Bergen County DWI News: Don’t Mix Drinking and Driving with Vehicular Assault

There are few situations in life that can result in an average citizen facing serious legal consequences than allegedly being the cause of an injury-related auto accident involving possible drinking and driving or drug use. As DWI defense attorneys, my colleagues and I understand how a simple night out on the town can wind up with a driver behind bars and hit with a variety of alcohol- or drug-related offenses.

We know that New Jersey state troopers and municipal police officers are hardly sympathetic to motorists who even hint at being impaired behind the wheel. That said, as DUI-DWI defense lawyers representing persons throughout the Garden State who have been accused of drunken driving, we can also say that adding vehicular assault to the charges is a whole new story. While a conviction for simple drunk driving may result in monetary fines, fees and assessments, injuring another person in a drug- or alcohol-related crash can make a DWI case all the more serious.

Take two instances of alcohol-related collisions that we have come across in the recent past. In one incident, police reports indicated that a driver from Passaic, NJ, was placed on probation following a DWI-related car crash that resulted in injuries to three individuals; one in the defendant’s car and two others in the other vehicle. The accident occurred in the Cliffside Park area when the 51-year-old defendant, who worked as a home health aide, reportedly rear-ended a Toyota Camry along a stretch of Palisade Ave at Walker St. while the other car was waiting for a red light.

As a result of the collision, the 52-year-old driver and 73-year-old passenger in the Camry were sent to the hospital for treatment of various injuries resulting from the apparent drunken driving accident. The other injured person, a 85-year-old elderly person, was also hospitalized with injuries. When police arrived on the scene they reportedly found a half-empty bottle of flavored liqueur in the defendant’s purse. A subsequent breathalyzer test showed the woman’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) to be 0.165 percent at the time of the collision.

Ultimately, the charges included DWI, driving while intoxicated in a school zone, and having an alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle, plus careless driving. But the extent of the charges expanded when a police accident investigation team determined that the driver had “made no effort to stop and drove directly” into the other vehicle. Based on this, the Bergen County prosecutor levied three counts of assault by auto. As a result of a court hearing, the defendant was found guilty and received a sentence of two years’ probation.

In another instance of vehicular assault over in Gloucester Township, a 32-year-old resident of Deptford, NJ, was also charged DWI following a two-car wreck along a stretch of Blackwood Clementon Rd. a little after 2pm in the afternoon. That crash resulted in two individuals being sent to the local emergency room after the defendant’s Dodge pickup truck hit a Chrysler Sebring near the entrance ramp to northbound Rte 42.

As a result of the alleged drunken driving accident, a 40-year-old man from Pine Hill and a 39-year-old Williamstown woman were hurt. They were reportedly transported to Cooper University Hospital in Camden, NJ, for treatment of their injuries before being released from the hospital. Remarkably, this second DWI accident also occurred in a school zone, with the attendant charges by police. In addition to this, the driver of the pickup truck was also charged with DWI, three counts of assault with a motor vehicle, and CDS-related drug DUI. At the time of the news report, the driver was delivered to Camden County jail where he was held on a $15,000 bail.

DWI crash gets Cliffside Park home health aide probation, CliffviewPilot.com, August 10. 2013
DWI Charge for Driver in a 2-Vehicle Crash, Patch.com, June 13, 2013