Here in New Jersey, most drivers are probably familiar with the increased presence of police on patrol during certain times of the year, such as New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day, 4th of July, Memorial Day and Labor Day. During these times, it’s not unusual to have a spike in drunken driving arrests, although one can speculate on whether the increase in DWI arrests are due to a much high incidence of drunken driving, or that the added patrols catch a requisite increased number of impaired drivers.
In any case, the saturation patrols that happen from time to time during the year — over holiday weekends and other peak drinking and driving periods — are well known throughout the Garden State, especially by those who have been stopped on the road following attendance at a family reunion, office party or friendly get-togethers where beer, wine and hard liquor are typically served.
As New Jersey DWI and drug DUI defense lawyers, I and my colleagues know how easy it can be for a driver to be pulled over for a seemingly minor traffic offense, yet find him or herself under arrest a short time later for driving while intoxicated. (A smaller percentage of individuals can sometimes find themselves on the receiving end of a drug DUI or marijuana possession summons as well, but that’s a different topic altogether.)
While a police officer cannot stop a driver solely on suspicion of driving while impaired, a motorist can be stopped by a police officer for even the most innocuous traffic violation; after which he may find himself accused of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs.
Whenever this happens, it’s pretty fair to say that the motorist being stopped can find the entire episode unsettling, as well as intimidating. Simply the mere presence of a cop at the side of one’s car asking questions and observing one’s every move can result in a driver acting somewhat out of character. It’s not unusual for a driver to become flustered in front of patrolman, especially when he or she has been told they did something wrong on the road.
Because I and my staff are experienced drunken driving defense attorneys, we understand how mannerisms, coupled with alleged evidence of alcohol consumption or drug use, can lead to a drunken driving arrest. While the outcome is never certain, even after the completion of a breathalyzer test, it is always a good idea to consult a qualified DWI attorney.
For those concerned about being stopped for a DWI this weekend, it may be instructive to note that the Monmouth County DWI Task Force has announced that there will be a sobriety checkpoint (also known as DWI or DUI roadblock) in the general vicinity of Middletown, NJ, late this Friday and into the early morning hours on Saturday.
According to a recent news item, the roadblock will be set up on the northbound side of Rte 35 near the Hudson City Savings Bank. Officers in charge of the drunk driving checkpoint will be pulling vehicles over and directing them into the bank parking lot for brief interviews to determine if the drivers are sober or not.
According to the task force coordinator and chief of the Brielle Police Department, Michael W. Palmer, the checkpoint will be in operation from 11pm on Friday until 3am the next morning. It’s a good bet that any driver who appears to be intoxicated will be asked to step out of his or her vehicle in order to perform at least on of several field sobriety tests.
Although it is confusing to some regarding the reason why notice of these roadblocks is provided in the news media, the law requires that any checkpoint location must provided to the public in advance along with notice of the active time period.
DWI checkpoint planned in Middletown on Friday night, APP.com, March 8, 2012