Articles Posted in Field Sobriety Tests

Being stopped by a New Jersey State Police officer or local cop for a traffic offense can be unnerving enough for most people without the added concern of being arrested for DWI. As Garden State drunken driving defense lawyers, my firm is all too aware of the emotions that can come to the surface when faced with a summons for driving under the influence. Often frightening, and certainly unsettling, the experience of being taken into custody is only overshadowed by the potential financial impact that a DWI or drug DUI conviction can have on an individual or his family.

The state of New Jersey has long since banned plea bargaining as a common avenue to having a drunk driving charge dismissed or downgraded. Because of this, many people might wonder why they should even consider retaining a DWI attorney at all. First and foremost, an experienced legal expert can look for flaws in the state’s case, which can range from the way the police officer conducted the traffic stop prior to the DWI arrest, to the procedures followed or skipped after the driver submitted to a breathalyzer device in order to determine his or her blood-alcohol concentration (BAC).

When asking why one should hire a lawyer for a DWI or drug DUI defense, it may be more important to ask what the secret to success is when it comes to avoiding a conviction. At the very least, someone accused of driving drunk should contact a qualified professional to determine if fighting a drunk driving summons would be fruitful or if a downgrade is possible. In our experience, identifying any potential issues that may undermine the state’s ability to prove the DWI-DUI offense is a key objective when discussing a defendant’s options going forward.
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New Jersey news outlets reported a while back that the Fort Lee, NJ, emergency management chief had his drunken driving charges dismissed by the court after the prosecution could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the man was, in fact, drunk behind the wheel when officers stopped his vehicle in Bergen County a year ago.

As Garden State drunk driving defense lawyers, my colleagues and I could easily point to this single instance as an example of how the police can often be either wrong in their assessment of a motorist’s state of inebriation or their failure to follow proper procedures when stopping, arresting and processing a suspected drunken driver. The bottom line is if you or someone you know has been charged with DWI, breath test refusal, or drug DUI, or other alcohol or drug-related traffic offenses, never assume the state has the upper hand.

In this particular case, 61-year-old Stephen Ferraro, who is the coordinator for Fort Lee’s Office of Emergency Management, as well as being a former police captain, was charged with DWI following a routine traffic stop in February 2013 after officers observed the man making what was described as an unsafe lane change. Because of this, and exclusive of the drunk driving accusation, Mr. Ferraro was also charged with reckless driving.
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For those who have recently been arrested and charged with a drunken driving offense, you may be asking yourself, what can I possibly do to lessen or even avoid the penalties associated with a DWI conviction? As New Jersey drunk driving defense attorneys, the legal team at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall understands your concerns. Surely, with a summons in hand and a police officer most likely ready to testify as to a driver’s impairment, what chances does the average motorist have against the system?

First of all, it is important never to assume that nothing can be done to remedy the situation in which you now find yourself. Next, do some research and find a qualified DWI defense lawyer who can speak from experience and give you the straight facts on drunk driving arrests and discuss the options specific to your impaired driving case. While there are no guarantees in this life, the law was created to help people fight charges levied against them by the state. You do have rights.

Many people facing similar situations have asked themselves, Why should I get a lawyer when the odds seem stacked against me? We can’t speak for every attorney out there, but if our law firm decides to take on the defense of your case, it is because we believe that your situation can be improved; this is typically done by examining all the relevant facts, police records and legal information pertaining to your DWI traffic stop.

A large number of motorists, when suspected of DWI or DUI, will be asked to perform a field sobriety test at the scene of the traffic stop. Taking one or more of these standardized tests can be challenging even to the most sober individuals, especially under stressful and embarrassing conditions. This is why there has been much debate as to the accuracy of some field sobriety tests. In fact, some experts believe that these tests are anything but accurate when used to determine a driver’s level of impairment due to alleged alcohol consumption or drug use.
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Having defended hundreds of motorists accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, my colleagues and I believe that anyone who is charged with a traffic infraction, civil offense or criminal action deserves the right to fight those charges in a court of law. Here in the Garden State, drunken driving is one of the more serious traffic-related offenses with which a person may be charged.

Furthermore, as experienced DWI defense attorneys, we believe that there are very few, if any, reasons for a drunken driving defendant to walk into a New Jersey courtroom without proper representation. The law can be complex; when it comes to serious DWI and drug DUI charges, for which there are rather stiff penalties if convicted, retaining a qualified lawyer with years of trial experience is an important consideration.

At the law offices of Jonathan f. Marshall, our legal team is skilled in representing clients who have been charged with any one of a wide range of drunk driving offenses, including breath test refusal, drug DUI and possession charges. As most anyone should know regarding drunk driving and other DUI-related violations, there is no sense in making a bad situation worse by involving others in one’s mistake. Being accused of a drunken driving accident presents one of the more difficult legal situations.
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Anyone who follows the evening news or reads the local police blotters understands that alcohol and motor vehicles are never a good mix in the eyes of the police and our court system. Whether a driver has just left a celebratory party with close relatives, driving away from a bar after having a drink with friends, or returning home with one’s spouse after an evening of dinner and dancing, if alcohol is in your system when a police officer pulls you over for a traffic violation, there may be consequences.

Of course, we see these kinds of scenarios play out every day all around our state. In fact, as New Jersey DWI-DUI defense attorneys, we are never surprised at the frequency and volume of drunk driving arrests that occur in the Garden State on a monthly basis. Whether in the Monmouth County area, over in Hudson or Sussex counties, or down in Cape May County, the likelihood of being arrested and charged with an alcohol-related offense is high if the driver himself is too.

Now, most people would tend to assume that motorists get pulled over for being drunk, but the fact of the matter is the police can only stop a vehicle if they observe a traffic violation take place. Roving police patrols, especially prevalent during certain holidays, are usually looking for telltale signs of inebriation, though simply assuming a driver is drunk is not sufficient to justify a traffic stop on its own. But once a moving violation or vehicle equipment violation has been spotted, the odds of being stopped go up considerably.
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Concern about one’s future can be a nagging thing especially when that future hangs on a courtroom hearing for marijuana possession in a car, or a cannabis-related drug DUI arrest. Not only is marijuana one of the most common drugs encountered by police in the New Jersey area, but arrests involving marijuana, hash, weed or pot are certainly as frequent, if not more so, as those for other controlled dangerous substances (CDSs) such as cocaine and narcotic-based pharmaceuticals.

When one realizes that an estimated $30-plus billion of pot is grown in all across the United States annually, it shouldn’t be too surprising that marijuana-related motor vehicle arrests occur quite frequently. In fact, the attorneys at my law firm have more than 40 years of experience defending drivers and other individuals against marijuana-related offenses throughout New Jersey. For myself, as a former municipal prosecutor and now a DUI-DWI and criminal defense attorney, I have been involved in literally hundreds of cases during my career.

As DWI and drug DUI defense lawyers, my legal staff is familiar With drunk driving, alcohol and drug possession cases held in both municipal and county courts throughout the state. Whether a charge is cannabis-related charges. Whether you have been charged with marijuana possession in a vehicle, drunk driving or breath test refusal, the attorneys at my firm have the expertise to defend clients against marijuana, CDS and alcohol-related charges.
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We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Nobody is completely free from the scrutiny of police officers on Garden State roadways, which means that anyone who takes a drink and then drives a motor vehicle on a public highway or city street is taking a big risk. And that risk applies not only to the driver’s potential health and safety — and that of his passengers — but also to his financial well-being. This is simply because DUI-DWI fines can be quite heavy, with the effects of a drunken driving conviction often lasting for quite some time depending on the current offense and those previous, if any.

Having worked for many years both as a former municipal prosecutor and now as a defense attorney for motorists accused of DWI, drug DUI, breath test refusal and other alcohol and drug-related traffic offenses, I fully understand the potential negative outcome of a DWI conviction. Many people, especially those for whom a drunken driving arrest may be their first scrape with the law, the ultimate consequences of being found guilty of driving under the influence can sometimes be lost amidst all the other procedural details of fighting such a charge.

The point we would like to convey here is that drunk driving has become such an inexcusable offense in the eyes of the public — not to mention the police and our courts — that those repeat offenders can hardly expect any kind of a pass when they transgress over and over again. Even those high-profile individuals are finding it harder and harder to gain any kind of meaningful consideration when a DWI or drug DUI is concerned.
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As Garden State DWI defense lawyers, my colleagues and I know that it is truly a mistake to assume that the prosecution always has a strong case against every driver accused of DWI or drug DUI. If everyone assumed that the state’s case against a defendant was iron-clad, nobody would probably ever challenge the charges against them. But this is not a perfect world, and neither the police nor the prosecuting attorneys across New Jersey are always right. Mistakes are often made and the facts are sometimes used incorrectly or are not germane to the specific case.

At any rate, with free consultations available from most reputable and qualified drunk driving defense attorneys, there is no good reason not to spend a little time to describe your situation and find out what your rights are under this state’s DWI statutes. Here at the law officers of Jonathan F. Marshall we specialize in fighting for the rights of those motorists who have been accused of drunken driving, drug-related DUI, impaired operation of a motor vehicle, breath test refusal, and other alcohol and prescription drug-related offenses.

While many people can be excused for thinking that the word of a police officer is indisputable, as experienced DWI lawyers and skilled trial attorneys we know that this is hardly the case. As we have said before, this is not a perfect world and even patrolmen and state troopers can make mistakes when arresting and charging a driver with driving under the influence. Whether the arrest occurs in Monmouth County, Bergen or Ocean County, or Middlesex County, the question should always be: “Can the state prove you were driving while intoxicated?”
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In our line of work there is no lack of odd circumstances that arise when considering the range of cases involving drunken driving or drug DUI. Here in the Garden State, police agencies and the officers who work for them are not the least bit sympathetic to drivers who even have merest appearance of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. While this can sometimes result in a motorist being arrested erroneously for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, other DWI arrests are much more legitimate. However this doesn’t mean that nothing can be done when the time comes to go before a judge.

Whatever the circumstances, as a New Jersey law firm providing legal representation to individuals charged with one or more of any number of drunk driving offenses, we highly recommend consulting a qualified DWI trial attorney before taking one step into a courtroom. There is no excuse, with free consultations available from many reputable DWI lawyers, that any person accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or prescription medication not be informed about his or her rights under the law.

Of course, as we stated previously, there are exceptional or at least odd circumstances where a motorist may find himself arrested for DWI-DUI following a police stop. Such was apparently the case a short while back when a Middlesex County man was taken into custody and charged with drunk driving after a police officer noticed a vehicle parked in a restricted area of the Mountainview state prison off Petticoat Lane in Hunterdon County, NJ.
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For the average motorist, being stopped by a police officer for impaired driving may not be that one expects to happen, but receiving a summons for drunken driving, drug DUI or even breath test refusal can be a serious situation, especially for someone who has limited means or cannot afford to give up his or her driving privileges for even a short duration. Relying on a qualified drunken driving defense attorney can often be a necessity when facing the many times harsh consequences of a first-time DWI conviction.

Here in the Garden State, drunken driving arrests during the summer months can be much more common than many drivers imagine. But even as we ease into fall, end of summer events with coworkers, family members and close friends can open a person up to the potential for a DWI-DUI arrest. Every week, it is possible to read about any number of drug- and alcohol-related traffic stops published by local and state news outlets.

Monmouth, Bergen, Ocean and Atlantic County are just a few of the areas where police enforcement of traffic laws and anti-drinking and driving statutes happen regularly. As professional drunken driving defense lawyers, my legal staff and I have seen our share of courtroom scenarios where auto accidents, drunk drivers, drug arrests and other civil and criminal cases play out; as such, we are no strangers to defending drivers accused of drug DUIs and alcohol-related traffic offenses.
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