Articles Posted in Breath Test Results

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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Considering the zealousness with which New Jersey law enforcement pursues drunken drivers, it’s not hard to imagine that local prosecutor’s offices are equally dedicated to convicting accused drunken drivers. With that in mind, it is important to remind anyone who has been charged with an alcohol- or drug-related driving offense that consulting with a qualified DWI-DUI defense attorney is often a good idea.

Our law firm serves the residents of New Jersey in counties such as Bergen, Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex, among others. My colleagues and I know the ramifications involved with a DWI conviction — even on a first-time offense — not only in terms of the financial impact that may await a defendant, but also the potential social stigma attached to a drunk driving conviction. This is in addition to possible jail time, as well, though with the assistance of a skilled drunk driving defense attorney the odds of serving time behind bars is greatly reduced.

Even with the potential penalties hanging over the head of a motorist accused of DWI or drug DUI, quite a few drivers may still wonder whether or not hiring a New Jersey DWI lawyer is worth the trouble. This is because many drivers who are facing a DWI summons may simply consider the battle already lost once the charges are lodged against them. As experienced trial attorneys, we must say that there are numerous arguments why individuals should consider fighting a drunken driving charge.
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While not as common as in-state traffic stops, more than a few Garden State residents get caught every week by police in nearby states for any number of traffic violations. Although a speeding ticket or citation for a vehicle equipment violation may not weigh heavy on the mind of some individuals, being arrested for drunken driving — whether her in New Jersey or somewhere out-of-state — can cause one to seriously consider the present and future implications of a potential DWI or drug DUI conviction.

It is a fact that as a licensed driver here in New Jersey, a motorist is required to obey the traffic laws and rules of the road here, as well as in other states in which one operates a motor vehicle. The sharing of DMV information between law enforcement agencies across the country has made out-of-state violations just as relevant as if they occurred in one’s own home state. This means that even if a New Jersey driver violates a traffic law out-of-state that he or she will still be subject to penalties, points and license suspension within New Jersey.

For reference, there are two interstate agreements that affect drivers when operating their vehicles in a state other than their own. The first is known as the “Driver License Compact,” which is an agreement between 45 of the 50 states in the Union, as well as the District of Columbia, that governs certain traffic violations and license suspensions for non-residents. Essentially what this means is that when a motorist is convicted of a traffic violation in a state other than the one where he or she resides, the non-resident state will report that conviction to the appropriate agency in the motorist’s home state.
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According to news reports, a New Jersey driver avoided a vehicular manslaughter charge in connection with a fatal 2013 auto-pedestrian collision over in Brooklyn last summer. Based on a recent article, the Newark, NJ, area motorist was sentenced to probation, a six-month driver’s license suspension, plus a $500 fine after his guilty plea for being drunk behind the wheel when he struck and fatally injured a 27-year-old woman on July 5 last year.

As Garden State DWI and drug DUI defense attorneys, my firm is all too familiar with the often devastating results of drunken driving. Although we defend individuals accused of DWI-DUI, we do not condone drunk driving; and we certainly do understand the risks involved in getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol. There is no doubt that a DWI arrest in conjunction with a fatal traffic accident is something that no person would ever want to have happen. In this particular case, the prosecutors apparently believed that the defendant’s reported blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.126 percent was not a factor in the tragic death of the 27-year-old victim.

According to news articles, the deadly accident took place around midnight near the intersection of Flatbush and St. Marks avenues. At that time, the defendant was driving a BMW sedan when he reportedly struck the woman. As a result of the impact, the victim sustained massive head injuries, complications from which resulted in her death five days later as she was being treated in a local hospital.
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Police officers in Middletown Twp. Had a busy week not long ago when they arrested and charged five individual drivers with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Without knowing the specific circumstances of each arrest, it is difficult to know how or why each of these drivers was served with a summons for DWI, however it is instructive to remind readers that being stopped on any Garden State roadway can open a person up to extreme scrutiny, especially if they in any way exhibit some key signs of impairment.

As New Jersey drunken driving defense lawyers, my colleagues and I understand the difficult position under which many otherwise law-abiding citizens are placed when they find themselves being questioned on the roadside by a local cop or state trooper. Odd as it may seem to some people, it is possible — yet amazingly commonplace — to see a motorist who is pulled over for one of many possible traffic infractions end up admitting, in short order, that he was drinking prior to the police stop.

Providing a police officer with an “admission of guilt” in whatever manner it happens, does not necessarily that the driver’s statements can be used against him in court. An experienced DWI defense attorney, like those on the legal team in my firm, will know immediately to ask whether or not the driver was read his or her Miranda Rights prior to their supposed admission of guilt. Similarly, one should also consider whether or not the driver was informed of his right to remain silent. Depending on the situation, if the answer to these two questions was no on both counts, then there is reason to believe that the court may likely strike any admission of guilt from the record, since it was probably not obtained legally.
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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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Although it may seem to be an obvious point to make, it would seem that a small number of people still don’t understand that confronting the police in whatever circumstance is highly inadvisable these days. Especially under such circumstances as a simple traffic infraction, there is little advantage to calling out an officer who is only doing his duty. Even as DWI defense attorneys, the legal staff at my firm recognizes the important and indispensable role that law enforcement plays when ti comes to the general welfare of our society as a whole.

So the question arises, how should one react to being pulled over for a moving violation? Calmly, is what most people would generally agree is the approach any motorist should take when being questioned by a state trooper or local policeman. We’ve cautioned readers in the past regarding the folly of driving while possibly under the influence of beer, wine or liquor. The DWI-DUI laws here in the Garden State make the act a potentially expensive and inconvenient one, to say the least.

But when it comes to interacting with a policeman on the roadside, it is best to save any fight for the courtroom, since outbursts brought on by anger or frustration will generally not be tolerated by any patrolman. Certainly, being accused of drunken driving presents a motorist with trouble enough without potentially adding on to the list with a verbal onslaught or uncooperative behavior. In fact, refusing to provide a breath sample may seem like one way to retaliate against an unjustified arrest for DWI, but even that approach can backfire on some people.
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The old saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” could be applicable to almost any aspect of life. Whether you are looking for an experienced building contractor, a reliable snow removal company, or a skilled legal expert, it’s always best to do one’s homework in order to get the best and most qualified professional on your side. But, while many things in life can be put off, finding a good attorney is not necessarily one of them.

For anyone who has even been charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence of prescription medications (drug DUI), it is a fact that when staring at potential penalties in the hundreds to thousands of dollars, getting to know a good drunk driving defense lawyer can quickly become a top priority. Here in the Garden State, being convicted of DWI or DUI, not to mention breath test refusal, underage drunken driving, or marijuana possession in a motor vehicle can be a serious event in one’s life; and, one that will not soon be forgotten.

The often serious penalties awaiting those who are found guilty of drunk driving can include not only monetary fines and assessments, but also a likely driver’s license suspension, imposition of an ignition interlock device on one’s vehicle, not to mention the possibility of jail time. As anyone can imagine, being charged with an alcohol- or drug-related traffic offense can have serious ramifications for the motorist and his family.
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A 53-year-old Plainfield, NJ, driver was taken into custody by members of the Garwood Police Department following a traffic accident near the intersection of South Ave. and Center St. According to news articles, a collision took place around 1am in the morning when a white van reportedly slammed into the back of another motor vehicle. Based on police information, a number of 911 calls were made calling officers to the scene as the driver of the van allegedly attempted to leave the scene of the crash.

Officers arrived shortly thereafter to find that one person had reportedly removed the driver of the van from his vehicle. Upon investigation, the patrolmen determined that the suspect was “so intoxicated” that he allegedly could not maintain his balance. As a result, the officers took the man into custody and arrested him for drunken driving. The other driver whose vehicle was hit complained to emergency responders of back pain and was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

The suspect was taken to police headquarters where he was charged with additional offenses, including a couple criminal complaints — vehicular assault and operating a motor vehicle on a suspended license reportedly due to multiple previous DWI convictions. The man was eventually released on $5,000 bail pending trial.
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Drunken driving, DUI, DWI, impaired driving, drug DUI, breath test refusal and numerous other drug- and alcohol-related driving offenses are topics that many people of driving age have heard of, but fewer actually know about from personal experience. Covered under the New Jersey drunk driving statute (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50), offenses such as driving while intoxicated by alcohol and driving under the influence of drugs are serious charges that carry stiff penalties for anyone convicted of them.

As Garden State DWI defense lawyers, my colleagues and I have discussed with many of our clients the rather harsh penalties associated with a guilty verdict for drinking and driving. Despite the amount of publicity aimed at discouraging DWI-DUI, it is interesting that many motorists apparently still find it hard to imagine that they will ever be arrested for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence.

As every drunk driving defense attorney knows, New Jersey’s DWI law states that no person shall operate a vehicle while under the influence of any intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit producing drug. The penalties for such an offense include upward of $400 for a first-time offense plus a one-year driver’s license suspension. For a second offense the stakes rise to as much as $1,000 and a two-year license suspension.
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