While getting a summons for drunken driving should not be taken lightly here in the Garden State, there are worse alcohol-related offenses that one should be concerned about. Being arrested for drunk driving at a typical sobriety checkpoint is one way to be introduced to your local legal system, however if one were to be charged with DWI following an injury accident, this can be a much more serious situation.
As New Jersey DWI defense lawyers, I and my staff of qualified drunken driving defense attorneys have the skills and years of courtroom experience to represent motorists accused of impaired driving. This applies to alcohol-related DWIs as well as drug-related DUIs; for many people, it is not unusual to be arrested for impaired driving while under the influence of doctor-prescribed medications. Less common, but nonetheless valid are arrests that involve illicit drugs (also known as controlled dangerous substances, or CDS), such as cocaine and marijuana.
But all this pales in comparison to one of the most serious charges, that of driving under the influence and causing a fatal collision. While some individuals may debate the relative merits of consulting an experienced DWI attorney for a “simple” drunk driving charge, a DWI coupled with a potential vehicular homicide charge leaves little to ponder about.
A while back we read a news reports detailing the traffic-related death of a Mount Arlington police officer killed by an allegedly impaired driver along a stretch of I-80 in Roxbury, NJ. According to news articles, 37-year-old Joseph Wargo of the Mount Arlington PD was in his police cruiser traveling eastbound a little after 12am on a Sunday morning when another vehicle came from the westbound side, crossed the median and struck the officer’s patrol car.
The force of the collision reportedly knocked Wargo’s police cruiser off the highway lanes and into a nearby wooded area. Wargo, a 10-year department veteran apparently died of injuries that he received in the crash.
Based on police reports, the suspect in the fatal accident was 29-year-old Michael Cassella of Howel, NJ. Police believe that the man was impaired and somehow lost control of his vehicle before it slid across into the eastbound lanes of the interstate and struck the officer’s vehicle.
Following the accident, police arrested Cassella on numerous charges including aggravated manslaughter and vehicular homicide. Information from the Morris County Prosecutor indicated that police suspected Cassella of being impaired or otherwise under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS). Police believe that the man was also speeding prior to losing control of his vehicle and hitting the officer’s car.
At the time of the news article, Cassella was being held in the Morris County Jail on 500,000-dollar cash bail. While it was not known at the time if the man had retained a defense attorney, the combination of alleged drug DUI, impaired driving, being involved in a fatal accident while under the influence of a CDS, not to mention potentially being responsible for the death of a police officer, would all point to need for a qualified drunk driving defense attorney, and quite possibly a litigator who was skilled in criminal defense as well.
DUI blamed in accident that killed officer, ABCLocal.com, October 16, 2011