Belleville, NJ, Police Report Zero DWI Arrests During “Click It” Campaign

It would appear that Belleville Twp. has one of the lowest instances of drunk driving in all of the Garden State, at least during a recent traffic enforcement effort designed, among other things, to catch impaired drivers and have them arrested for and charged with DWI. Police officers from the geographically diminutive township recently participated in the “Click it, or Ticket” seatbelt enforcement campaign as one of 149 municipalities across the state to receive $4,000 to cover additional patrolmen during the two-week period from May 23 through June 5.

As part of this effort, Belleville police officers reportedly made no arrests of any drivers who may have been operating their vehicle while under the influence of beer, wine, hard liquor or controlled dangerous substances (CDS), such as cocaine and marijuana. Belleville patrolmen issued no drunken driving summonses during the effort. While this is in part amazing, considering the time of year, Belleville police did issue citations for a variety of other traffic offenses and civil infractions.

As a New Jersey DWI defense lawyer and former municipal prosecutor, I understand the techniques and strategies used by police officers and prosecuting attorneys to both arrest motorists who allegedly drive under the influence of alcohol or prescription medications (drug DUI), and also convict those individuals of intoxicated driving.

I and my experienced DWI defense team have observed the effects of enhanced anti-DWI enforcement operations carried out from time to time Monmouth, Passaic and Union counties, as well as all across the Garden State. Many drivers are, in fact, stopped for apparently minor traffic infractions only to be arrested for allegedly driving while intoxicated. A percentage of these arrests usually occur at so-called sobriety roadblocks, or drunken driving checkpoints. When this happens, a driver may be asked to perform one or more of the standardized field sobriety tests used by police to determine if a motorist is impaired.

Of course, the penalties following a drunken driving conviction can be fairly severe, not to mention the mandatory increases in auto insurance premiums as a direct result of the DWI conviction. For those individuals who find themselves in the position of being charged for a repeat offense, jail time is not unusual if one is found guilty of drunk driving for a second or third time.

According to reports, the Belleville Police Department in Essex County reported their results for the latest “Click It or Ticket” campaign. Based on figures provided to local news outlets, the highest number of citations arose from non-use of safety belts, with a total of 126 tickets issued. Although no drunk driving summonses were issued, there were two drug-related arrests and three speeding tickets issued.

Based on news sources, 419 out of the state’s 493 police departments participated in the latest safety belt campaign. According to the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, police statewide issued a staggering 32,000 seatbelt usage-related citations, which was actually down from nearly 36, 000 the year before. Based on news reports, 953 drivers across New Jersey were charged with drunken driving; about 3 percent of the total tickets issued.

Belleville Police announce ‘Click It or Ticket’ results, NorthJersey.com, August 3, 2011