Articles Posted in Endangering the Welfare of a Child

The New Jersey criminal courts are tasked with handling a high volume of cases each year. Thus, to cut down on unnecessary hearings, the court allows some people who are charged with less serious offenses to enter into the Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI), thereby avoiding a trial and conviction. The defendant must establish certain elements in order to be eligible for PTI, however, as demonstrated in a recent New Jersey DWI opinion in which the appellate court ruled that the defendant’s alleged crimes rendered PTI an unsuitable remedy. If you live in New Jersey and are charged with a DWI offense, it is wise to speak to a zealous New Jersey DWI defense attorney to discuss your options.

Facts and Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was involved in a collision outside of a fast-food restaurant. The police officer that responded to the scene observed the defendant sitting in his vehicle, with his fourteen-year-old son in the passenger seat. The officer spoke to the defendant and noticed a strong odor of alcohol on the defendant’s breath. As such, he asked the defendant to submit to field sobriety testing. The defendant consented and failed the tests. He was then transported to the police station, where a breath test revealed his BAC to be .21%. He was charged with DWI and numerous other driving offenses, as well as with second degree endangering the welfare of a child.

Allegedly, the defendant filed an application for admission into PTI. The criminal case manager recommended against his admission into the program, and his application was subsequently rejected. The matter then became before a trial judge, who overturned the rejection. The State then appealed.

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Most people are familiar with basic drunk driving laws in New Jersey, but are far less knowledgeable about what happens if you are caught driving while intoxicated (DWI) with a minor in tow. This is an extremely serious offense with deliberately harsh penalties. If you have been arrested or charged with drunk driving and you had a minor in the vehicle, you need our help. Our New Jersey DWI attorneys understand how serious these charges are and also know how to handle them.

A man from Elizabeth recently pled guilty to a drunk driving accident that killed his daughter last year. In November 2018, police were called regarding a car accident on 1-295 north. Upon arrival, they discovered a man’s Ford Focus in the grass beyond the right shoulder. His 9-year old daughter had been tossed from the vehicle into a wooded area and suffered deadly injuries. The man and a younger daughter, who was also in the vehicle at the time of the accident, were not seriously hurt. The man allegedly consumed multiple alcohol beverages at an establishment before driving. His blood alcohol content (BAC) was determined to be double the legal limit. Prosecutors say that the 38-year old man pled guilty to one count of vehicular homicide, one count of endangering the welfare of a child and driving while intoxicated.

There are typically two kinds of charges that can result when a minor is in the car during a DWI arrest. N.J.S.A 39:4-50:15 makes driving with a minor (17 years of age or younger) in the car a disorderly persons offense and calls for additional criminal penalties for drivers who are found guilty of a DWI with a minor present. These penalties include possible jail time, up to six months of license suspension, fines up $1,000 and no more than five days of community service. It is important to note that these are penalties on top of the serious penalties you would be facing for a DWI in the first place.

Drunk driving is a serious offense in New Jersey but drunk driving with a minor in the car is even worse. If you were charged with drunk driving and you had a child in the car with you at the time, you need to consult a diligent New Jersey DWI lawyer as soon as possible. This is an extremely serious charge that can adversely impact your personal and professional life. Our firm is committed to protecting your rights and making sure that you obtain the most favorable outcome in your case.

Actor Marion “Pooch” Hall was recently placed under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol with his toddler son apparently in his lap and crashing into a parked car. Witnesses called 911 after seeing the toddler on his lap and noticing that the vehicle had been weaving in and out of traffic before hitting a parked car. Fortunately, no one was injured. According to police, Hall showed obvious signs of intoxication and was unable to perform field sobriety tests. In addition, his blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.25, three times the legal limit. The police also determined the toddler was inside the car and he was not restrained as mandated by the law. Hall was charged with drunk driving and child endangerment.

While this incident took place in California, the sad truth is that these sorts of accidents also happen in New Jersey and everywhere else in the country.

Drunk driving is a serious charge, but it can be even more serious when you have a minor in the car. If you have been charged with a DWI while a minor was in the vehicle, it is important to discuss your case with a New Jersey DWI attorney who can evaluate the facts and can protect your rights accordingly. You will need to act quickly, since the penalties for this offense are extremely harsh and can have a long-term impact on your future.

Under New Jersey law, DWI consists of driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. For commercial drivers, the BAC level must not exceed 0.04 percent, and for drivers under the age of 21, the BAC cannot be 0.01 percent or higher. It is important to note it is also illegal to get behind the wheel if any substance has impaired your ability to drive safely, whether it is drugs or alcohol.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 21 percent of children under 15 years old who were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2003 were killed in alcohol-related crashes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that of the 1,132 traffic deaths among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2015, approximately 209 (16 percent) involved an alcohol-impaired driver.

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Without a doubt, most all state troopers and municipal patrolmen throughout the Garden State have very little tolerance for those individuals who they suspect of being drunk behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. In fact, it isn’t much of a stretch to suggest that New Jersey’s law enforcement community has zero tolerance for drunken driving on public roads.

As professional DWI-DUI defense attorneys, my colleagues and I have a great deal of experience representing drivers who have run afoul of the law when it comes to DWI and drug DUI violations. Needless to say, our court system is also relatively unyielding when sentencing those people who have been convicted of intoxicated driving. Aside from the often costly and occasionally embarrassing results of a DWI conviction, some defendants who enter a courtroom less than adequately prepared can end up feeling the effects of that drunk driving arrest for years to come.

While many people likely consider that any consequences tied to a DWI or drug DUI conviction are mostly monetary in nature, there are instance where jail time may be prescribed (however, first-time offenders can often avoid that level of punishment with the help of a qualified legal expect). That said, it is best to keep in mind that many people fail to realize the negative effect that a DWI conviction can have on one’s family members, friends and neighbors, and even employers.
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Having represented numerous defendants against various civil and criminal charges over the years, my colleagues and I handle a great deal of cases involving motorists accused of drunken driving, drug DUI, and other offenses related to impaired operation of a motor vehicle here in New Jersey. As skilled DWI defense attorneys, we know which cases may be tough going for our clients and which will be more routine. In some instances, we can even tell early on whether or not a DWI or DUI case may be thrown out due to insufficient evidence or improper police procedure.

Regardless of the cause of a drunk driving or drug-related DUI arrest, having a qualified legal professional on one’s side can not only be a smart move, but it can also be reassuring for the defendant to know that he has a knowledgeable expert in the area of drunk driving law representing his interests in court. As professional litigators, my legal team has extensive litigation experience throughout the Garden State. And, when asked by potential clients, we often hold that fighting a DWI-DUI charge is a wise course of action, especially considering the financial consequences.

Of course, the monetary aspects of a drunken driving conviction can frequently be a serious consideration, especially for those individuals who are facing a significant DWI-DUI offense. One serious charge that a percentage of drivers end up being accused of is DWI while having young children in the vehicle. Just as a DUI or DWI in a school zone can result in extensive penalties following a conviction, having kids in a motor vehicle while allegedly driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can make for a rather difficult legal situation as well.
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As professional trial lawyers, the skilled legal team at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have been practicing law collectively for nearly a century. Having represented countless numbers of motorists who have been accused of drug DUI, DWI, CDS possession in a motor vehicle, breath test refusal and other drug and alcohol-related offenses, we know quite a bit about how to win tough cases. We also know that getting in over one’s head is easier than one might expert here in the Garden State, as well as elsewhere.

Because of our extensive legal experience, we understand New Jersey’s rather strict DWI-DUI statutes. We also know how the law can affect outcomes in the courtroom when drunken driving cases involve injury-related highway accidents in areas such as Bergen, Monmouth, Atlantic and Ocean County.

One of the more serious drunk driving-related charges that can affect parents, grandparents, babysitters and driving-age siblings has to do with intoxicated driving and something called “child endangerment.” For motorists who are found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while driving toddlers, small children and even teenagers in their vehicle, the penalties can be much worse than just a “simple” DWI or drug DUI.
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As experienced DWI defense lawyers, my law firm understands how many drivers who are accused of DWI can be quite nervous about the serious consequences they may be facing following a drunken driving arrest. It is important to note, however, that some instances of drunk driving may be much more damaging for one person than for another. In fact, a DWI conviction — or even simply an arrest for alleged DWI-DUI can severely impact some individual’s future career opportunities.

Commercial truck drivers come immediately to mind when the topic of intoxicated driving comes up. But other people, not just professional drivers, can suffer the aftereffects of a DUI conviction in many ways. The question of trust, employee safety and company liability are all serious issues that companies, both large and small, must consider when an employee is found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Like it or not, the complications of a DUI-DWI arrest and subsequent conviction can have long-term effects on many New Jersey drivers.

We were reminded of the havoc that a DWI conviction can have on some individuals just a short time ago when we read a news report of a Bayville woman who was taken into custody by Toms River police after she allegedly slammed into a fire hydrant with her car early on a Friday afternoon. Apparently, the 50-year-old woman had recently been hired as a babysitter by a local woman to take care of her son at home. Based on police reports, the officers stated that the babysitter had been discovered drunk at her employer’s home earlier that day.
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As in many parts of the Garden State, police patrols in Somerset County, NJ, are always active on city streets, undivided highways and high-speed interstates. Whether one travels to and from work or school, going shopping or simply taking a driving vacation to the Jersey Shore for some needed R & R, the odds of coming into contact with a New Jersey State Police trooper or a local patrolman are usually quite high. As DWI defense lawyers, my colleagues and I have met dozens of average people who never thought they would ever be charged with a serious traffic offense, much less be arrested for drinking and driving.

Yet, every week, scores of Jersey residents and out-of-state drivers get pulled over for some minor infraction, opening themselves up to additional scrutiny from a law enforcement officer. A percentage of these individuals will be unlucky enough to have had something to drink in the hours prior to that traffic stop. Unfortunately, many of them will be taken into custody and charged with some kind of impaired driving offense. More and more, this group includes individuals who may be carrying some kind of illicit drug on their person, which can complicate matters when the time comes for court appearance.

Still others find themselves involved in a roadway collision. It’s no secret that drinking and driving only increases the chances of a motorist being involved in a single- or multiple-car accident. If alcohol or drugs were involved, the ante is raised sufficiently to make speaking with a qualified DWI-DUI defense attorney not only a good idea, but almost a necessity. Being experienced trial lawyers, we understand that accidents do happen. And while we do not condone drinking and driving, we also know that some people accused of DWI-related collisions may not have been legally drunk at the time of the wreck.
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In what could be referred to as a case of “bussing while intoxicated,” a Garden State school bus driver not long ago pleaded guilty to operating a school bus loaded with children while she was apparently under the influence of alcohol in November 2011. As many people can surely understand, the impact of a DWI conviction on most any professional driver, especially one who transports children, can be serious and long-lasting.

As New Jersey drunk driving defense attorneys, my legal team is well versed in the statutes pertaining to our state’s DWI and drug DUI laws. For most people who have been charged with driving while intoxicated by alcohol or impaired by doctor-prescribed medications (even illegal substances like cocaine or marijuana), a first-time DWI-DUI offense can be an eye-opening experience. With monetary penalties approaching thousands of dollars (including auto insurance premium assessments) and potential jail time depending on the specific circumstances, there is little sense in tempting fate by going it alone in a courtroom.

Of course, finding a qualified DWI lawyer can be one of the most important steps one can take following a drunken driving arrest. And, taking advantage of a free initial consultation can be invaluable for almost anyone facing a serious alcohol or drug-related traffic violation. In our estimation, it is better to understand your rights going forward than to leave things more to chance by confronting the arresting officer and a skilled municipal prosecutor in a court of law.
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