There are a myriad of things one shouldn’t do when driving, but operating a motor vehicle while impaired by prescription drugs, beer, wine or hard liquor is definitely at the top of that list. As New Jersey drunken driving defense attorneys, the DWI lawyers at my firm know all too well that drivers who drink alcohol, or even take doctor-prescribed medication, run a serious risk when getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. Aside from the extreme physical dangers, the odds of being arrested for DWI or drug DUI increase with the frequency of driving under the influence.
Of course, the law prohibits a highway patrolman or municipal police officer from stopping a motorist solely on a hunch that the subject is drunk behind the wheel of his or her automobile. Here in the Garden State, a state police officer or city cop must witness a moving violation in order to pull a driver over. What this means is that although a motorist may be intoxicated while driving, until that driver makes an illegal turn, runs a stop sign, exceeds the posted speed limit, or breaks any one of the dozens of other moving violations, a policeman cannot simply stop a car because he thinks that the driver is drunk.
But no one should in any way construe that operating a car, truck or other vehicle while impaired is okay so long as one isn’t caught. As we alluded to previously, there are serious and irreversible consequences to drunk driving, not the least of which is the very great risk of getting into a bad accident. In fact, this is one of the reasons why New Jersey drunken driving laws include harsh penalties for those convicted of DWI and drug DUI.
Again, there are numerous injury-related traffic accidents that occur every week in this state, and around the country, that are the result of drinking and driving. Defending a person against charges of DWI or driving under the influence of drugs is only made more difficult when the defendant’s actions are tied to other charges of damaging property, hurting or killing another individual, or injuring themselves in a DWI-related roadway collision.
Many areas of New Jersey drunk driving law are designed to punish those who endanger others. One such area is related to children. Whether a driver is arrested for DWI in a school zone or driving drunk with young children in their vehicle, the police and our court system are hardly sympathetic to those convicted of these offenses. And don’t think that other states are any less strict. Case in point, consider the New Jersey driver who was stopped by police in Pennsylvanian for being drunk behind the wheel of her vehicle while having a 5-year-old child in the car as well.
According to news reports, the incident happened late on a Sunday evening along a stretch of I-80 in Pocono Twp., PA. Based on police reports, the 40-year-old Asbury, NJ, resident apparently lost control of her car, which then left the roadway and ran into a nearby ditch and flipped over. Officers arriving on the scene found the woman’s vehicle on its roof about 10 yards from the roadside.
Fortunately for the driver and the 5-year-old girl riding in the car with her, they were both able to get out of the vehicle by themselves, but this didn’t lessen the gravity of the incident. Police determined at the scene of the accident that the driver was exhibiting signs of intoxication. As a result, the driver was charged with DWI, careless driving and endangering the welfare of a child.
NJ woman charged with DUI, endangering 5-year-old not in car seat; WFMZ.com, September 26 2012