Sobriety Checkpoints and Increased Drunken Driving Patrols in Morris County, NJ

Drivers traveling in the Rockaway Township area, and other municipalities around the Garden State, will likely be seeing more and more drunken driving patrols on New Jersey roadways in the coming weeks as the Labor Day holiday approaches. During times such as this, law enforcement agencies in Morris, Bergen, Monmouth and other counties across the state will be operating heightened anti-DWI patrols as part of the annual nationwide “Over the Limit, Under Arrest” drunk driving crackdown.

The enhanced enforcement period is apparently due to begin on next week on August 19 and run through Labor Day weekend, ending on September 5. During this period motorists can expect to see and perhaps be the subject of police sobriety checkpoints (also known as DWI roadblocks). The purpose of this type of roadside anti-drunken driving enforcement technique is to identify drivers who may be operating their cars while impaired by alcohol, prescription medications (drug DUI), and even illegal drugs, or controlled dangerous substances (CDS) like marijuana and cocaine.

In places like Rockaway Twp., local police officers participate in this statewide intoxicated driving enforcement program, which is funded by the federal government through grant monies. These additional outside funds allow police departments to operate drunk driving checkpoint during “high risk” periods, such as national holidays, as well as maintain roving patrols to target motorists who may be impaired due to alcohol use.

As drunk driving lawyers providing DWI defense for New Jersey residents, I and my colleagues have seen the effect of enhanced enforcement campaigns. Numerous drivers are picked up either on the road or at DWI roadblocks and charged with driving under the influence, breath test refusal and other related offenses.

The penalties for drunk driving or drug DUI convictions can be quite hefty for the average citizen and, depending on the circumstances, can also include incarceration in a city or county jail. Naturally, we advise anyone arrested or charged with driving while intoxicated to consult with an experienced DWI attorney to better understand his or her legal options.

According to news reports, Rockaway Township has used this annual campaign to help reduce DWIs and the potential traffic accidents that truly drunk individuals can cause on the road. Since the beginning of 2011, Rockaway police have arrested 10 motorists for driving while intoxicated by beer, wine or hard liquor, plus one additional arrest for a CDS-related DWI. Based on police reports, of those 11 arrests, three were the result of allegedly related car accidents, non of which were fatal.

News articles indicate that nearly 150 people died in alcohol-related car crashes in 2009; those DWI-related crashes made up one-quarter of all fatal traffic accidents (583) across the state that year.

In the past, local and state law enforcement agencies have recommended the following steps be taken by drivers during high-risk periods in order to have a safe and enjoyable holiday:

  • Make plans ahead of time to get home after a party, family gathering or holiday celebration
  • If you think you are impaired while away from home, contact a sober family member or friend for a safe ride home
  • If you know that another individual is about drive while impaired or attempting to get a ride with another person who may be drunk, take their keys and help them make other arrangements
  • Before leaving for a party or get-together settle on one person in your group who can be the designated sober driver
  • Leave your car keys at home

They’re putting the brakes on drunk drivers, NorthJersey.com, August 12, 2011