Articles Posted in Death by Auto

Generally, the police need a warrant to search a person, and searches conducted without a warrant are often unconstitutional. The courts have determined that blood draws in DWI cases constitute searches, and absent exigent circumstances, compulsory blood tests without warrants are impermissible. If the police take a blood sample from a person without a warrant or permission, it could result in a reversal of a DWI conviction based on the blood test, as demonstrated in a recent New Jersey ruling. If you are accused of a DWI crime, it is prudent to speak to an assertive New Jersey DWI defense lawyer to gauge your options.

The Defendant’s Charges

It is reported that the defendant struck a pedestrian after he was drinking at a bar. He immediately stopped, but the victim ultimately died due to the injuries sustained in the accident. When the police arrived at the scene, they described it as chaotic and found the defendant to be agitated and argumentative. He was taken to the police station, where he refused to submit to a field sobriety test. The police did not attempt to obtain a breath sample but placed the defendant under arrest and transported him to the hospital for a blood draw.

Allegedly, the defendant originally was uncooperative and asked to make a phone call, but his request was denied. He ultimately signed a consent form and gave a blood sample. He was charged with multiple offenses, including DWI and vehicular homicide. He moved to have the results of his blood draw suppressed, but his motion was denied. He pleaded guilty, and after his sentencing, he appealed. Continue reading

DUI-related crashes are often more likely to be fatal than other accidents, and people that cause deadly DUI collisions may face significant charges and penalties. As with any other crime, however, the prosecution must prove each element of the charges the defendant faces, and if any evidence used to support the State’s case was obtained unlawfully, it might be precluded. Recently, a New Jersey court issued an opinion addressing the grounds for precluding a blood test result in a case where the defendant argued that his arrest was unlawful and his blood sample was not given freely. If you are charged with a DWI offense, it is critical to speak to a New Jersey DWI defense lawyer promptly to discuss your possible defenses.

The Defendant’s Crime

It is reported that the defendant was involved in a collision on a New Jersey morning in August 2014. A car that the defendant struck spun off the road and caught fire. One of the individuals in the car died due to his injuries, and the others were critically wounded. The defendant was taken to a hospital where his blood was drawn. The results of the test indicated he was under the influence of several illicit drugs. He was ultimately charged with and convicted of numerous crimes, including vehicular homicide and assault by auto while under the influence of an intoxicating narcotic. He appealed, arguing in part that this arrest was unlawful and he did not voluntarily submit to a blood test, and therefore, his test results should have been precluded.

Grounds for Precluding a Blood Test

On appeal, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that his blood test was not voluntary because he was advised by the police that it was required, noting that the evidence made it clear that his consent was willingly and intelligently provided. Further, the court noted that while it was undisputed that the defendant was not advised he was under arrest before he consented to a blood draw, the defendant argued he was subject to a de facto arrest and, therefore, his consent was unlawful. Continue reading

In some cases in which a defendant is charged with DWI, the State has compelling evidence, and it is prudent for the defendant to enter into a plea agreement to reduce the possibility of the imposition of a significant penalty. Thus, a defendant may plead guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence. Often, however, even though the defendant and the State entered into a plea agreement, they will disagree as to what constitutes an appropriate sentence, and ultimately what sentence the defendant receives is up to the judge. While a sentencing judge has discretion in determining a suitable penalty, he or she nonetheless must consider all relevant factors in assessing what is appropriate. This was demonstrated in a recent New Jersey DWI case in which the appellate court overturned a sentence imposed by the trial court due to the judge’s failure to consider all mitigating factors. If you are charged with a DWI offense in New Jersey, it is wise to speak with a vigilant New Jersey DWI defense attorney to discuss your alternatives for protecting your interests.

Factual and Procedural Background

Allegedly, the defendant was driving his vehicle at approximately 8:00 pm when he struck and killed a pedestrian that was walking through an intersection. When police arrived at the scene, they interviewed the defendant, who smelled of alcohol and was lethargic. The defendant agreed to submit to a breath test, which revealed his blood alcohol content to be 0.08 %. He was ultimately charged with third-degree vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated.

It is reported that the defendant entered into a negotiated plea agreement with the State. At the sentencing hearing, he was advised that the State intended to request that he be sentenced to probation and be required to serve 364 days in a correction center as a condition of his probation. The defendant’s attorney requested that the court sentence the defendant to probation only. During the sentencing hearing, the court refused to consider all mitigating factors and imposed the State’s proposed sentence on the defendant. The defendant appealed. Continue reading

If you or a loved has been charged with reckless driving or driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New Jersey, you need to reach an experienced New Jersey DWI attorney who can help. Charges of reckless driving, especially when coupled with other charges, are extremely serious and can be very difficult to navigate. With wide-ranging experience in this area of law, we know how to protect your rights, including having many strategies that we can employ to help minimize the consequences of your arrest.

A man who struck and killed a couple trying to cross a street in Monmouth County last week has been charged with a DWI and reckless driving. The victims, a 60-year-old man and his 59-year-old wife were attempting to cross the street from the north side of the intersection when they were struck by the driver’s Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, which was traveling eastbound on the highway. The tragic accident took place around 7:50 p.m. and both victims died from their injuries. The driver was uninjured and remained at the scene. Their community loved the couple and an upcoming memorial service has been planned. They were soon to be grandparents as one of their adult children had a baby on the way.  Continue reading

Death by auto is an extremely serious criminal charge that should not be taken lightly. If you have been charged with death by auto, you need a reputable New Jersey criminal defense lawyer who focuses exclusively in defending against criminal charges. We will meticulously assess the details of your case and determine what legal defenses we may be able to raise on your behalf.

A former New Jersey police officer was recently sentenced to nine months in jail in an accident that killed a motorcycle rider last Halloween. Specifically, the officer will serve 270 days in county jail as a condition of the three years probation he will serve when he is released. Law enforcement says the defendant officer was off duty when he drove a jeep under the influence and crashed into a motorcycle, killing 29-year-old victim J.L. The officer later pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide, tampering with physical evidence and driving while intoxicated. In addition, the officer is no longer employed by the Elizabeth Police Department.

Death by Auto

In New Jersey, vehicular homicide, also known as death by auto, is a criminal charge from being the cause of death by driving an automobile recklessly. Reckless can be established through a few factors including intoxication. Essentially, a driver acts recklessly behind the wheel when he or she drives with an active disregard of a significant risk that death would occur from his or her driving behavior.

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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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