Articles Posted in Mercer County DWI Defense

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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The odds of receiving a drunk driving summons in New Jersey are not as slim as many might think, especially in cases where a driver may be returning home from a night out with friends and there is some alcohol in the driver’s system. Of course, one of the more tried-and-true ways to avoid a DWI arrest and related charges is to not get behind the wheel of any motor vehicle when one has had a couple of drinks, or more. At the same time, it is not unheard of to see motorists who have not had a drop of beer, wine or hard liquor end up being arrested for some kind of impaired driving.

As Garden State DWI-DUI defense attorneys, my legal team knows that the easiest way to find out whether one will be suspected of driving while intoxicated is to either get into an accident or drive in a (supposedly) careless or reckless manner. Even a simple vehicle equipment violation can open the door to scrutiny by a local police officer or state patrolman. Frankly, it doesn’t take much to get the attention of a law enforcement officer, no matter where one drives.

From the standpoint of the law, a motorist can be served with an impaired driving summons based on any number of alleged offenses, including consuming alcohol prior to hitting the road, ingesting an otherwise intoxicating substance, or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of illegal drugs or even legal, and doctor-prescribed, medications.
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Defending drivers accused DWI in here in the Garden State is a task best left to skilled legal professionals such as the experienced DWI and DUI defense lawyers here at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall. My trained legal team is well-versed in the legal statutes of the State of New Jersey, which include our state’s drunk driving laws. For anyone who wonders if the choice to drive drunk is ever a good one, consider the serious financial penalties and punitive measures that exist to deter people from operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or impaired by some kind of narcotic or illegal substance.

Not long ago, we ran across a news article that illustrated the extremely sad results of an alleged drunken driving episode. With the dozens of DWI and drug DUI summonses that are issued every week by police all across the state, a significant percentage of alcohol- and drug-related traffic offenses involve property damage and bodily injury; a subset of these DWI-related incidents sometimes result in a fatality. Whether a charge of impaired driving involves alcohol, doctor-prescribed medication, or an illegal substance (such as marijuana or cocaine), having an experienced professional by one’s side is often essential, especially in situations of death or serious injury.

According to news articles, a well-known area benefactor and avid cyclist was killed in a reportedly alcohol-related automobile accident along a stretch of Rte 1 back in March. The crash, which took place on a Thursday evening, was allegedly caused by a drunken trucker in a commercial vehicle. Based on police reports, 67-year-old Charles Inman died when his vehicle was struck from behind by a Mack truck driven by a 65-year-old Pennsylvania man.
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We see it quite frequently; the various anti-drunk driving campaigns accompanied by enhanced enforcement, such as saturation patrols during major holidays and late-night sobriety roadblocks on the weekends. In short, the apparent war on intoxicated motorists continues at a fairly regular and deliberate pace here in the Garden State. As New Jersey DWI and drug DUI defense attorneys, we know from experience that local police and state patrol officers take their roles very seriously when it comes to pursuing those drivers who may be inebriated behind the wheel.

Some drivers find themselves pulled over in the middle of traffic simply because they appeared to be wandering in their lane, when the reason could have been a minor distraction in the vehicle. Others might end up being flagged off the road at one of the many random roadside DWI checkpoints that seem to pop up at the most inopportune times. Regardless of the circumstances, however, if an office suspects a motorist to be even a slight bit drunk or otherwise impaired by alcohol or prescription drugs — never mind illegal substances like marijuana or cocaine — the gloves will come off an a much more intensive investigation will typically commence.

Of course, sometimes the police have reason to be suspicious of a driver’s condition, much less his motivation to avoid being picked up by officers for whatever kind of offense. Considering the reputation that New Jersey’s police have when drunk driving or drug DUI is involved, some people with a lot to lose will test the will of those law enforcement officers. Take the story of a Hamilton, NJ, driver who attempted to run from police following an alleged drunken driving accident along a portion of Interstate 95 last December.
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According to news articles, a Princeton police officer was found to have broken the law in the fall of 2012 when he reportedly arrested a student for drunken driving near the campus of Princeton University in Mercer County without showing probably cause for his actions. The decision, which came from a New Jersey appeals panel, found fault with the patrolman’s actions prior to arresting the university student. Based on news reports, after the officer observed a driver resting his head on the steering wheel of his parked vehicle, he opened the driver door without cause.

News articles reported that the October 2012 arrest began with Sgt. Steven Riccitello seeing a motor vehicle legally pull into a parking spot in a convenience store parking area. The officer then reportedly noticed that the driver put his head down and closed his eyes inside his legally parked vehicle. One of the three appeals judges reviewing the case stated that seeing such activity was not sufficient grounds for the patrolman to open the car door and essentially search the interior of the car.

This particular drunk driving case was based on an emerging legal theory known as the “community-caretaking doctrine.” This legal theory essentially allows police officers to take certain kinds of action, without the need for a warrant, if they believe that an individual is in need of assistance or that someone’s property is in “immediate danger.” According to court records, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office said that the patrolman had opened the car door because he was inquiring into the driver’s “wellbeing” and not, as the defendant’s attorney apparently suggested, that the officer believed that the motorist was perhaps intoxicated or otherwise impaired.
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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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There is no dispute that the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays are a time of great celebration for families, friends and neighbors all across the Garden State. Yet, even those in the know are sometimes surprised by the number of New Jersey motorists who find themselves on the receiving end of a drunk driving summons at this time of the year.

To be quite frank, when it comes to drinking and driving, state and local police officers will hardly be in a festive mood if they suspect you’ve been imbibing a little too much spiked eggnog or other intoxicating beverage. Whether one is celebrating with relatives, good friends or coworkers, if you get pulled over after having a drink or two, you may find that the patrolman in charge believes that it is better to give than to receive. Just remember few will envy your gift of a DWI-DUI summons this holiday season.

All levity aside, being arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated can result in expensive and potentially disruptive penalties. Hundreds or even thousands of dollars in fines, fees and assessments can be accompanied by license suspension, and even jail time depending on the circumstances; and the odds of facing such an outcome can be increased during certain times of the year when the frequency of anti-drunk driving saturation patrols and DWI-DUI sobriety roadblocks are on the rise.
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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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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 New Jersey DWI defense lawyers, my colleagues and I know the serious consequences that can be associated with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. The attorneys at my law office have for years been legal representatives of accused DWI-DUI drivers; we have acted in this capacity for long enough to know that getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle after having a drink or two can be more than a risky proposition, it can lead to an injury-related car accident or a fatal traffic collision.

Aside from these mostly unthinkable results of impaired driving, the odds of being arrested by a state police trooper or a local patrolman increase with the frequency of driving while potentially intoxicated. As a matter of fact, we often advise friends and associates to always consider the potential downside of operating a car, truck or motorcycle if one has had anything to drink prior to getting behind the wheel.

This warning goes the same for individuals who are taking prescription drugs or other narcotic substances. There is little to be gained by venturing out onto public roads when you may be stopped by a state trooper or local patrolman for some minor traffic offense, only to be slapped with a DWI or drug DUI. The personal and professional embarrassment, potential financial impact and the possible daily troubles associated with the loss of one’s license should all be motivating factors for any driver who thinks he is immune from detection, arrest or conviction for DWI or DUI.
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