Articles Posted in Death by Auto

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Just last week, a former New Jersey police officer was convicted of drunk driving and causing a wrong-way accident that ended up killing a fellow officer as well as another friend. The cop is now facing up to 25 years in prison, the maximum for his crimes.

Prosecutors say that at the time of the crash, the former Linden police officer’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.24, three times higher than the legal limit in New York, which is 0.08 percent. The defendant was driving the wrong way on the highway when he crashed head-on into a tractor-trailer. The crash occurred in March 2015 as the defendant and three of his friends were heading home to New Jersey after a night of drinking in New York.

In New Jersey, as in New York, the basic offense of driving while intoxicated (DWI) consists of operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or more. If you drive while you are drunk and kill someone in an accident, you will likely be charged with either vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter under Section 2C:11-5 of New Jersey’s criminal code.

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Considering the number of teenagers and young adult drivers currently on Garden State roadways, DWI and drug DUI arrests involving underage drivers are bound to happen more often than not. As New Jersey drunk driving defense lawyers, my legal team understands how easily a young person can end up intoxicated and then get behind the wheel without taking into account the various consequences that may result. Safety aside, for those drivers under legal drinking age, being stopped by the police for intoxicated driving can have unintended outcomes.

The penalties for underage DWI here in New Jersey are outlined in our state’s legal statutes, specifically N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.14. The law specifies that any person under 21 years of age who operates a car, truck or motorcycle with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of greater than 0.01 percent but less than 0.08 percent risks forfeiture of his driving privileges for one to three months. Even those individuals who do not yet have a driver’s license may face a delay in obtaining their driver’s license following a previous conviction for underage DWI.

As with most drunken driving cases, the burden of proof is on the state. Where a charge of drunken driving is at issue, the local prosecutor must show that 1) the defendant was “operating” the vehicle at the time of the offense; 2) the defendant was under the state’s legal drinking age at that time; and 3) the defendant had a BAC over 0.01 percent. Evidence of the latter is typically gained via a breathalyzer test, often obtained by using an Alcotest breath testing device or occasionally through a direct blood sample taken from the defendant at the time of the drunk driving arrest.
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If it’s been stated once, it’s been stated a thousand times: a New Jersey drunk driving defense can only be complicated by a traffic accident. As Garden State DWI and drug DUI defense attorneys, I and my colleagues are serious when we say that causing an accident while possibly intoxicated is usually going to make for a difficult time in court. This is why we usually recommend that anyone involved in a DWI- or drug DUI-related car, truck or motorcycle collision seek professional legal help as soon as possible following the incident.

When someone suggests that a drunken driving charge can be complicated by a traffic accident, it is also important to point out that causing injury or death to another individual can compound the offense, which should be cause to contact a qualified DWI lawyer. Whether one lives in Atlantic, Bergen, Hudson or Sussex County, when you add an injury-related or fatal parkway wreck to a charge of driving under the influence, law enforcement and the local courts take a dim view of the situation. Naturally, if proven innocent of any drug- or alcohol-related charges, the motorist can possibly breathe a sigh of relief, but most serious DUI-DWI arrests are hardly “a walk in the park” when property damage or personal injury is involved.

Of course, it is interesting that despite the logic behind not drinking and driving, these incidents do, in deed, take place on a fairly regular basis all year long. To avoid a DWI summons, our suggestion, as usual, is to avoid getting behind the wheel at any time when a person believes that they may possibly have some alcohol in their system. The same thing goes for the taking of certain prescription medications, which may lead to a drug DUI.
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A little over a week ago a New Jersey driver was convicted in an Ocean County courtroom of drunken driving and vehicular manslaughter in a fatal 2010 DWI-related traffic accident that left an Ocean Gate police officer dead. According to news reports, the jury deliberated less than one hour before rendering a guilty verdict in the case of Erick Uzcategui, whose vehicle struck an SUV driven by off-duty police officer, Jason Marles. As a result of the jury’s decision, the 34-year-old Manchester, NJ, resident faces a prison term of between five and 10 years.

The crash that led to the arrest and eventual conviction of the driver, reportedly took place on Thanksgiving back in 2010. At the time, according to court records, the defendant was operating his BMW sport utility vehicle along a section of the Garden State Parkway when he apparently lost control of the vehicle and slammed into the back of Officer Marles’ Jeep Grand Cherokee. The force of the impact cause the policeman’s vehicle to spin and subsequently crash through a nearby guardrail, after which the vehicle rolled and caught fire.

Based on news articles, the police believed the driver of the BMW to have been impaired due to alcohol consumption and possibly drug use involving cocaine and a steroid known as Oxandrolone. As New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, we noted that the outcome of this case came after a rather extended period of time. Almost four years after the initial incident, many people were likely frustrated by the slow pace of the case; with blame settling squarely on the defendant’s lawyers for an unhurried approach to defending their client.
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Driving while intoxicated (DWI), drunken driving, driving under the influence (DUI), or impaired operation of a motor vehicle — whatever you call it, drinking and driving in the Garden State is definitely not something that the police or our courts look at favorably. In fact, wherever you reside — be it Middlesex, Morris, Atlantic or any of the 20 or so other counties — the odds of being arrested and charged with a drunk driving offense can increase once a person gets behind the wheel of a car or truck after even one drink.

As New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, my law firm is committed to helping motorists who have been accused of DWI or drug DUI fight for their rights in courtrooms throughout the state. Over the many years of representing individuals charged with drunken driving, my colleagues and I have litigated dozens upon dozens of drunk driving cases. It goes without saying that many DWI-DUI cases involve traffic accidents, some of which are rather minor, while others entail more serious outcomes. And, there is a certain percentage of DWI-related accidents that entail more tragic results.

As skilled Monmouth County trial attorneys with expertise in drunk driving law, my legal team has defended numerous clients accused of a DWI- or DUI-related traffic collision. Because we believe that everyone deserves a proper defense under the law, my firm is ready and willing to represent our clients’ best interests. On the other hand, we understand the need for highway safety and therefore we do not condone the mixing of alcohol and driving.
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When it comes to out-of-state drivers who are arrested for DWI or drug DUI here in New Jersey, it is important to remember that New Jersey and almost every other state in the nation participates in what is known as the “Driver License Compact,” or DLC for short. Briefly, the DLC is an agreement between 45 individual states and the District of Columbia, which allows the non-resident state to report any traffic-related conviction to the administrative division of the offending driver’s home state. In short, if one’s home state has a statute or equivalent law for an offense committed here in New Jersey, it will be treated as if the violation took place in the state where the driver resides.

A related agreement, known as the “Non-resident Violator Compact,” is observed by 44 participating states, which in essence safeguards the rights and privileges of non-resident drivers when operating a motor vehicle outside of their home state. For example, when a Garden State motorist is driving in a participating state, this interstate agreement ensures that the driver will have the same rights as the resident drivers of that state if he or she is arrested for drunken driving, drug DUI or other related impaired driving offense.

Under the non-resident agreement, if a motorist is charged with a traffic offense or other serious moving violation, he or she has the protection of due process. This also means that a New Jersey driver must comply with the terms of the member state’s traffic citation as ordered by that non-resident state, and any failure to comply can result in license suspension here in the one’s own state.
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While a charge of drinking and driving is one of the more serious traffic-related offenses for a Garden State motorist to receive, there are other types of “impaired” driving that can be just as serious when it comes to accidents resulting in injury or death. The New Jersey court system is no stranger to personal injury lawsuits arising from impaired driving; and for years now, law enforcement, state legislators and numerous traffic safety advocates have warned about the effects of cellphone use and distracted driving, not to mention drowsy driving.

The recent news coverage of the fatal multi-vehicle crash involving a limousine carrying well-known comedian and NBC “30 Rock” television star, Tracy Morgan, has ramped up debate regarding serious and fatal traffic collisions caused by motorists who are simply too tired to drive. As with intoxicated driving, drowsy driving can be deadly; however, the proof of whether a driver was too fatigued to properly operate his or her motor vehicle may be more difficult to come by than that involved in drunken driving cases.

Nevertheless, this latest high-profile news story has brought the issue of drowsy driving to the fore, with Walmart employee, Kevin Roper, in the spotlight and facing serious charges, including that of vehicular homicide and assault by auto following the death of comedian James McNair. The crash, as many people already know, took place last Saturday along a portion of the New Jersey Turnpike in Middlesex County. Mr. Roper, 35, has since entered a plea of not guilty across the board, though the case has much farther to go.
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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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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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Defending drivers accused DWI in here in the Garden State is a task best left to skilled legal professionals such as the experienced DWI and DUI defense lawyers here at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall. My trained legal team is well-versed in the legal statutes of the State of New Jersey, which include our state’s drunk driving laws. For anyone who wonders if the choice to drive drunk is ever a good one, consider the serious financial penalties and punitive measures that exist to deter people from operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or impaired by some kind of narcotic or illegal substance.

Not long ago, we ran across a news article that illustrated the extremely sad results of an alleged drunken driving episode. With the dozens of DWI and drug DUI summonses that are issued every week by police all across the state, a significant percentage of alcohol- and drug-related traffic offenses involve property damage and bodily injury; a subset of these DWI-related incidents sometimes result in a fatality. Whether a charge of impaired driving involves alcohol, doctor-prescribed medication, or an illegal substance (such as marijuana or cocaine), having an experienced professional by one’s side is often essential, especially in situations of death or serious injury.

According to news articles, a well-known area benefactor and avid cyclist was killed in a reportedly alcohol-related automobile accident along a stretch of Rte 1 back in March. The crash, which took place on a Thursday evening, was allegedly caused by a drunken trucker in a commercial vehicle. Based on police reports, 67-year-old Charles Inman died when his vehicle was struck from behind by a Mack truck driven by a 65-year-old Pennsylvania man.
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