New Jersey “Click It” Traffic Safety Campaign Nets 866 Drunk Drivers across the State

The drunk driving arrest results are finally in following the conclusion of New Jersey’s two-week-long “Click It or Ticket” seatbelt and traffic safety campaign, which ended back on May 31. In that period, state law enforcement officials report that they arrested nearly 900 motorists for driving under the influence of alcohol. As a New Jersey DWI defense lawyer, I’m proud of the job our police officers do to improve public awareness regarding the benefits of seatbelt use. At the same time, I know that not all of those 866 drivers arrested will be convicted of driving while intoxicated.

In addition to the 800-plus drunk driving arrests last May, New Jersey police also gave out 891 citations for improper use of child restraints, wrote 6,833 tickets for speeding, and ticketed more than 40,000 motorists for seatbelt-related violations. That compares favorably, according to reports, to the 46,000 tickets given out in 2008 for similar violations.

Regarding those 866 DWI arrests, in my experience as a drunk driving defense attorney, I know that not every ticket will stand up in court. When defending individuals accused of driving while intoxicated under the influence of alcohol, there are multiple factors that can affect the validity of a prosecutor’s evidence.

Take the breath test, for instance. The Alcotest device, the operation of which every attorney in my office has been fully certified, must be maintained correctly. If not, the results can turn out wrong and actually be useless during a trial. Even if the breathalyzer is working correctly, factors affecting BAC (or blood alcohol content) can vary widely. The key here is, don’t automatically assume that the machine is always right. It may say you were legally drunk, but that result may not stand up to a seasoned DWI defense lawyer.

As a former prosecutor myself, I know how the state or municipality goes about prosecuting drunk driving defendants. They may bring up certain points to try and prove that you were driving your vehicle under the influence of alcohol. A prosecutor may say that officers detected an “odor” of alcohol on your breath, that you were driving somewhat erratically, or that you exhibited a “disheveled” appearance or acted as if you were intoxicated. They may even state that you exhibited poor field sobriety test (FST) performance. You have to understand that these are all ways in which a prosecutor attempts to sway the court to find you guilty of DWI.

But what a prosecutor will rarely if ever mention is that these types of “evidence” are very ambiguous and subject to a range of interpretation. Not to mention, these previous statements and observations made by the prosecution are often quite unreliable and result in faulty assumptions.

What I’m saying here is simple. You need a qualified and experienced New Jersey drunk driving defense lawyer to help you fight your DWI charge. A good lawyer will question each of these erroneous pieces of evidence. I and my staff understand the workings of the judicial system and traffic court in particular. We know how prosecutors think and how to counter their arguments. In short, never take a drunk driving arrest or breath test refusal lightly. Contact an experienced DWI attorney who can fight for your rights.

More New Jerseyans using seat belts than ever before, NewJerseyNewsroom.com, August 6, 2009