Articles Posted in Breath Test Refusal

A driver from the Dover area was recently taken into custody by officers from the Randolph Township Police Department after an investigation revealed that the driver may have been intoxicated at the time of the wreck. According to reports, patrolmen responded to a car accident along a stretch of Everdale Rd. earlier in the year when the suspect’s car plowed through a snow bank and hit a tree. The crash, as reported in a more recent news article, took place on March 22.

Based on information from the Randolph PD, one of the officers responding to the apparent single-vehicle crash noted that the driver allegedly had a “strong smell” of alcohol on his breath at the scene of the collision. Apparently, it was decided to charge the individual on several counts, including driving under the influence of alcohol (or DUI) and refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test, as well as reckless driving. There was no mention of a court date.

In another instance of alleged drunken driving, a resident of Rockaway, NJ, was stopped by local police after police received word of a motorist operating a motor vehicle in an erratic fashion, and allegedly almost striking a pedestrian in the process. Based on police reports, a 49-year-old local man was operating his vehicle in the mid-afternoon on school property, specifically the Morris Hills High School parking lot.
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From time to time we all read news articles that, on the face of it, seem like just one more in a string of typical day-to-day mistakes that some people make when driving a motor vehicle here in the Garden State. However, there are instances when a simple lack of good judgment may result in some serious consequences, not only for the individual who may have erred, but for those who suffered personal lose as a direct result.

While many car, truck or motorcycle accidents can be similar in many ways to the dozens of others that occur every week in counties like Monmouth, Middlesex and Atlantic, there are certain roadway collisions that distinguish themselves as being more unique than most. As New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, we have a great deal of experience representing various individuals accused of variety of alcohol-related traffic wrecks.

While multi-car drunken driving accidents are sure very common in a state with millions of motor vehicles travelling every day along its roadways, single-vehicle accidents do occur with amazing frequency as well. Some of these types of traffic incidents end up being allegedly attributed to alcohol consumption or drug use on the part of the driver.
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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.
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We’ve discussed this in previous posts, but it bears repeating once again: The police do not have the legal right to stop a motorist simply because an officer assumes or guesses that the individual behind the wheel is possibly intoxicated. This goes back to the basic New Jersey DWI statutes, which state that a law enforcement officer must have a reasonable and articulable suspicion that a driver has committed a moving violation or other vehicle infraction in order to make a traffic stop.

As New Jersey DWI defense lawyers, my legal team has a great deal of experience in this area. Quite often, motorists contact my firm with the intention of fighting a drunk driving summons or charges related to some other alcohol or drug-related traffic offense. As part of our investigation, we research the facts of the case in order to determine if there were any basic procedural violations on the patrolman’s part. More than once we have found that an officer has made erroneous assumptions about the defendant or his driving style, which then led to a faulty or improper police stop and DWI arrest.

If it can be shown that the officer acted improperly or based the initial traffic stop on less-than-appropriate grounds, there is a good chance that the court will entertain a motion to have the drunk driving charge dismissed or the charges reduced. Unfortunately, many proper police stops come about due to a motorist’s own driving error, which if observed by a municipal cop or state trooper, may result in a roadside stop. If alcohol is involved, there is high likelihood that a summons for driving under the influence will be issued.
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Many hundreds of Garden State drivers are pulled over every month by police officers, during which a certain percentage of those individuals are accused of driving while under the influence of alcohol. Although a fair number of motorists are routinely convicted of DWI or drug DUI, there are many defendants who avoid a guilty verdict, as well as the stiff monetary penalties that come with it. Law enforcement officers certainly have a difficult and many times dangers job to perform, but they are not always correct in their assessment of some supposedly drunken drivers.

As experienced New Jersey trial attorneys, my colleagues and I have great respect for our men and women in uniform. But there are instances when we must stand back and consider the occasional downside that comes with the great authority that we give our municipal patrolmen and state troopers. It is because law enforcement officials have such power — to arrest and charge citizens with driving offenses and more egregious crimes — that we must hold them to a higher standard, understanding at the same time the challenging nature of their position.

In particular, as DWI defense lawyers, we find it hard to accept the illegal behavior of some policemen when it comes to drinking and driving. From our standpoint, having defended hundreds of motorists against charges of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), it is unconscionable when a patrolman violates the very laws that he or she is responsible to enforce. Quite simply, there is never a good excuse for a law enforcement officer to be arrested for drinking and driving, yet this can and does happen from time to time.
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Most motorists, when charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, usually experience trepidation when facing an upcoming hearing to decide their guilt or innocence. Entering a courtroom without a firm knowledge of the law pertaining to DWI or drug DUI can be a misstep for many people, which can often lead to a conviction and all the associated fines, fees and assessments as provided by New Jersey’s drunk driving statutes.

As Garden State drunken driving defense attorneys, my staff of skilled trial lawyers understands how the state’s case — as pursued by many municipal prosecutors — can turn on the lack of evidence collected by the police during a DWI or DUI traffic stop. While some motorists may understand how the law works, many more can be at some disadvantage when they face a judge alone as the prosecuting attorney brings point after point in support of a guilty verdict.

As a former municipal prosecutor myself, I have worked on the other side of the aisle as advocate for the state. This background, which I share with several other members of my law firm, gives me additional insight into numerous strategies and legal tactics that the state may employ to obtain a drunk driving conviction. Of course, much of what counts as evidence in a DWI or drug DUI case is attained by police at the roadside, as well as back at police headquarters.
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Talk to most any person who has been convicted of drunken driving in the Garden State and you will most likely hear about the ordeal of having one’s breath tested in order to obtain a blood-alcohol content (BAC) measurement. As we have explained numerous times in this forum, breath test results are often a key point of evidence for any municipal prosecutor looking to convict a motorist on DWI charges.

There is no doubt that the uninitiated — that is, drivers who have never been stopped by a police officer and arrested for driving while intoxicated — may not have an appreciation for all of the aspects of a drunk driving or drug DUI police stop. As Garden State DWI defense lawyers, my staff can explain to potential clients the various steps that a patrolman or state trooper should take when initiating a traffic stop, evaluating a suspected drunken driver, and making an arrest when an offense is believes to have taken place.

Dozens of drunk driving arrests happen all across New Jersey every week in counties such as Middlesex, Monmouth, Atlantic and Bergen. When a driver is stopped for a moving violation, if the officer in charge observes any signs of impairment, regardless of whether the individual is truly intoxicated, the officer may request that the motorist perform one or more of the standardized field sobriety tests as established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
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As DWI and drug DUI defense attorneys, the legal team at my firm has made it their job to represent those Garden State drivers who have been charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, doctor-prescribed meds, and even illegal substances (also known as controlled dangerous substances or CDS). As experienced trial lawyers, we certainly understand how quickly an average motorist can find himself in the custody of a local cop or state trooper after being arrested for allegedly driving while intoxicated.

Here in New Jersey, DWI enforcement can be such that more than a few otherwise law-abiding citizens can end up before a judge pleading their innocence on a drunken driving or drug DWI charge. Especially when anti-drunk driving campaigns are going full tilt, but even when things may seem to be mostly quiet arrests can and do occur quite frequently. Hundreds of roadside stops for traffic violations are made every day around this state, and a percent of those may end up with a driver taken into police headquarters for a breath test.

Of course, New Jersey is in no way unique, but it certainly does see its fair share of inebriated drivers plying the roadways. Whether those motorists are legally drunk is for a court to decide, which is why we recommend that anyone accused of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs talk to a qualified legal expert in the field of drunk driving law.
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Being charged with DWI is not a something that any driver welcomes, but occasionally a motorist faced with the possibility of a drunken driving summons will choose to decline the usual police request for a breath sample. To many people, given the option of providing or not providing a law enforcement officer with a breathalyzer sample seems like a no-brainer.

Some drivers may think, “Why provide the cops with any evidence that could be possibly be held against me later in court? If they give me the option, of course I’ll opt to refuse.” But is this the best choice? Many times the consequences of withholding a breath sample can be just as costly as being charged with a DWI due to a blood-alcohol content (BAC) reading over 0.08 percent.

As New Jersey drunk driving defense attorneys, my staff and I have represented hundreds of individuals in court, many of who have been accused of driving while intoxicated by alcohol, impaired driving while under the influence of doctor-prescribed drugs, or the aforementioned breath test refusal.
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Given the population, as well as the number of motor vehicles in the Garden State, there are a fair number of drunken driving arrests that occur every month all across the state. In counties such as Middlesex, Passaic, Ocean and Cape May, throughout the year local police officers and state troopers alike make dozens of alcohol and drug-related arrests every week following routine traffic stops.

As New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, we understand that being pulled over for even the most simple of driving infractions can open the door to drunk driving or drug-related DUI charges. When a motorist receives a DWI or DUI-related summons, the clock starts ticking toward a court date, a possible conviction and potentially hefty monetary fines and other penalties.

It seems that no matter where one looks in the news, there is always some story that grabs the reader’s attention regarding an alcohol- or drug-related arrest on one of New Jersey’s roadways. The ubiquitous police blotter pages can be an interesting source of information on what not to do if one has a drink or two under their belt.
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