Here in the Garden State, motorists are rather familiar with the presence of police road patrols, as well as the typical saturation patrols that occur from time to time during holiday weekends and other periods well known for family and friendly get-togethers where alcohol is usually served. It is at these times that the rate of potential drunken drivers rises to the occasion as well.
As New Jersey DWI-DUI defense attorneys, I and my legal staff know the ease with which a driver can be stopped for a traffic violation only to find him or herself accused of driving under the influence of beer, wine or hard liquor. For the younger crowd, police may from time to time find evidence of marijuana inside the vehicle or on the driver’s person, which can lead to a drug DUI or possession charge.
Any time a motorist is stopped by the police, it can be an unsettling and intimidating experience. Just the mere presence of a police officer, be it a state patrolman or a local municipal officer, can cause a driver to act out of character or become flustered. As of experienced drunken driving lawyers, my firm understands how certain mannerisms, coupled with so-called evidence of alcohol consumption can lead to a DWI arrest, the outcome of which will have a great deal to do with the subsequent breathalyzer test and other evidence from the state.
Of course, being stopped in Morris County, like Monmouth, Ocean and Bergen counties, results in very similar procedures, but the circumstances may vary considerably. As many people know, a driver cannot be stopped on the street simply on a policeman’s hunch that the motorist is drunk. There must be a specific violation witnessed by that officer. However, in the case of drunk driving checkpoints, a driver and his passengers become the focal point of an officer’s attention as soon as the vehicle they are in is waved into the sobriety roadblock area.
These checkpoints are set up randomly from time to time, with due notice given to the public, based on the historic frequency of DWIs in a particular area. Some complain about this method, however it is clearly stated in the New Jersey statutes and accepted as legitimate means by our judicial system.
With this in mind, we noticed that Morris County is running a number of sobriety roadblocks this week, no doubt as a precursor to the upcoming holidays. We already wrapped up Thanksgiving, which according to law enforcement agencies across the country has become a popular kick-off point for year-end celebrations with friends, family and coworkers.
Not only does your local police department expect increases in DWI arrests during this time of the season, the New Jersey State Police also prepare themselves for the extra workload that the holiday season has typically presented. This included arrests for impaired driving of all kinds – alcohol-related charges, as well as DUIs from prescription medications (also known as drug DUI), and illegal drugs, such as marijuana and cocaine.
The Morris County sobriety checkpoints and DWI patrols under operation this week are reported to employ more than 50 officers and continue through this Sunday, December 18. Held in conjunction with the Morris County Police Chief’s Association — with checkpoints funded in part by the New Jersey Highway Traffic Safety “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” grant — mobile patrols can be found, according to news reports, on heavily traveled roadways all over the county.
DWI Checkpoints to Begin Monday, Patch.com, December 9, 2011
Police Participating in ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, Patch.com, December 6, 2011