Articles Posted in Bergen County DWI Defense

As Garden State drunk driving defense lawyers, my colleagues and I know that defending those accused of an alcohol- or drug-related traffic accident can become very complicated when injuries are involved. Multi-car accidents can, of course, result in serious and sometimes fatal injuries; however, causing injury while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs intoxicated can up the ante quite a bit in the eyes of a municipal prosecutor.

For this reason alone — that is, having caused a personal injury while intoxicated by alcohol — it is advisable to locate a skilled criminal defense lawyer with expertise in litigating New Jersey drunken driving cases. A recent news story out of Bergen County details an all too common scenario involving an inebriated driver, a crash between a motor vehicle and a bicycle rider, and a badly injured victim.

According to police reports, a 62-year-old bicyclist from the New York area was sent to the emergency room after being hit by a Dodge pickup truck in the Mahwah, NJ, area. The collision took place early on a Wednesday evening along a portion of Ramapo Valley Rd. New articles indicated that Francisco Perez of Suffern, NY, was riding his bicycle in the northbound lane when a local man going the opposite way made a sudden left turn onto N. Railroad Ave.
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As many Garden State drivers already know, DWI and drug DUI roadblocks are frequent, if not somewhat random, occurrences throughout the New Jersey area. As Red Bank drunk driving defense lawyers, my colleague and I know that a percentage of motorists who are charged with DWI end up being arrested for intoxicated driving at these so-called sobriety checkpoints, which show up in certain “trouble spots” in and around Monmouth, Ocean and Atlantic County, as well as numerous other parts of the state.

For the average person who turns up at one of these drunk driving roadblocks, if he or she has had any amount of alcohol to drink prior to the encounter, a potential nightmare scenario is being taken into custody on suspicion of DWI-DUI. Simply one or two bottles of beer or glasses of wine during dinner can sometimes result in a major legal problem for any driver charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. We are well aware of this because we defend many individuals who have been accused of drunken driving, as well as other alcohol- and drug-related traffic offenses.

My legal team also understands that when it comes to being stopped at a DWI checkpoint, those who are arrested or served a summons for drunken driving are many times curious whether these commonly used police enforcement tools are actually legal under the laws of the State of New Jersey, not to mention that of the U.S. Constitution. Clients may often ask about the fairness of DWI-DUI roadblocks, which is completely understandable given the random nature of these checkpoints.
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As long-time Garden State drunken driving defense lawyers, my colleagues and I have seen just about everything over the nearly 100 years of our combined legal careers. In our capacity as litigators for New Jersey motorists, representing individuals accused of intoxicated driving or drug DUI has given us more than a little insight into the variety of alcohol-, prescription drug- and illegal substance-related traffic arrests. Quite simply, we understand the many and varied ways that drivers can be stopped and charged with driving under the influence.

For most motorists, at least those served with summonses or arrested for an alcohol- or drug-related offense, the usual scenario does not involve a serious traffic accident. In many instances, a driver will have been stopped after being observed making some kind of simple driving error or even a more overt moving violation, such as speeding, improper passing or running a red light.

It is only after one of these routine traffic stops that a police officer may question the driver regarding his activities prior to the stop. Although New Jersey law prohibits a patrolman from stopping a motorist purely on a “hunch” that the driver is inebriated, once stopped at the roadside, the line of questioning may lead to suspicion of drinking and driving, or even some kind of drug-related DUI.
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Quite frequently during course of the summer it is not uncommon for New Jersey DWI and drug DUI defense attorneys to receive numerous inquiries regarding the validity of a BWI summons, better known as a boating while intoxicated offense. The fact that the bulk of these kinds of charges crop up during the warmer weather is hardly surprising given the marked increase in boaters and recreational fishermen who take to the waters off of the Jersey Shore, as well as on the inland waterways throughout the Garden State.

As Monmouth County DWI-DUI lawyers, we understand fully the confusion that surrounds a BWI arrest or issuance of a summons related to intoxicated boating. While most people understand that driving under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs is a serious offense when on New Jersey roadways, many find it somewhat difficult to equate the seriousness of drunk driving to the operation of a watercraft.

One of the possible trains of thought is that there are fewer boats on the water than cars on the turnpike, so why should drinking a little alcohol while piloting a powerboat be such a serious matter? Another rationalization could be that boats don’t travel as fast as cars, so collisions, if they occur, should be less dangerous. Unfortunately, New Jersey law enforcement agencies, as well as the state’s legislators, feel much more strongly about the dangers of drinking while operating a boat. Either way, the fact remains that BWI is a chargeable offense and a potentially costly one as well.
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While many people know that drunk driving is a risky activity, to say the least, fewer know the true consequences of being found guilty of a DWI or drug-related DUI that results in bodily injury or death. As New Jersey DWI lawyers, we understand how frightening it can be to face potential jail time for what seems to be a simple error in judgment. Regardless of whether a defendant in DWI and drug DUI cases believes he or she is innocent of wrongdoing, the fact is that municipal prosecutors all across the Garden State pursue aggressive legal action against those motorists accused of drunken driving when tied to injury-related automobile accidents.

Whether you or a loved one have been accused of intoxicated driving combined with vehicular assault or death by auto charges, the value of having a qualified drunk driving defense attorney on one’s side is immeasurable when compared to the possible negative aspects of a DWI conviction. It goes without saying that the monetary penalties are often the least of one’s problems when faced with mandatory jail time following a guilty verdict in a DWI or drug DUI case.

Taking an aggressive approach to defending our clients, the legal team at the law offices of Jonathan F. Marshall recognizes that not every drunken driving case is as clear cut as the local prosecutor may have the court believe. Our skilled defense lawyers have nearly 100 years of combined litigation experience, all of which can make a difference when fighting serious charges of driving while impaired by alcohol, doctor-prescribed meds, or illicit drugs (otherwise known as controlled dangerous substances or CDS).

From time to time, there are certain DWI-DUI cases that present considerable challenge from a legal standpoint, especially those involving significant property damage or bodily injury. The most serious of these would be drunken driving-related traffic accidents resulting in the death of one or more individuals. It goes without saying that the penalties for DWI in an injury-related or fatal accident case are much greater than other DUI-DWI cases that do not include personal injury or possible claims of wrongful death.
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One doesn’t necessarily need a New Jersey drunk driving defense attorney to tell you that injuring or killing another individual in an alcohol or drug-related car accident can pose some serious complications to any DWI defense case. Even so, few people truly realize how serious the consequences can be for a drunken driving-related car or truck collision that involves injury or death.

As experienced Garden State drunk driving defense attorneys, my colleagues and I take our responsibility very seriously when we assist those who have been accused of a drug or alcohol-related impaired driving charge. We also use an aggressive approach when representing our clients in these kinds of serious DWI-DUI cases. From time to time we have clients who are defendants in DWI cases that involve an injury-related drunk driving accident. Whenever situations like this crop up, we highly recommend that those accused of DWI or drug DUI consult with a skilled trial lawyer experienced in drunken driving cases.

Here in New Jersey, the potential penalties following a conviction for a drunk driving accident involving serious bodily injuries or fatalities are significantly greater than the more run-of-the-mill DWI-DUI cases that are not injury-related. It goes without saying that DWI and drug DUI offenses that are tied to a fatal car crash carry the most severe punishments. For these kinds of cases, if the defendant is found guilty of drunken driving, the result will be felony conviction and mandatory prison time.
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There are many good reasons to retain the services of a qualified drunk driving defense attorney — facing a possible third conviction for driving while intoxicated is definitely one situation that almost demands the assistance of a skilled legal professional. Yet for many people, the perceived expense of hiring a lawyer may make them wonder if it is cost-effective for a first-time offense. While there may be some argument for going it alone, this strategy rarely works out for most people in the long run.

For instance, some motorists who have been slapped with a summons for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated believe, incorrectly, that plea bargaining on a DWI or drug DUI charge is still possible. Unfortunately, choosing to speak directly to a municipal prosecutor simply will not work. This is because every municipal prosecutor’s office in the Garden States has been precluded by the New Jersey Attorney General from entering into any plea agreement with an accused drunk driver.

For the above-mentioned reason alone, it is often critical for anyone facing the stiff penalties that can come from a drunken driving conviction to seriously consider retaining an experienced DWI-DUI defense lawyer. With years of legal training and courtroom experience, the professional legal experts at my law firm have the background that few, if any, laypeople possess. In fact, my legal staff has nearly 100 years of combined criminal and civil litigation experience.
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Last week, the Hackensack Municipal prosecutor’s office dropped two key summonses previously lodged against a River Vale resident who was initially under suspicion of impaired driving after her vehicle struck and killed a well-known local business man last fall. According to news articles, the prosecution essentially cleared 63-year-old Kathleen Gehm of any wrongdoing in the tragic auto-pedestrian collision that resulted in the death of 87-year-old Jerome Some on the evening of October 8.

Based on court records, the DWI and reckless driving charges were dropped by Frank Catania Jr., municipal prosecutor for the city of Hackensack. The motion to dismiss, which was just recently filed, came months after the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office decided not to pursue criminal charges against Ms. Gehm following a negative toxicology report on blood taken from her after the deadly traffic accident. Those toxicology results were returned from the lab last December.

According to news reports, Gehm’s lawyer stated that at the time of the incident his client was “extremely shaken up” and freezing as she stood in the cold evening air in sandals. This information was part of the defense’s argument to the court as to why the woman allegedly failed two field sobriety tests requested of her by police officers at the scene of the crash. As a result of those failed tests, police asked the woman to take a breath test, to which she did consent in hopes of clearing herself of a DWI charge.
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With hundreds of drivers pulled over by police every week all across the Garden State — for all manner of traffic and vehicle infractions — it is not unexpected that a certain percentage of these police stops will result in arrests for any number of more serious offenses. Drunken driving, CDS possession, impaired vehicle operation due to drug use, and underage drinking and driving are just a few of the common reasons why a fair number of New Jersey motorists find themselves served with summonses for traffic-related offenses.

How many of these individuals actually avoid a guilty verdict and, by doing so, side-step the potentially expensive fines, fees and statutory assessments? That often depends on the strength of the evidence, but the number would surprise many people. Certainly, the first step is to consult a qualified drunk driving defense attorney to learn what options are available to the particular motorist accused of such an offense. As New Jersey DWI-DUI defense lawyers, my colleagues and I are experienced in providing an aggressive defense for many people arrested for drunk or impaired vehicle operation.

When looking to understand the typical kinds of police traffic stops, it is instructive to look at police blotter reports in local newspapers and online media sources. The law of averages suggests that the average DWI offense involves some of the most simple and seemingly innocuous driving infractions as a starting point for a roadside traffic stop. But even the most basic of traffic offenses can eventually develop into a full-blown drunk driving arrest.
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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.
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