Fender-Bender or Simple Flat Tire… In Jersey, Either Can Lead to a Costly DWI

The odds of receiving a drunk driving summons in New Jersey are not as slim as many might think, especially in cases where a driver may be returning home from a night out with friends and there is some alcohol in the driver’s system. Of course, one of the more tried-and-true ways to avoid a DWI arrest and related charges is to not get behind the wheel of any motor vehicle when one has had a couple of drinks, or more. At the same time, it is not unheard of to see motorists who have not had a drop of beer, wine or hard liquor end up being arrested for some kind of impaired driving.

As Garden State DWI-DUI defense attorneys, my legal team knows that the easiest way to find out whether one will be suspected of driving while intoxicated is to either get into an accident or drive in a (supposedly) careless or reckless manner. Even a simple vehicle equipment violation can open the door to scrutiny by a local police officer or state patrolman. Frankly, it doesn’t take much to get the attention of a law enforcement officer, no matter where one drives.

From the standpoint of the law, a motorist can be served with an impaired driving summons based on any number of alleged offenses, including consuming alcohol prior to hitting the road, ingesting an otherwise intoxicating substance, or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of illegal drugs or even legal, and doctor-prescribed, medications.

Any one of the numerous DWI and drug DUI offenses equates to serious traffic offense here in New Jersey. A conviction for any one of them can expose the defendant to stiff monetary penalties as provided for under New Jersey DWI statute (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50). Since state law says that “No person is to operate a vehicle while under the influence of any intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit producing drug,” if a driver finds himself arrested and then charged with an alcohol or drug-related offense, finding a consulting with a qualified DWI defense lawyer should be on his list of things-to-do.

There are examples every day of people who ended up in a bad situation with the law because of a simple error in judgment. The reasons for the charge of DWI or DUI will come out in court, but the entre into this legal dance can be an act of almost mundane proportions. Take for instance a few of the examples below, which illustrate the kinds of circumstances that can get a driver in trouble with the police in very short order, ending sometimes with an arrest for drunken driving.

In one instance, according to news reports, a Trenton motorist was hit with two separate drunken driving summonses within three hours. The initial incident took place around 7pm on a Saturday evening when a state trooper responded to report of a single-vehicle traffic accident on a stretch of Hwy 58 a bit north of the city. Upon his arrival, the officer observed that a truck had gone off the roadway for some reason and drove into a nearby ditch.

The 47-year old local man, according to the police report, had a beer in his the truck. The driver was eventually arrested and taken to headquarters, where a breath test reportedly returned a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.16 percent. After being charged with DWI and reckless driving, the man was released to the custody of his mother on an unsecured bond.

Strangely, later that same evening, the same state trooper observed a passenger car speeding in the local area. After pulling the driver over, the officer realized it was the same man as earlier in the evening. With a reported BAC of 0.13 percent that second time, the man was charged a second time with DWI, after which he was placed under a $25,000 secured bond pending a hearing. Because the man’s mother hadn’t called police to report her son’s alleged drunk driving a second time, the woman was herself charged with aiding and abetting a drunken driver.

A second example that illustrates the kind of odd circumstances that can result in a DWI arrest, a Toms River woman was stopped by Lacey police officers in a retirement community after reports came in of someone driving “carelessly.” According to reports, the traffic stop took place around 12:30am on Lakeside Dr. South, during which the officers noticed that the woman’s vehicle had a flat front tire. Based on police reports, the 31-year-old driver was “incoherent” at the time of the incident. Though she did not provide any breath samples for police, the woman was subsequently charged with drunken driving. She also had some outstanding warrants from other jurisdictions and was remanded to the Ocean County Jail.

Highway Patrol: Trenton Man Gets 2 DWI In 3 Hours, WITN.com, January 12, 2014
Traffic Stop Leads to DWI, Warrant Arrest; Patch.com; September 25, 2013