Articles Posted in Hudson County DWI Defense

While some non-boaters probably don’t know that the State of New Jersey legal statutes have a specific section that covers operation of a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol, prescription meds or illicit drugs; however, anyone who does pilot a boat in state waters should be aware of the law that addresses such situations. As Garden State drunken driving defense lawyers, my colleagues and I know the downside to being arrested, charged and convicted of DWI, but it is important to note that BWI (boating while intoxicated) has its own consequences.

When it comes to operating a watercraft while under the influence, the BWI statute (specifically N.J.S.A. 12:7-46) acts very much like the automobile-related DWI law (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50). If a boater is charged with BWI, my firm is staffed with a group of highly skilled and experienced attorneys who know how to handle such cases. For instance, a qualified DWI-DUI lawyer should understand that in order for the state to prove a person is guilty BWI, three elements must be covered:

First and foremost, the prosecution must show that the defendant was actually operating the watercraft or vessel in question. Second, the alleged operation of said vessel must have occurred on waters within the legal jurisdiction of the State of New Jersey. Finally, the third element involves proving that the accused boater was legally under the influence of an intoxicating beverage; or a hallucinogenic, narcotic, or habit-forming drug.
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Quite frequently during course of the summer it is not uncommon for New Jersey DWI and drug DUI defense attorneys to receive numerous inquiries regarding the validity of a BWI summons, better known as a boating while intoxicated offense. The fact that the bulk of these kinds of charges crop up during the warmer weather is hardly surprising given the marked increase in boaters and recreational fishermen who take to the waters off of the Jersey Shore, as well as on the inland waterways throughout the Garden State.

As Monmouth County DWI-DUI lawyers, we understand fully the confusion that surrounds a BWI arrest or issuance of a summons related to intoxicated boating. While most people understand that driving under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs is a serious offense when on New Jersey roadways, many find it somewhat difficult to equate the seriousness of drunk driving to the operation of a watercraft.

One of the possible trains of thought is that there are fewer boats on the water than cars on the turnpike, so why should drinking a little alcohol while piloting a powerboat be such a serious matter? Another rationalization could be that boats don’t travel as fast as cars, so collisions, if they occur, should be less dangerous. Unfortunately, New Jersey law enforcement agencies, as well as the state’s legislators, feel much more strongly about the dangers of drinking while operating a boat. Either way, the fact remains that BWI is a chargeable offense and a potentially costly one as well.
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It is probably safe to say that winter is over and done with here in the Garden State. Now, with summer officially in full swing, we feel obliged to remind readers that vacation revelry can lead not only to instances of drinking and driving, drug DUI and other related chargeable offenses, but it can also result in faulty judgment calls, especially during extracurricular activities such as power boating and sailing. As drunken driving defense attorneys here in Monmouth County, we know that drunk driving is just one of several potential violations that can and do take place along the Jersey Shore.

Many people who have visited this state’s fabulous ocean-side venues up and down the Garden State coast may already have experienced the embarrassment of receiving a DWI or drug DUI summons during a visit to the seashore. Those who came to enjoy boating and other watersports — either off the shoreline or in one of this state’s numerous waterways — may have found themselves being approached by law enforcement officers after a minor boating-related mishap or simple procedural error while negotiating New Jersey waters.

For some of those who may have imbibed a little bit before their encounter with local police, coastguard, or sheriff’s department personal may have found themselves cited for being intoxicated while piloting their watercraft. Boating while intoxicated (or BWI) has been an offense in New Jersey since the early ’50s. About twenty years ago, legislators in Trenton revised the BWI statutes to provide a handful of ways in which a boater can be charged with drunken operation of a vessel.
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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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Drunken driving, DUI, DWI, impaired driving, drug DUI, breath test refusal and numerous other drug- and alcohol-related driving offenses are topics that many people of driving age have heard of, but fewer actually know about from personal experience. Covered under the New Jersey drunk driving statute (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50), offenses such as driving while intoxicated by alcohol and driving under the influence of drugs are serious charges that carry stiff penalties for anyone convicted of them.

As Garden State DWI defense lawyers, my colleagues and I have discussed with many of our clients the rather harsh penalties associated with a guilty verdict for drinking and driving. Despite the amount of publicity aimed at discouraging DWI-DUI, it is interesting that many motorists apparently still find it hard to imagine that they will ever be arrested for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence.

As every drunk driving defense attorney knows, New Jersey’s DWI law states that no person shall operate a vehicle while under the influence of any intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit producing drug. The penalties for such an offense include upward of $400 for a first-time offense plus a one-year driver’s license suspension. For a second offense the stakes rise to as much as $1,000 and a two-year license suspension.
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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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The skilled attorneys at the Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall have successfully defended motorists arrested for and charged with drunk driving, drug DUI, breath test refusal and other alcohol and prescription drug-related offenses in Monmouth, Sussex, Middlesex and Union counties. Our commitment to our clients is demonstrated by the aggressive and vigorous defense; and our legal staff is knowledgeable in all aspects of New Jersey DWI law, criminal statutes and offenses involving drug DUI and possession in a motor vehicle.

As Garden State DWI-DUI defense lawyers, we understand how frightening a drunk driving arrest can be to the average person; if only because most drivers who are charged with a first-time offense for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol are likely law-abiding individuals with families and good standing in their community.

Unfortunately, law enforcement personnel are usually more interested in whether a crime or civil offense has been committed and less about the background of the alleged offender; that is something for a judge to consider when the case comes to trial. As attorneys, we endeavor to pursue the facts and present our client’s case in the best possible light, while working to call into question the prosecution’s arguments and evidence that is being used against the defendant.
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Far be it for us to tell anyone what to do in this life, but as experienced Garden State drunk driving defense lawyers and skilled trial attorneys, we like to believe that our advice is solid, at least when it comes to avoid a DWI conviction. Since for most people — mostly those arrested for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of beer or wine, hard liquor or mixed drinks — the thought of being pulled over and arrested for DWI was likely the last thing on their mind, that is, until a police cruiser appeared in their rearview mirror.

First-time drunk driving offenders are usually the most surprised when a state trooper or local patrolman turns on his siren and patrol car lights as a precursor to stopping a motorist for perhaps a very minor traffic infraction. But, of course, once that occurs the door is opened to the curiosity of the policeman in charge and if one has had a little too much alcohol to drink, the results could be unfortunate.
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Nobody ever said that being arrested and charged with a DWI was going to be a pleasant experience. For most people, getting a drunk driving summons or being held in jail overnight to “dry out” can not only be an embarrassing experience, but it can also be rather frightening. This is especially true when one begins to consider the repercussions of such an encounter with the possibility of a conviction and any associated penalties; those fines, fees and statutory assessments can run in the thousands of dollars, which makes a drunken driving arrest potentially costly from a financial standpoint as well.

For the record, the state of New Jersey has for some time banned the legal practice of plea bargaining for those defendants who are facing charges of driving while intoxicated. This is generally the case, unless there is some serious legal issue at stake or if there is a major flaw in the prosecution’s case. Barring a genuine legal issue, judges are barred from entertaining any thought of a dismissal or even the downgrading of a drunk driving charge.

As professional DWI defense attorneys, we know that the secret to success in avoiding a conviction (or in winning a downgrade in a defendant’s charges) is identifying certain key issues that reduce the strength of the state’s arguments. This is where our firm’s unique DWI law training and trial experience can prove invaluable. At my firm, the attorneys who make up the Jonathan F. Marshall legal defense team have credentials that are, quite frankly, second to none.
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As professional trial attorneys, my colleagues and I have a great deal of respect for our men and women in uniform: the soldiers in our military who fight for our nation in conflicts abroad, and the law enforcement and emergency services personnel who maintain order and protect the health and safety of citizens here in the Garden State and elsewhere throughout our country.

In fact, as a former municipal prosecutor myself, I have worked closely with police officers and other New Jersey law enforcement officials to uphold our state and federal legal statutes. I fully understand the dedication and sacrifice that those in law enforcement provide to our communities on a daily basis. But, while I respect and admire the efforts and selfless commitment of our police officers as a whole, I also know that there can be some bad apples in every bushel.

There is a line we all must draw when a public servant breaks the laws he has been sworn to uphold. As citizens, each of us should expect every public official, including patrolmen, to carry themselves with dignity even when off duty. The vast majority of police, judiciary and legislative representatives in this state are a credit to their individual professions as they go about their lives being the exemplary role models that the rest of us can appreciate and emulate.
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