While it is unlawful for a person to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol in New Jersey, not all DWI offenses are treated equally, as some carry enhanced penalties. For example, a conviction for a DWI in a school zone carries greater penalties than if the offense occurred in other areas. Recently, a New Jersey court discussed the evidence needed to prove a person is guilty of driving while intoxicated in a school zone, in a recent opinion in which the defendant appealed his conviction. If you are a resident of New Jersey charged with driving under the influence near a school, it is prudent to speak to a dedicated New Jersey school zone DWI defense attorney to evaluate your possible defenses.
Facts of the Case
Reportedly, the police responded to the scene of a one-car accident in Warren, New Jersey. When they arrived at the scene, they observed tire marks on the road and in the grass and a disabled vehicle in the middle of the road. When they approached the vehicle, they observed the defendant sitting in the driver’s seat with the car running and the headlights on. When the police spoke with the defendant, they smelled alcohol and noted his speech was slurred and difficult to understand.
Allegedly, the defendant was unaware that he was involved in the accident. He submitted to field sobriety tests, which he failed. He was arrested and transported to the police station, where his BAC was determined to be 0.28. He was charged with DWI and DWI within 1000 feet of a school. Following a bench trial, the defendant was found guilty. He appealed, arguing in part that the State failed to produce evidence sufficient to show he was guilty of DWI in a school zone. Continue reading