Articles Posted in Field Sobriety Tests

There are numerous factors a judge or jury can consider in determining whether a person is guilty of DWI, and in many cases, the court will rely on cumulative evidence in determining a person’s guilt. If the State does not have sufficient evidence to prove a defendant was driving while under the influence, the defendant should not be convicted. Recently, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New Jersey clarified that the results of a horizontal gaze nystagmus test, standing alone, are not sufficient to prove guilt in a DWI case. If you are faced with DWI charges it is prudent to consult a skilled New Jersey DUI defense attorney to discuss your potential defenses.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that the defendant was charged with and convicted of DWI. He appealed, arguing in part that the court erred in considering the results of a horizontal gaze nystagmus test as proof of the defendant’s intoxication. On appeal, the court reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Sufficiency of HGN Test as Evidence of DWI

The horizontal gaze nystagmus test involves the police holding a pen to either side of a defendant’s face and asking the defendant to gaze toward the pen while keeping his or her head still. A person’s eye will involuntarily jerk when looking to the side, but in instances in which a suspect is intoxicated the jerking will become exaggerated. Continue reading

DWI charges should never be taken lightly. If you have been arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) because you failed a field sobriety test, our highly skilled New Jersey DWI attorneys can help. Just because you failed the test does not automatically mean you were intoxicated and it certainly does not mean you will be convicted in court. With extensive experience in this area of law, our attorneys understand which defenses to use in your case.

A 40-year-old man was recently charged with a DWI after he crashed his car in Madison. According to law enforcement, an officer was dispatched to the scene for a single vehicle accident. Upon arrival, the officer discovered a red Ford Explorer upside down on the front lawn of a residence. The driver was standing outside of the vehicle and the police officer said he observed signs of impairment. The man was asked to perform a field sobriety test, which he failed, and was ultimately arrested and charged.

In New Jersey, drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher are considered alcohol-impaired under the law. Police officers will sometimes administer a Standard Field Sobriety Test (SFST) to determine whether a driver is impaired. In administering the test, police are looking for signs of intoxication by testing the driver’s coordination. You have the right to refuse to perform a field sobriety test although the police officer will most likely not tell you that. In addition, you should know that refusing to take the test would likely lead to you being arrested.

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If you have been charged with a DWI, you need to reach out to a skilled New Jersey DWI attorney without delay. In some cases, the basis for a DWI is a field sobriety test. These tests are notorious for being inaccurate, which is why we will meticulously examine what happened in your case to make sure none of your rights were violated. You can rest assured that we will put the full breadth of our legal experience to work for you.

While we often discuss drunk driving involving auto accidents, the reality is that it does not always consist of motor vehicles colliding with other motor vehicles on the road. Some accidents are the result of drunk drivers crashing into stationary objects, such as poles, medians, trees or even someone’s property. This recently happened in New Jersey. Last week, a Ridgewood woman allegedly drove into the wrong side of a carwash and crashed her vehicle, according to police. N.A. was found with an open bottle of wine in her purse at the time of the crash. Her car was stuck in the carwash for quite some time before it got removed and impounded. N.A. failed field sobriety tests and purportedly refused a Breathalyzer test. She was then charged with a DWI.

The basic offense of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New Jersey involves getting behind the wheel with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. In addition, any drug that impairs a person’s ability to drive safely can also form the basis of a DWI.

While driving laws may vary from state to state, law enforcement officers across the United States use the same field sobriety tests to identify suspected drunk drivers. New Jersey police officers typically ask suspected DWI drivers to take a field sobriety test prior to arrest. If you have been arrested or charged with a DWI, it is imperative to reach out to an experienced New Jersey DWI defense attorney who can scrutinize the circumstances and results of your field sobriety test and build the strongest defense possible.

In the state of New Jersey, DWI stands for Driving while Intoxicated. The basic offense of a DWI consists of driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. Field Sobriety Tests are evaluations done by police officers in making roadside determinations as to whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. While these tests are optional for the driver, most officers do not inform drivers of their right to decline.

The National Highway Safety Traffic Safety Administration recognizes three field sobriety tests as reliable scientific indicia of intoxication. The Standardized Field Sobriety Test has precise instructions for officers to follow, as well as an objective scoring system. It consists of the following three tests:

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A news report earlier this month pointed up the danger of drinking and driving, not only in terms of legal liability, but especially due to the serious nature of accidents that can take place when operating a motor vehicle while possibly intoxicated due to alcohol or drugs. As Garden State DWI lawyers, my law firm is always ready to assist those motorists who have been accused of drinking and driving on New Jersey roadways. However, as drivers ourselves, we also know there are numerous risks associated with driving under the influence, many of which can be life-threatening.

That said, and while we in no way condone impaired driving, we do understand that some individuals can be fully unaware of their inebriation due to beer, wine or hard liquor, as well as possible impairment resulting from taking doctor-prescribed medications prior to getting behind the wheel. For those who believe they were unjustly charged with a DWI or drug DUI, my skilled legal team is available to help defendants fight those charges in a court of law.

Sadly, the reality of driving in New Jersey can mean that some people will be involved in a serious automobile or trucking-related accident as a result of some kind of impaired vehicle operation. From a legal standpoint, being charged with drunken driving following an injury-related roadway crash can often mean that the local prosecutor will consider other, more serious charges stemming from the accident itself.
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It’s safe to say that here in New Jersey few individuals would have anything pleasant to look forward to given a drunken driving or drug DUI conviction as the end result. Not only does a guilty verdict mean thousands of dollars in court fines, statutory fees and auto insurance premium increases, but the addition an ignition interlock device on one’s vehicle and the possibility of some jail time can be onerous as well.

For those who are considering the services of a drunk driving defense attorney, the time to act is very soon after one is charged with a DWI-DUI offense. It is quite important to find a qualified trial lawyer who has years of experience in defending motorists against charges such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) in a motor vehicle, breath test refusal, and marijuana DUI, among others. But we recommend that a person act swiftly, while choosing carefully, before too much time elapses.

As Garden State DWI defense lawyers, my legal team and I are keenly aware of the anxiety that a drunk driving summons can cause for many otherwise law-abiding people. The best suggestion is to find legal counsel as quickly as is practical so that you allow your defense attorney enough time to prepare a strong case. As long-time DUI-DWI attorneys, my law firm has assisted many individuals accused of impaired driving, such as by alcohol or narcotics. If a driver has been served with a summons and has a pending court hearing, the time to act is now.
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For those individuals out there who may be on the fence about fighting a drunken driving charge in a New Jersey courtroom, we have a few words of encouragement. While it may seem difficult to challenge the often monolithic institution represented by state and local law enforcement agencies, our court system is another significant — and very important — institution where the so-called “little guy” can dispute the charges levied against him by the state.

If a motorist is pulled over for a traffic infraction, only to find herself taken into custody and cited with drinking and driving, there are options available. From the standpoint of protecting oneself from harsh monetary fines and other penalties, it is always a good idea to consult a qualified DWI or drug DUI trial lawyer. In particular, for anyone who has been charged with a DWI-DUI offense, the first question that should come to mind is, “How can I fight this drunken driving charge?” As Garden State DWI defense attorneys, our initial comment would be to act as quickly as possible.

My colleagues and I have been defending drivers accused of intoxicated and drug-impaired driving for many years. We know that time is one of the more critical factors when deciding to fight a DWI or drug DUI charge. Certainly, it is highly recommended to contacting a skilled DWI attorney early on in order to get the best possible advice that may help guide the accused motorist through the steps often necessary to avoid a drunken driving conviction.
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Being arrested for intoxicated driving, especially if one is a law-abiding citizen, is nothing if not a traumatic and worrisome event. Motorists who are pulled over for traffic infractions generally are nervous to begin with, but if the driver knows that he consumed even a little alcohol previous to the police stop, that person’s anxiety level may be quite obvious to the patrolman in charge. As New Jersey trial lawyers and experts in the field of drunk driving defense, my legal staff is sympathetic to our clients’ situations, especially in cases where they believe they have done nothing wrong.

While it is often difficult to plan for an unforeseeable event, such as a DWI or drug DUI arrest, it is nevertheless a good idea to review some steps to take when such an occurrence does take place. Since most drunken driving arrests begin with a police stop for what is often a simple traffic infraction, it is wise to understand one’s rights under such circumstances.

When looking at what to do prior to and during a routine traffic stop, it is important to remain calm and react in a safe and predictable manner. This can begin the very first moment when a motorist notices that police cruiser following his or her car. Most drivers will likely see a patrol car in their rearview mirror just a short time before the officer switches on his emergency lights. In such instances, it is critical to act in a rational and intelligent fashion in order to demonstrate to the officer your ability to make intelligent and safe driving decisions from the onset.
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It goes without saying that many average motorists can become pretty rattled when a highway patrolman or even a local police officer pulls them over for a traffic offense. Because most people have little, if any, contact with law enforcement professionals in their daily lives, being confronted by any cop for an alleged moving violation can be a nerve-racking experience. As experienced New Jersey trial attorneys, my colleagues and I know very well how even the most minor of police stops can leave a driver trembling and second-guessing themselves.

Now, add the potential of intoxicated driving to the mix and you have a serious situation. The can be especially true when a motorist has just been at a restaurant or is returning home from visiting a party with friends or family. If any alcohol was consumed, there is always a possibility that the officer in charge may suspect the driver of DWI. When a state trooper or municipal patrolman asks for the details of one’s evening, having a couple drinks can turn a simple traffic summons in to a full-blown drunken driving arrest.

Leading up to an arrest, many times the police will request a motorist exit the vehicle to perform one or more of the standardized field sobriety tests, which may not always indicate correctly whether a person is impaired or not, but which is often relied upon when a policeman decides whether or not to make an arrest. Being nervous will quite often make the situation worse for a potential arrestee, since fumbling for documents and having a less-than-smooth vocal delivery can influence the outcome of a DWI stop.
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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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