriety tests, followed in some cases by a trip to police headquarters for a Breathalyzer test and possible booking on drunk driving charges. It's those simple driving rules that can trip up most any driver at just the wrong time. Here in the Garden State, the police are constantly on the lookout for motorists who make the most basic of driving errors -- once a local patrolman or state trooper has made a traffic stop, that officer has an opportunity to question the individual and observe any hints of inebriation.

Without a doubt, the process of being stopped by a policeman and investigated following a driving infraction or equipment violation is not an enjoyable experience. This can be especially true since most any roadside police stop can result in the suspect being taken into custody and charged with impaired driving. As New Jersey DWI attorneys, my legal staff is aware of the pitfalls that await any motorist who may have had a drink before being pulled over.

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April 16, 2014

Motorist Arrested for Cherry Hill DWI after Allegedly Hitting Police Cruiser and Fleeing Scene

Being at odds with the police may seem like a situation that no one really should invite, but it is not uncommon for drunken driving subjects to be aggressive or simply argumentative with police, which may seem surprising considering the potential downside of being uncooperative or belligerent during a roadside DWI or drug DUI stop. Simply put, it is never a wise idea to challenge the authority of a state trooper or even a municipal patrolman when facing a potential drunk driving charge.

As Garden State DWI-DUI defense attorneys, my legal team regularly defends individuals accused of operating a motor vehicle on New Jersey roadways while intoxicated by alcohol or a controlled dangerous substance (CDS). Every person accused of a crime or serious traffic offense, such as drunken driving or drug possession in a motor vehicle, deserves to have his or her day in court. Providing a proper and effective legal defense is the job of my firm, especially in cases of driving while intoxicated.

While hindsight is certainly 20-20, advice after the fact is rarely helpful to the individual already charged with an offense; however, when the topic comes up, if a friend, relative or acquaintance asks for any tips on how to alleviate the effects of a DWI traffic stop, we can only remind people that not much is ever gained from complicating an arrest by fighting either verbally or physically with a law enforcement officer.

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April 14, 2014

Northern Jersey DWI News: Police in Morris County Arrest Two Drivers on Marijuana-related Offenses

Here in the Garden State, possession of marijuana in a motor vehicle (by a driver) is subject to stiff penalties if one is stopped by the police and charged with same. In terms of strict "possession," if a traffic stop reveals that a driver has pot inside his vehicle, a summons for possession will likely be forthcoming. As New Jersey DWI and drug DUI defense lawyers, my colleagues and I are prepared to defend individuals accused of impaired driving, as well as simply having drugs on one's person during a police stop.

In addition to defending motorists hit with a drug charge following a traffic stop on the parkway, interstate or in town, my legal team is skilled in handling traffic tickets issued for drug possession, including those for weed and other illegal or controlled dangerous substance (CDS). According to the New Jersey legal statutes -- specifically N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1 -- the law prohibits any individual from driving a car, truck or motorcycle while knowingly being in possession of marijuana, cocaine, meth or other CDS. That said, it needs to be explained that this particular law is solely focused on the driver and not the passenger of a motor vehicle.

When attempting to prove such a violation, a municipal prosecutor is obliged to establish several key facts in order to win his case against a defendant. First, the state must prove that the accused was in control, or otherwise operating a motor vehicle. Second, a police officer must have found the weed or other drug on the driver's person. Finally, it must be proved that the motorist "knowingly" possessed the illegal substance. A skilled attorney can sometimes find fault with the state's case if the operator of the vehicle was not within what the law describes as "wingspan" of the physical control of the pot or other CDS. One common situation is when the substance was on the person of another occupant of the vehicle.

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April 12, 2014

Garden State Moving Closer to Mandatory Ignition Interlock Devices for all Convicted Offenders

While most people never imagine that they will be arrested and charged with driving under the influence, the fact remains that hundreds of drivers every week in New Jersey find themselves facing a charge of drunk driving, impaired operation of a motor vehicle due to prescription medications or illicit substances, or simply refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test. These days, with the rather stiff fines and other monetary penalties (not to mention possible jail time) that may come from a DWI-DUI conviction, it still amazes some people that so many DWI arrests actually take place on a daily basis.

For a great number of individuals who receive a drunken driving summons, the financial consequences are quickly learned, but there are also other penalties associated with a DWI conviction that do not always come quickly to mind. These include license suspension and the requirement of having an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on one's vehicle for a period of time following the end of the aforementioned suspension. The inconvenience and stigma attached to these other post-conviction penalties have their own effect on those who have already fell the sting of fines and auto insurance premium assessments.

For anyone unfamiliar with IIDs, these devices are designed to prevent a vehicle from being started if the driver's blood-alcohol content (BAC) exceeds 0.05 percent. Currently, in the case of first-time offenders, it is up to the court's discretion to order the use of an IID for six to 12 months following restoration of a driver's license. However, for those individuals convicted of DWI based on a BAC of 0.15 or greater, the law calls for mandatory installation of an IID during the license suspension period plus aforementioned six to 12 months following restoration of one's license.

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April 10, 2014

Middlesex County Drunk Driving News: Four Motorists Charged with DWI-DUI in Plainsboro, NJ

Regardless of the nature of an initial roadside police stop -- be it a burned-out headlamp, sliding through a controlled intersection without completely stopping, or drifting in and out of one's lane -- the opportunity for a drunk driving or drug DUI summons can go up appreciably depending on how the driver appears to the police officer in charge. Bloodshot eyes or an unsteady gait may cause a patrolman to suspect some kind of intoxication, though neither condition is a surefire sign of being drunk or impaired.

Despite what some people may believe, being charged for DWI-DUI based solely on watery eyes or some other vague observation is usually not sufficient to result in a conviction for driving while intoxicated; other evidence is needed beyond a more or less subjective assessment. Experienced DWI defense lawyers, such as the legal team at our law firm, can offer up a number of plausible explanations for a variety of conditions, from allergies and migraine headaches to very cold temperatures or high winds at the time of the arrest.

Since an arrest for DWI or drug DUI needs supporting evidence, as required by law, the prosecution will often attempt to prove that the defendant exhibited a "substantial deterioration or diminution" of his or her mental faculties/physical capabilities due to alcohol or hallucinogenic, narcotic or habit-producing drugs.

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April 8, 2014

Bergen County DWI Defense: Don't Fool Yourself, a DUI License Suspensions Means No Driving. Period

Here in the Garden State, penalties for driving while intoxicated are nothing to sneeze at, even for first-time offenders. For those individuals who have never before run afoul of the law, the realization that a conviction for DWI can eventually run into the thousands of dollars (when considering the fines, court fees, assessments and hiked-up auto insurance premiums required by law). Depending on the facts of the case, most especially the level of alcohol in one's bloodstream, fines themselves can range from $250 to $500, with jail time also a possibility.

As New Jersey drunken driving defense attorneys, my colleagues and I have a great deal of experience in representing those motorists who have been accused of intoxicated driving or drug DUI, the latter of which can range from impairment due to taking doctor-prescribed medications to ingesting an illegal controlled dangerous substance (CDS), such as cocaine, meth, marijuana or some other narcotic drug.

License suspension is also a common consequence of a DWI or drug DUI conviction. For professional drivers this can mean the loss of a job or a serious change in one's employment circumstances. But what many people don't realize, at least when they first get arrested and charged with driving under the influence, is that there are currently no alternatives to having one's operator's license revoked or suspended. If the thought doesn't enter the mind of a convicted DWI offender, the first time he or she needs to get somewhere will be a stark reminder of the severe consequences provided by the state.

Continue reading "Bergen County DWI Defense: Don't Fool Yourself, a DUI License Suspensions Means No Driving. Period" »

April 7, 2014

Intoxication Can Affect a Driver's Awareness, Cause a Driving Error, and Trigger a Police Stop

We've discussed this in previous posts, but it bears repeating once again: The police do not have the legal right to stop a motorist simply because an officer assumes or guesses that the individual behind the wheel is possibly intoxicated. This goes back to the basic New Jersey DWI statutes, which state that a law enforcement officer must have a reasonable and articulable suspicion that a driver has committed a moving violation or other vehicle infraction in order to make a traffic stop.

As New Jersey DWI defense lawyers, my legal team has a great deal of experience in this area. Quite often, motorists contact my firm with the intention of fighting a drunk driving summons or charges related to some other alcohol or drug-related traffic offense. As part of our investigation, we research the facts of the case in order to determine if there were any basic procedural violations on the patrolman's part. More than once we have found that an officer has made erroneous assumptions about the defendant or his driving style, which then led to a faulty or improper police stop and DWI arrest.

If it can be shown that the officer acted improperly or based the initial traffic stop on less-than-appropriate grounds, there is a good chance that the court will entertain a motion to have the drunk driving charge dismissed or the charges reduced. Unfortunately, many proper police stops come about due to a motorist's own driving error, which if observed by a municipal cop or state trooper, may result in a roadside stop. If alcohol is involved, there is high likelihood that a summons for driving under the influence will be issued.

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April 7, 2014

NJ Drunk Driving News: DWI-DUI Highlighted as Serious Concerns at Ocean County Event

Here in Bergen County, as with all the other areas of New Jersey, scores of drivers are picked up by police on a regular basis for offenses ranging from driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol to operating a car or truck under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS). As drunken driving defense lawyers representing Garden State drivers charged with DWI or drug DUI, my team of experienced trial attorneys have almost 100 years of collective courtroom experience defending individuals accused of serious offenses such drunk driving to possession of illicit drugs in a motor vehicle.

As motorists ourselves, we fully understand the importance of maintaining a high level of safety on our public roads. To this end, we also know how hard many of New Jersey's state and local law enforcement officers work to keep our roadways free of hazards and dangerous situations. We commend the hard work of police all across the state, but we also know that police officers are human, just like everybody else, which means that they can make mistakes even though we expect perfection from them.

It goes without saying that the majority of officers and the agencies for which they work have a strong desire to help the community at large. This can be reflected in the campaigns against drunk driving and the public service announcement that are often seen and heard during high-risk periods such as the New Year's holiday, Memorial Day, Labor Day and even St. Patrick's Day.

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April 6, 2014

Monmouth County Police Blotter: Drunken Driving Arrests for Several Drivers in Middletown Area

Police officers in Middletown Twp. Had a busy week not long ago when they arrested and charged five individual drivers with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Without knowing the specific circumstances of each arrest, it is difficult to know how or why each of these drivers was served with a summons for DWI, however it is instructive to remind readers that being stopped on any Garden State roadway can open a person up to extreme scrutiny, especially if they in any way exhibit some key signs of impairment.

As New Jersey drunken driving defense lawyers, my colleagues and I understand the difficult position under which many otherwise law-abiding citizens are placed when they find themselves being questioned on the roadside by a local cop or state trooper. Odd as it may seem to some people, it is possible -- yet amazingly commonplace -- to see a motorist who is pulled over for one of many possible traffic infractions end up admitting, in short order, that he was drinking prior to the police stop.

Providing a police officer with an "admission of guilt" in whatever manner it happens, does not necessarily that the driver's statements can be used against him in court. An experienced DWI defense attorney, like those on the legal team in my firm, will know immediately to ask whether or not the driver was read his or her Miranda Rights prior to their supposed admission of guilt. Similarly, one should also consider whether or not the driver was informed of his right to remain silent. Depending on the situation, if the answer to these two questions was no on both counts, then there is reason to believe that the court may likely strike any admission of guilt from the record, since it was probably not obtained legally.

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April 4, 2014

Are There Any Advantages to Fighting a DWI Charge These Days? Yes, There Often Are

While few people who take the initiative and walk into our law offices ever ask the question, there are many more who may choose not to contact us based on some different answer to that same query. So, really, why should anyone bother trying to fight a drunk driving charge? Don't the police have the upper hand? Isn't it difficult to contest the validity of the prosecution's evidence? And how can the average person know where to start if he or she even entertains the idea of challenging a drunken driving charge?

As experienced New Jersey trial lawyers, we've seen enough DWI and drug DUI cases to know that unless an accused motorists does make that concerted effort to fight for his or her day in court, they will never know what could have been if they hadn't accepted a guilty plea and the penalty consequences that ultimately follow. By not choosing to fight a DWI, drug DUI, or breath test refusal charge, a person essentially places all the power in the hands of the police and the prosecutor's office.

At this point we will add that the consequences don't simply mean the fines and court fees, but they also entail insurance premium increases for years to come and the inevitable license suspension and all of the hassle and aggravation that can create. And let's not forget the ordering of an ignition interlock device to be installed on the accused's vehicle once his or her license is restores; that alone can prove to be embarrassing and inconvenient.

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April 2, 2014

New Jersey Law Enforcement's Pursuit of Drunken Drivers Unlikely to Abate

We see it quite frequently; the various anti-drunk driving campaigns accompanied by enhanced enforcement, such as saturation patrols during major holidays and late-night sobriety roadblocks on the weekends. In short, the apparent war on intoxicated motorists continues at a fairly regular and deliberate pace here in the Garden State. As New Jersey DWI and drug DUI defense attorneys, we know from experience that local police and state patrol officers take their roles very seriously when it comes to pursuing those drivers who may be inebriated behind the wheel.

Some drivers find themselves pulled over in the middle of traffic simply because they appeared to be wandering in their lane, when the reason could have been a minor distraction in the vehicle. Others might end up being flagged off the road at one of the many random roadside DWI checkpoints that seem to pop up at the most inopportune times. Regardless of the circumstances, however, if an office suspects a motorist to be even a slight bit drunk or otherwise impaired by alcohol or prescription drugs -- never mind illegal substances like marijuana or cocaine -- the gloves will come off an a much more intensive investigation will typically commence.

Of course, sometimes the police have reason to be suspicious of a driver's condition, much less his motivation to avoid being picked up by officers for whatever kind of offense. Considering the reputation that New Jersey's police have when drunk driving or drug DUI is involved, some people with a lot to lose will test the will of those law enforcement officers. Take the story of a Hamilton, NJ, driver who attempted to run from police following an alleged drunken driving accident along a portion of Interstate 95 last December.

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March 31, 2014

Could Avoiding a NJ Drunk Driving Arrest be as Simple as Watching How One Drives?

Some people would say that perception is everything these days. It certainly would seem to be based on advertising gimmicks and marketing strategies; but what about daily life? As Garden State drunk driving lawyers we have successfully defended motorists who have been accused of DWI, drug DUI, breath test refusal and other alcohol- and drug-related charges. Many of our clients were charged with impaired vehicle operation following what may have seemed like a routine traffic stop, though they ended completely differently than anyone imagined at the time.

The fact of the matter is a percentage of drivers who are charged with drunk or drug-impaired driving after being stopped by police find later that the reasons for the traffic stop in the first place were erroneous. This is one of the more common instances where the value of retaining a skilled DWI-DUI defense lawyer becomes quite clear. The question that one should typically ask following a drunk driving arrest is whether or not that initial traffic stop was made correctly and for reasonable cause.

It is a fact that here in New Jersey, before a policeman or state trooper can stop a vehicle and arrest the driver for DUI-DWI, that officer must have what we refer to in the legal profession as probable cause. Quite simply, probable cause can be considered as a "reason" to believe that a crime, such as driving drunk or under the influence of drugs, has been committed, and that the person they are detaining actually committed said crime.

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March 28, 2014

Jersey Drunk Driving Update: Odd Driver Behavior is a Red Flag for Police

Just like everyone else, police officers are human. And while patrolmen do have many special skills, as well as years of training in criminology and law enforcement, they are not psychics; however, they do know what to look for when it comes to human behavior on Garden State roadways. As DWI defense lawyers, the attorneys at my firm meet a near constant stream of people who have been charged with traffic infractions and other offenses. On the whole, few of these individuals ever expected to be awaiting a court date to determine whether or not they will be convicted of drinking and driving.

What most people do not realize -- at least not until it is too late -- is that local and state patrolmen have a keen eye for the telltale hints that a motorist may not be paying complete attention to the job of driving. Whether that sign is a poorly executed turn, driving noticeably below the posted speed limit or drifting repeatedly outside of one's lane, a seasoned officer can probably anticipate the outcome of many a routine traffic stop. Unfortunately for most drivers, what is a routine occurrence for a cop is hardly a typical experience for the average person.

There are a variety of strange activities and odd behaviors on the road that can garner a police officer's immediate attention and, in the process, get a driver in very hot water. Especially if an individual has had a drink or two prior to the traffic stop, which might leave the odor of alcohol on the driver's breath, there is a strong chance that the officer is going to suspect some kind of intoxication, at least initially. But, once again, it can often be some minor driving mistake that betrays a motorist and triggers a roadside police stop.

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