Garden State DWI Defense Update: Driving Drunk in New Jersey is a Bad Bet

Driving drunk in Monmouth, Union, Bergen or Atlantic County is greatly discouraged by more than just a few safety advocates and law enforcement agencies. But besides the obvious downside of being impaired when piloting a 3,500-pound motor vehicle at parkway speeds, there are the legal and financial implications to consider should one be accused of doing so by the police. As New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, my firm has a good idea of the odds that a driver who has had a couple drinks might end up being pulled over and arrested for driving while intoxicated.

Is it worth the gamble? We’d say not, especially considering all of the opportunities these days that police have to catch an unsuspecting motorist who may or may not have had too much alcohol, or possibly be impaired by prescription drugs. While some people know that a cop can’t stop a vehicle simply on the hunch that the driver is inebriated, there are many ways in which a municipal patrolman or state trooper can legitimately stop a motorist on the road for a traffic infraction; after which the really serious problems can begin if alcohol or drug use is suspected by the officer.

Being pulled over by a police officer can begin in any number of ways, but only a few of them would be considered very serious in the minds of most motorists. As such, it is easy to imagine that even the most innocuous driving error or vehicle infraction could possibly land a person in police headquarters with a possible alcohol or drug-related impaired driving charge hanging over his or her head. As New Jersey DWI defense lawyers, my colleagues and I are more than aware of the manner in which many drivers find themselves answering a summons for driving while intoxicated in the Garden State.

Just looking at the continually mounting numbers of drunk driving defendants filtering through New Jersey’s municipal court system it is easy to see how police traffic safety campaigns and anti-DWI activities are still catching a fair number of accused drinking and driving offenders. Take, for instance, this past summer’s “Click It or Ticket” enforcement campaign, which toted up more than 70 DWI offenders in Monmouth County alone.

According to news reports, during the pre-summer crackdown the Middletown police department alone served a whopping 453 traffic citations, including 104 for safety belt violations. The campaign only ran from May 20 through June 2, yet based on news articles, more than 4,500 summonses were issued throughout the county for any number of violations. The total number of seatbelt tickets given out exceeded 1,300, which accounted for more than a quarter of the grand total.

We will mention at this point that all drivers and their front-seat passengers are required to wear a safety belt or, for younger occupants, be securely buckled in a car seat. The fine for not doing so is $46, but the opportunity for ferreting out drunk drivers can be costly as well, especially for those motorists who end up being convicted of a DWI or drug DUI offense as a result.

Of all the participating police departments across Monmouth County, there were 73 drunk driving summonses issued, as well as 143 suspended license violations, 199 speeding citations and 58 drug arrests. Reckless drivers netted in Monmouth during that two-week period amounted to 72 individuals.

Middletown Served 453 Citations During Click It or Ticket, Patch.com, July 18, 2013