Traffic stops for drunk driving occur every day in New Jersey. The state police and local law enforcement agencies have no tolerance for motorists caught operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, or prescription drugs for that matter. As an experienced DWI defense attorney, I know the requirements expected of police officers when it comes to drunk driving arrests. I also have a detailed knowledge of the methods and strategies used by prosecutors in their pursuit of a conviction for driving while intoxicated.
Whether a person is pulled over on the parkway or a city street, the patrolman will most likely request that the individual perform a number of field sobriety tests. Another way that someone can be tagged for a DWI is at one of the many sobriety checkpoints, or roadblocks that are set up around the state. Regardless of the location, if the officer suspects that a driver is impaired, he will most likely request that person to take a breath test to determine blood-alcohol content (BAC) — the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream.
The following are some news items involving drunken driving arrests in the Montclair area. They are just examples of the typical situations that begin a process that can eventually lead to a DWI or DUI conviction.
Orange Road Car Crash
A 22-year-old woman was arrested after driving her vehicle into a utility pole on Orange Road, near Canterbury Park in the early morning of January 18. According to police reports, the pole along the northbound lane was split when it was struck by a 2010 Toyota Corolla driven by the suspect.
Police found the driver standing outside the ruined car and noticed that her speech was slurred. The woman had suffered a small cut to the side of her lip. Apparently the driver told officers that she had one mixed drink with vodka before driving. After she failed several sobriety tests, she was arrested and charged with DWI and careless driving. Her wrecked car was towed away.
Valley Road Accident
An SUV hit a parked car on Valley Road near Walnut Street around 8:30pm on January 17 — according to police the suspect’s vehicle continued away northbound on Valley Road without stopping. Officers found a 2000 Nissan Altima with damage to its rear bumper. After the owner of the vehicle gave a description of the sport utility vehicle to the police, officers made a search of the area.
Driving along Upper Mountain Avenue, the patrolmen found a damaged Nissan Pathfinder with its hazard lights flashing. They saw a woman standing outside the truck, talking on her cell phone.
Officers asked the woman how her truck’s front bumper had been damaged. The 42-year-old driver said the vehicle had been involved in an accident a week ago, but was uncertain as to where it had occurred. The officers noticed that the driver appeared to be slightly off-balance and admitted that she had been drinking “a little,” according to the police report.
Another officer investigating the crash scene back on Valley Road had found a broken-off fog light at the site. Officers compared that to the one remaining light on the suspects SUV and found it to be an exact match. Police requested that the driver take a sobriety tests, which she reportedly failed. Police charged the woman with driving while intoxicated.
Wrong Way Driver
A Glen Ridge man who allegedly went the wrong way around the Valley Road traffic circle near Church Street was arrested by police and charged with DWI. According to the police report, officers observed a 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe driving around the circle against the flow of traffic and through a red light at the intersection of Church Street and Orange Road just after 1am on January 15.
Officers pulled over the 27-year-old driver on South Mountain Avenue. Reportedly admitting that he had consumed four beers, officers asked the man — who allegedly appeared intoxicated — to take several sobriety tests. After failing the tests, he was charged with careless driving, not wearing a seatbelt and DWI.
Police Blotter, NorthJersey.com, January 21, 2010