The consequences of driving while impaired can range from monetary fines and insurance surcharges to long-term suspension of one’s driver’s license and even jail time, depending on the circumstances and the number of prior drunken driving convictions. Her in the Garden State, as drunken driving defense lawyers, we also know that there can be unintended consequences when a motorist either chooses to drive a motor vehicle after having a drink or two, or even if that person take prescription medicine without realizing the impairing effects it may have on their driving abilities.
Other unintended consequences can include traffic accidents, with or without injuries, as well as fatal collision. New Jersey’s legal statutes already provide for little tolerance when it comes to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol, prescribed medications and illegal substances, such as marijuana, cocaine and meth. Adding vehicular manslaughter to an existing charge of DWI or drug DUI and the need for a qualified DWI attorney becomes more and more essential.
As a law firm serving those charged with drunken driving in areas such as Ocean County, Bergen and Monmouth counties, and elsewhere around the state, I and my colleagues have the experience to handle combined charges of DWI and other offenses, civil and criminal. A news article, discussed below, which we ran across not long ago provided what may be a not-too-uncommon and completely believable scenario. And while the case referenced here may seem extreme, it has its parallels in terms of lesser crimes and misdemeanors that may precipitate from a routine traffic stop.
According to news articles, a Wyckoff PD officer pulled a car over on Franklin Ave. after observing the vehicle being driven in an erratic manner. Based on the police officer’s report, 31-year-old Patrick Leonard was operating the vehicle a little before midnight on a Sunday in May. What appeared initially to be a routine traffic stop for a possibly minor offense escalated to a drunken driving arrest after the patrolman likely observed signs of intoxication by the driver.
As DWI defense attorneys, we know that a typical next step taken by a police officer who suspects that a driver may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs is to request the suspect to perform one or more of the standardized field sobriety tests defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This usually takes place following a routine police stop where the patrolman has a strong suspicion, based on tell-tale signs of impairment, that the motorist is possible drunk or impaired by drugs.
In this case, the driver was arrested for DWI, as well as failure to keep to the right and reckless driving. But the story doesn’t end there. During what was likely a pat-down or otherwise an investigation of the suspect’s person, police found what news reports indicated were 30 small-sized packets of heroin in Mr. Leonard’s pocket. Based on information from the Wyckoff Police Department, the value of those packets on the open market was about $300.
After this discovery, the man was also charged with narcotics possession in a motor vehicle and possession of heroin, which is a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) under New Jersey law. After being process at police headquarters, the man was released to a relative. As criminal offenses, the narcotics charges were reportedly to be handled in the Bergen County Superior Court, according to new articles.
Waldwick Man Arrested For DWI Was Carrying 30 Bags of Heroin, Cops Say; Patch.com; May 24, 2012