When it comes to alcohol-related traffic offenses, New Jersey is hardly unique among the many states that have stiff anti-drunk driving laws. We are, however, one of the most densely populated states in the Union, can make law enforcement efforts to curb drunk driving — not to mention drugged driving, or drug DUI — rather obvious and seemingly heavy handed. As Garden State DWI defense attorneys, my legal staff is always aware of the volume of intoxicated driving arrests that occur on a weekly, or even daily basis.
Whether a motorist is legally drunk or not is for a court to decide, but our job is to represent defendants who believe that they were unjustly accused of DWI or DUI. Convincing a judge that a defendant was not impaired at the time of his or her arrest can include calling witnesses, questioning the voracity of the breath test results obtained from an Alcotest device, and bring to light any procedural mistakes made by the police in the course of the arrest.
As experienced trial lawyers with extensive training in the defense of motorists charged with drunk driving, prescription drug DUI, underage drinking and driving, and breath test refusal, among others, my legal team has dedicated themselves to helping accused and alleged intoxicated drivers have their day in court. In addition to alcohol and prescription drug-related arrests, we also represent those individuals who have been charged with being under the influence of illegal substances (known generally as controlled dangerous substances or CDSs), such as cocaine, meth and marijuana.
From our experience, we have seen how quickly a driver can be singled out for a seemingly minor traffic infraction, pulled over and questioned about his earlier whereabouts, then taken into custody on any number of DWI- or DUI-related charges. Here in New Jersey, it’s well known that DWI enforcement can be fairly heavy, especially during the holidays. But anyone, anytime can find themselves pulled over on the roadside just minutes from being asked to perform a field sobriety test.
Even a small amount of alcohol in one’s system can raise the suspicions of a local patrolman or a state trooper. Once arrested, a motorist can see their future hanging in the balance as a policeman asks the individual to submit to a breathalyzer test. The worry over expensive fines, increased insurance premiums, the loss of one’s license, and even the possibility of jail time makes an episode such as this quite nerve-racking to say the least.
The frequency of alcohol- and drug-related arrests throughout the Garden State may seem remarkable to some. Our law firm’s legal staff has first-hand experience with many of these DWI-DUI arrestees, so we are hardly ever shocked at the near-continuous stream for cases going in and out municipal courtrooms every week. Many of those cases are reflected in the news articles and police blotter reports found in many newspapers and online news outlets. The following incident is an extreme case of a DWI arrest, but nonetheless hardly an uncommon situation.
Lyndhurst Driver Arrested for Intoxication, Assaulting an Officer
A New Jersey man was taken into custody by East Rutherford police officers following a report of an auto accident along a portion of southbound Rte 17. According to news articles, patrolmen came across a Mazda passenger car that was stopped in the middle lanes of the roadway around 2am on a January morning. Seeing the driver alongside the vehicle, officers said that the 48-year-old Lyndhurst resident told them he had a pain in his chest because he struck the steering wheel apparently during the impact.
After the man allegedly handed the officers an expired insurance certificate, the police noticed that the driver’s speech became slurred and, according to news reports, “incoherent.” He was advised to sit, after which he reportedly clutched at his chest and started to yell in pain. He allegedly rolled onto his side and began texting on his cellphone. The driver told officers that another vehicle “came out of nowhere,” which apparently caused the accident.
The news article stated that the driver was combative toward the police officers, as well as the EMS workers arriving on the scene. Allegedly threatening the patrolmen, the man bit one officer’s arm as the officers were attempting to secure him on the EMS stretcher; he reportedly had to be restrained on the way to a Hackensack area hospital. Eventually, the man was charged with drunk driving, reckless/careless driving, failure to produce his vehicle registration and valid insurance certificate, DWI within 1,000 feet of a school zone, failure to report a motor vehicle accident, aggravated assault and resisting arrest.
East Rutherford: Police Blotter, NorthJersey.com, January 30, 2014