Articles Posted in Mercer County DWI Defense

For those motorists who have already taken note of the increased number of municipal and state patrol officers plying the Garden State Parkway, highways and surface streets this summer, get ready for more of the same this coming holiday weekend. Police presence on New Jersey roadways this summer, as with most every past year, has been fairly obvious, if only because of the anti-DWI and DUI enforcement that comes with warmer weather and summertime revelers; but Labor Day will be especially active from the standpoint of drunk driving enforcement.

As DWI defense lawyers whose job it is to represent drivers accused of operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, refusing a breathalyzer test, or possessing a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) in their vehicle, the skilled attorneys at my law firm have the legal experience to help defendants get through a DWI case and on with their lives.

During the summer months, as well as various holidays throughout the year, police departments in many New Jersey towns and municipalities step up their drunken driving patrols, as well as conduct random sobriety checkpoints in areas well-known for DWI-related arrests and accidents. As with most of these anti-DWI campaigns, the “Drive Sober, or Get Pulled Over” anti-DWI campaign currently in effect entails increased police patrols (aka “saturation” patrols) and even some DUI roadblocks, all of which will probably net dozens of unsuspecting drivers who may or may not be legally intoxicated.
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How many times have you seen a driver ahead of you in traffic with a burned-out taillight? While it may seem insignificant to some, a simple $10 light bulb could cause big trouble down the road. Never mind the accident potential of a non-working brake lamp or a faulty turn signal, just consider the cost of a defective equipment ticket. Oh, you say, a couple hundred bucks or so, I’m too busy. And, really, what are the odds? Well, in our experience, the odds are pretty good that something may happen before that bulb gets replaced.

But what if a driver, who happens to have avoided fixing that turn signal or brake light bulb, finds out the hard way that he just maybe had a little too much to drink with his buddies at the bar? That burned-out bulb is now one big red flag for a municipal patrolman or state trooper. Unfortunately, by the time this scenario plays out, the cost of that little bulb may have gone up quite a bit depending on the circumstances. In any case, it’s safe to that driver will be into the state for more than the $10 or $20 it would have cost to fix that light in the first place.

As New Jersey drunken driving defense attorneys, we understand that human nature can get in the way of doing the right thing from time to time. We’ve represented numerous drivers over the years who may have indulged themselves a bit too much when they should have eased off. It’s difficult to know exactly how much alcohol is in one’s bloodstream or whether a person has consumed enough food at lunch or dinner offset the wine he or she drank.
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As long as DWI checkpoints and sobriety roadblocks have been used in this state there have been detractors who ask if the cost in equipment, manpower and officer overtime is really worth the effort of bringing in a handful of alleged drunken drivers from time to time. Here in the Garden State, the random operation of sobriety checkpoints certainly has given more than one driver pause to get behind the wheel of his or her car following an evening with friends at a restaurant, bar or private residence.

As long-time DWI defense attorneys, I and my team of experienced trial lawyers have dedicated ourselves to helping those motorists who believe that they did not deserve being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. One of the many ways in which New Jersey drivers end up in front of a municipal or county judge is when they are arrested for DWI or drug DUI at one of the numerous drunk driving roadblocks that go up on weekends and during various national holidays.

Although law enforcement agencies throughout the state have it in their authority to set up sobriety roadblocks, there are limitations and rules that must be followed. For example, the police are required by law to place a public announcement (stating when and where) prior to the erection of any sobriety or DWI checkpoint. Furthermore, the placement of these roadblocks must be in an area that has a history of prior DWI activity; in other words, they cannot be placed anywhere the police authorities choose.
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For those drivers accused of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or impaired by prescription drugs, we as drunken driving defense attorneys understand how difficult this kind of charge may be on these individuals and their families. But there is one important distinction for those who are pulled over on the side of the road, or waved into a sobriety roadblock, only to be arrested and charged with DWI or drug DUI: you did not injure or kill somebody else as a result of being in an allegedly impaired state.

We have said it here numerous times in the past, but being accused with causing bodily injury or killing another individual while also allegedly being drunk behind the wheel is a far more serious situation than being picked up for a minor traffic violation and then being slapped with a drunk driving summons.

As New Jersey DWI-DUI defense lawyers, I and my colleagues are well prepared to represent those motorists who find themselves accused of drunken driving, drug DUI or even impairment due to a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), such as cocaine or marijuana. But adding a car, truck or motorcycle crash to the list of related charges can be a game-changer.
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Back in what some of us might call the good ol’ days, having an out-of-date license plate tag or being tardy in making an auto insurance payment was a secret that could mostly be kept to oneself, at least until a driver broke a traffic law right in front of a cop. But that’s hardly the case anymore. These days, the information age can quickly catch up to those procrastinating motorists and other drivers for whom the calendar is merely a seasonal guidepost. For those who might not worry so much about driving their vehicle while possibly intoxicated, whether they know it or not, Big Brother is watching.

As we’ve explained in the past, New Jersey state law defines when it is legal for a police officer to stop a motorist on the roadway, after which a drunk driving summons may be forthcoming depending on the officer’s suspicions and observations of the driver. But having a hunch that a motorist may be inebriated behind the wheel of his or her vehicle is not sufficient legal grounds in the Garden State for a patrolman to stop a vehicle. Acting on the suspicion that an individual is impaired by alcohol or prescription drugs (drug DUI) should only come into play following a legitimate traffic stop.

But what does it take to cause a municipal policeman or a New Jersey state trooper to decide that a driver is in violation of one or more traffic laws? Simple observation can result in a routine police stop if the officer in charge sees an obvious violation, such as an illegal U-turn, failure to yield at a stop sign, even cutting through a parking lot to avoid waiting at an intersection. These and many other scenarios are all typical ways in which New Jersey drivers are constantly getting into hot water with the police.
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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several decades you probably know almost intuitively that municipal patrolmen, as well as our New Jersey state troopers, all have a very keen eye for potentially impaired motorists. Making one’s way onto public roads in any condition other than fully sober can be a risky proposition not only in terms of safety to you, your passengers, and others on the road as well, but also financially.

As New Jersey DWI defense lawyers, I and my staff of skilled legal professionals have for many years been protecting the rights of individuals accused of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs (drug DUI). My legal team understands drunk driving law and the potential fines associated with a conviction for any number of alcohol-related offenses.

Another thing that we know from our decades of collective courtroom experience is that law enforcement officers and the prosecutors who handle drunk driving cases tend to have a singular goal of catching, convicting and punishing motorists who get behind the wheel of a car or truck while intoxicated. Whether it’s alcohol, doctor-prescribed medication, or illegal substances, the law has strict rules for dealing with offenders.
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Over the many years that my legal firm has been helping motorists accused of drunken driving, I and my associates have been asked more than a few times, “Why do I need a DWI lawyer when I step into a courtroom on a charge of driving while intoxicated?” The simple answer would be, “Because you owe it to yourself to be fully prepared to face the prosecution, which will do its best to prove you guilty of DWI or drug DUI.” But this is only one basic reason.

It’s not a secret that drivers in the Garden State face a tough situation when they are stopped on the highway after having a drink or two. It’s a mistake to assume that heavy drinkers and so-called “party animals” are the only people to be arrested for drunken driving by state or local police. For many, a simple drive home after dinner with friends can sometimes lead to a traffic stop, possibly for some basic moving violation, only to escalate into a full-blown DWI arrest and a trip to police headquarters.

As drunk driving defense attorneys, I and my team of experienced trial lawyers are fully up to the task of representing individuals who have been accused of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of liquor, beer, or doctor-prescribed medication. We know how scary a drunk driving arrest can be for normally law-abiding citizens. But the truly frightening thing about being arrested is that a conviction can result in serious and expensive consequences.
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As attorneys dedicated to representing individuals accused of operating a motor vehicle under the influence, I and my staff of experienced DWI defense lawyers have known more than a few drivers who have avoided a conviction for drunken driving here in the Garden State. While most arrests for DWI or drug DUI — including those for impaired driving due to prescription drugs and illicit substances like cocaine and cannabis — result in a conviction leading to heavy penalties, there are other instances where the prosecution does not have sufficient evidence to obtain a guilty verdict.

And, while we know that not every DWI or DUI summons is warranted or deserved, we also are concerned when civil servants occasionally break the very laws that they are sworn to uphold. Whether it is avoiding a drunk driving charge altogether or side-stepping stiff fines and other penalties for driving while intoxicated, the average person hardly has the option of avoiding a DWI hearing and many times feels he must navigate our legal system in the absence of legal representation. (We will say right here that it is in most everyone’s best interest to, at the very least, consult with a qualified DWI attorney following an arrest for being drunk behind the wheel.)

From time to time, we see justice being served on local politicians and government officials who have been found guilty of breaking the laws of New Jersey and local communities. Just as the average citizen must face their accusers, local officials, patrolmen and other officers of the court should stand trial for their misdeeds, take responsibility for their actions and accept any consequences should they be found guilty.
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New Jersey is a pretty tough state when it comes to drunk driving enforcement. Anyone who driver here regularly has seen the frequent late-night sobriety checkpoints and anti-DWI saturation patrols operated by the New Jersey State Police and local law enforcement departments. Quite frankly, as drunken driving defense lawyers representing drivers in Monmouth, Sussex, Passaic and Ocean County, there is no good reason to risk one’s future by getting behind the wheel of a car, truck or motorcycle while impaired by alcohol or other substances.

While driving under the influence of alcohol or doctor-prescribed medication may not be a motorists primary intention, the chances of being stopped for a minor traffic infraction raise the possibility of being slapped with a DWI summons. The best way to avoid this scenario is to avoid driving any time one has had something alcoholic to drink; calling a cab, getting a ride from a sober friend or family member, or just staying put over night is by far the better course, than to find oneself with summons in hand and a court date pending.

Some of the most common police traffic stops, such as illegal turn or failure to maintain one’s lane, can end up with a driver arrested and charged with driving under the influence. Whether the charge is alcohol-based or a drug DUI — such as prescription meds or illegal substances like cocaine or marijuana — the potential conviction can cost a driver plenty in terms of monetary fines and even jail time, depending on the circumstances.
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As many people already understand, when it comes to being arrested for drunken driving in the Garden State, an officer typically will have stopped the accused on the basis of a moving violation or some other traffic or motor vehicle offense. As New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, we get questions all of the time from potential clients regarding what is or isn’t a legitimate drunken driving stop. Technically, there really aren’t (or shouldn’t be) traffic stops based solely on an officer’s suspicion that a driver is intoxicated behind the wheel.

Instead, New Jersey law requires that a police officer must have a valid reason for pulling a motorist over to the side of the road and initiating a traffic stop. But here things might seem to get a little murky. While an officer is not allowed to stop someone just on suspicion of impaired driving — a hunch, one might call it — that same officer can stop the very same driver for not maintaining his or her lane, making an illegal turn or perhaps observing that the motorist’s vehicle has a burnt-out tail lamp.

Once stopped for a legitimate traffic offense, the door is opened to other potential charges after the officer has a chance to observe the driver, passengers and vehicle interior up close. After that, it’s now the patrolman’s task to decide of the driver made those errors because of inattention, negligent action or impaired mental and physical capabilities, among other possible causes.
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