Articles Posted in Bergen County DWI Defense

Rather few members of New Jersey’s law enforcement community have much sympathy when arresting drunk drivers here in the Garden State. And with the amount of energy devoted to stopping motorists who may or may not be inebriated, there should be no question as to the aim of most state and local DWI and drug DUI patrols; that is, to hand over to the local prosecutor’s office motorists who have in the eyes of the law very likely committed a drunken driving offense. Along with the defendant, police must also provide the municipal prosecutor with sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction.

Does it happen? Yes, indeed. Many people do have their day in court only to be found guilty and then have still penalties heaped upon them. The law is specific, not only in terms of the various criteria that must be met to attain a guilty verdict, but also the monetary penalties and other punitive actions, post-conviction, all provided for by this state’s drunken driving statutes. As DWI defense lawyers, our job is to consider all of the facts, particularly those held up by the prosecution as evidence that a motorist was truly drunk at the time of his or her arrest.

As drunk driving defense attorneys, my legal team knows that not every driver arrested for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated was actually impaired beyond a reasonable doubt. My colleagues and I know that many people who are picked up for DWI-DUI — especially many first-time offenders — did not consciously decide to go out and break the law by driving drunk. However, once that traffic stop is made, and an officer suspects the driver of being impaired by alcohol or drugs, an arrest is most likely forthcoming, to be followed by formal charges and the setting of a hearing date in a municipal courtroom.
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Few people have accused New Jersey law enforcement officials as being soft on drunk drivers; certainly not lately, so it wasn’t surprising that with the world’s premier sporting event taking place right here in the Garden State, that police all across the state were gearing up for some serious anti-DWI enforcement. As Monmouth County drunk driving defense lawyers, my colleagues and I are very familiar with the effort with which state and local patrolmen pursue those who may have had a little too much to drink.

While New Year’s Eve, along with other popular national holidays, are prime time for DWI and drug DUI enforcement, the arrival of the Seahawks and Broncos is really heating things up for state police and municipal cops statewide. According to news reports, police presence on New Jersey roadways promises to be uncommonly high this coming Super Bowl weekend, especially in the East Rutherford area. The New Jersey state attorney general’s office has advise fans who expect to party hard before, during and after the big game to bring a sober designated driver along for the fun.

This warning is not exactly falling on deaf ears, since those who follow police anti-drunk driving campaigns liken Super Bowl weekend to that of New Year’s, which is recognized as one of the largest binge-drinking times of the year. And, because hundreds of New Jersey police will be working overtime to keep the streets safe and free of intoxicated motorists, there is no reason for anyone planning to celebrate professional football’s famous face-off between the best of the NFC and AFC.
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Being accused of drunk driving when one knows he or she is not intoxicated can be a frustrating and potentially expensive event in any person’s life, but being told that you were drunk following an injury or fatal accident can have greater implications, many of which may be undeserved and possibly damaging in so many ways. As New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, my legal team knows that a percentage of alleged drunk driving accidents can occasionally not be attributable to drinking and driving. Proving it, however, can sometimes be a challenge.

It goes without saying that the injury or death of any innocent person is a tragedy that nobody ever wants to occur. Unfortunately, automobile accidents can and do happen with alarming frequency here in the Garden State. For a driver’s honest and tragic mistake lead to a drunken driving arrest without the proper legal evidence only compounds the sadness felt by all concerned.

Our firm has seen, time and time again, where police officers make wholly subjective observations that have led to the unjust arrest of motorists for driving under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs. While this does not always happen, each instance of an unjustified arrest provides an object lesson for why it is imperative to consult with a qualified DWI-DUI defense attorney when confronted with a drunk driving summons or other related traffic offense.
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Being stopped by a New Jersey State Police officer or local cop for a traffic offense can be unnerving enough for most people without the added concern of being arrested for DWI. As Garden State drunken driving defense lawyers, my firm is all too aware of the emotions that can come to the surface when faced with a summons for driving under the influence. Often frightening, and certainly unsettling, the experience of being taken into custody is only overshadowed by the potential financial impact that a DWI or drug DUI conviction can have on an individual or his family.

The state of New Jersey has long since banned plea bargaining as a common avenue to having a drunk driving charge dismissed or downgraded. Because of this, many people might wonder why they should even consider retaining a DWI attorney at all. First and foremost, an experienced legal expert can look for flaws in the state’s case, which can range from the way the police officer conducted the traffic stop prior to the DWI arrest, to the procedures followed or skipped after the driver submitted to a breathalyzer device in order to determine his or her blood-alcohol concentration (BAC).

When asking why one should hire a lawyer for a DWI or drug DUI defense, it may be more important to ask what the secret to success is when it comes to avoiding a conviction. At the very least, someone accused of driving drunk should contact a qualified professional to determine if fighting a drunk driving summons would be fruitful or if a downgrade is possible. In our experience, identifying any potential issues that may undermine the state’s ability to prove the DWI-DUI offense is a key objective when discussing a defendant’s options going forward.
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New Jersey news outlets reported a while back that the Fort Lee, NJ, emergency management chief had his drunken driving charges dismissed by the court after the prosecution could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the man was, in fact, drunk behind the wheel when officers stopped his vehicle in Bergen County a year ago.

As Garden State drunk driving defense lawyers, my colleagues and I could easily point to this single instance as an example of how the police can often be either wrong in their assessment of a motorist’s state of inebriation or their failure to follow proper procedures when stopping, arresting and processing a suspected drunken driver. The bottom line is if you or someone you know has been charged with DWI, breath test refusal, or drug DUI, or other alcohol or drug-related traffic offenses, never assume the state has the upper hand.

In this particular case, 61-year-old Stephen Ferraro, who is the coordinator for Fort Lee’s Office of Emergency Management, as well as being a former police captain, was charged with DWI following a routine traffic stop in February 2013 after officers observed the man making what was described as an unsafe lane change. Because of this, and exclusive of the drunk driving accusation, Mr. Ferraro was also charged with reckless driving.
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We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating once again. Drinking and driving is not just a risky behavior in terms of losing one’s license or paying thousands of dollars in fines; driving in an impaired state can potentially risk the driver’s life and the lives of those around him. As New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, we work hard to clear the names of those individuals who have been accused of driving while intoxicated by alcohol or impaired by drugs. However, this doesn’t mean that we encourage anyone to drink and drive.

For drivers here in the Garden State, it should come as no surprise that municipal police, state troopers and other law enforcement personnel maintain a very dim view of drivers who operate their motor vehicles while being even the slightest bit tipsy or inebriated. The same can be said for the judges in this state. For those convicted of DWI or drug DUI, the New Jersey DWI statutes provide stiff penalties for intoxicated or impaired driving.

Besides possible loss of driving privileges, monetary fees, fines and assessments can add up to thousands of dollars depending on the extent of the charges. Just the thought of losing one’s personal independence can make many motorists think twice about even taking one drink and then getting behind the wheel. But there are worse scenarios.
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As Garden State DWI and drug DUI defense attorneys, my colleagues and I have represented hundreds of individuals for a variety of civil and criminal offenses. When it comes to drunken driving, as experienced trial lawyers, we know that there are numerous approaches to a DWI-DUI defense. While we understand why some people might be averse to hiring a legal representative to stand by them in court, the penalties associated with a drunk driving conviction are significant enough these days to warrant at least a consultation.

We are often asked by potential clients how realistic it is to believe that one can fight a charge of operating a car, truck or motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs. The response to this question has a great deal to do with what the accused driver has in mind for himself as he stands before the court. If someone is already resigned to pleading guilty, then we know that is no way to win a DWI-DUI case.

Being apprehensive about defending oneself is a natural feeling. Most laypeople have little or no knowledge of the law, much less New Jersey’s specific drunken driving statutes. If the thought of going up against a skilled municipal prosecutor and his or her star witness — usually the arresting officer — makes one unsure of their chances of winning their case, perhaps speaking with a qualified DWI attorney might be in order.
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Having defended a great many individuals accused of DWI throughout the years, the attorneys at our firm realize that nobody is immune to what is often referred to as the “long arm of the law.” Especially where traffic enforcement is concerned, patrolmen are usually quite vigilant when it comes to spotting erratic driving behavior on Garden State roadways. And if a motorist is found to have been drunk behind the wheel, the law does not discriminate — fines, court fees and increased auto insurance premiums are just a few of the penalties that await someone unlucky enough to be found guilty of DWI.

And, as New Jersey drunken driving defense lawyers, we are well aware that both young and old are equally likely to be arrested for drunk driving. Although older drivers may have more experience behind the wheel, the intoxicating effects of alcohol or a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), such as marijuana, cocaine or meth, can make even the most qualified driver less than effective on the road.

With many kinds of traffic offenses, usually the more minor ones however, a motorist’s age and driving history can work in his or her favor. Unfortunately, with the focus on eliminating the dangers of drinking and driving from New Jersey roads, courts are unlikely to give an older, seasoned driver a “pass” when it comes to a drunk driving arrest. A good driving record can be a plus, but depending on the circumstances, penalties both in terms of monetary fines and jail time can still be a significant possibility.
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The skilled attorneys at the Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall have successfully defended motorists arrested for and charged with drunk driving, drug DUI, breath test refusal and other alcohol and prescription drug-related offenses in Monmouth, Sussex, Middlesex and Union counties. Our commitment to our clients is demonstrated by the aggressive and vigorous defense; and our legal staff is knowledgeable in all aspects of New Jersey DWI law, criminal statutes and offenses involving drug DUI and possession in a motor vehicle.

As Garden State DWI-DUI defense lawyers, we understand how frightening a drunk driving arrest can be to the average person; if only because most drivers who are charged with a first-time offense for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol are likely law-abiding individuals with families and good standing in their community.

Unfortunately, law enforcement personnel are usually more interested in whether a crime or civil offense has been committed and less about the background of the alleged offender; that is something for a judge to consider when the case comes to trial. As attorneys, we endeavor to pursue the facts and present our client’s case in the best possible light, while working to call into question the prosecution’s arguments and evidence that is being used against the defendant.
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Nobody ever said that being arrested and charged with a DWI was going to be a pleasant experience. For most people, getting a drunk driving summons or being held in jail overnight to “dry out” can not only be an embarrassing experience, but it can also be rather frightening. This is especially true when one begins to consider the repercussions of such an encounter with the possibility of a conviction and any associated penalties; those fines, fees and statutory assessments can run in the thousands of dollars, which makes a drunken driving arrest potentially costly from a financial standpoint as well.

For the record, the state of New Jersey has for some time banned the legal practice of plea bargaining for those defendants who are facing charges of driving while intoxicated. This is generally the case, unless there is some serious legal issue at stake or if there is a major flaw in the prosecution’s case. Barring a genuine legal issue, judges are barred from entertaining any thought of a dismissal or even the downgrading of a drunk driving charge.

As professional DWI defense attorneys, we know that the secret to success in avoiding a conviction (or in winning a downgrade in a defendant’s charges) is identifying certain key issues that reduce the strength of the state’s arguments. This is where our firm’s unique DWI law training and trial experience can prove invaluable. At my firm, the attorneys who make up the Jonathan F. Marshall legal defense team have credentials that are, quite frankly, second to none.
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