New Jersey Drunk Driving Defense Notes: Nothing Wrong with Fighting an Undeserved DWI-DUI

For those individuals out there who may be on the fence about fighting a drunken driving charge in a New Jersey courtroom, we have a few words of encouragement. While it may seem difficult to challenge the often monolithic institution represented by state and local law enforcement agencies, our court system is another significant — and very important — institution where the so-called “little guy” can dispute the charges levied against him by the state.

If a motorist is pulled over for a traffic infraction, only to find herself taken into custody and cited with drinking and driving, there are options available. From the standpoint of protecting oneself from harsh monetary fines and other penalties, it is always a good idea to consult a qualified DWI or drug DUI trial lawyer. In particular, for anyone who has been charged with a DWI-DUI offense, the first question that should come to mind is, “How can I fight this drunken driving charge?” As Garden State DWI defense attorneys, our initial comment would be to act as quickly as possible.

My colleagues and I have been defending drivers accused of intoxicated and drug-impaired driving for many years. We know that time is one of the more critical factors when deciding to fight a DWI or drug DUI charge. Certainly, it is highly recommended to contacting a skilled DWI attorney early on in order to get the best possible advice that may help guide the accused motorist through the steps often necessary to avoid a drunken driving conviction.

One the more common avenues to challenge a drunk driving summons involves the determination of whether or not the officer who made the arrest actually had probable cause for the initial traffic stop. Hard as it is to believe, many DWI and drug DUI charges can be reduced, if not dismissed altogether, based on improper procedures on the patrolman’s part.

The details and specific reasons given by a police officer for having pulled a motorist over in the first place can sometimes lead to a better outcome than the defendant could have expected. Probable cause for the initial traffic stop must be shown and the state must prove that the officer in charge had a valid reason for pulling the motorist over. This generally means some kind of traffic-related offense, not because the officer saw the driver exit a bar, get into his or her vehicle and drive away. Quite simply, the state must show that the defendant committed a legitimate traffic violation prior to the DWI arrest.

In certain situations, a skilled attorney who has a comprehensive understanding of New Jersey traffic laws and regulations can point out to the court that the so-called ‘traffic violation’ was, in fact, not a violation at all. In such cases, if the “violation” was not legitimate — and the state cannot prove probable cause on the part of the office — the charges can end up being reduced, if not thrown out completely.

Another area that often presents opportunities for a legal defense against DWI is that pertaining to the oft-employed “field sobriety tests.” As many experienced drunken driving defense lawyer know, these standardized tests are not fully accurate in determining the level of impairment of many people. Challenging the validity of one or more of these tests can call into question the basis for an arrest, which can lead to a better outcome for the defendant. Interestingly, there have been instances where a police officer asked a drunk driving suspect to perform a NON-standardized field sobriety tests. Requesting a motorist to count backwards from 100 or recite the alphabet backward from the letter Z is not valid in the eyes of the court, which may even improve one’s chances of having DWI charges dismissed.

As one might imagine, there are numerous other ways in which an experienced drunken driving attorney can help his clients fight erroneous accusations of DWI or drug DUI. But the first step is to pick up the phone and call a skilled attorney. Being slapped with a DWI-DUI summons does not mean an automatic conviction. Far from it. But facing drunk driving charges alone may prove to be a risky venture. Our law firm is ready, willing and able to help. Make that call and start fighting for your legal rights today.