Articles Posted in Mercer County DWI Defense

While the warm weather months are definitely behind us, New Jersey State Police and local law enforcement agencies note that parties and friendly get-togethers during the holidays also bring out the drinker in many drivers. As nearly anyone who drives in the Garden State understands, drunken driving enforcement never really lets up, especially during the peak holiday season.

As DWI defense lawyers serving residents of Bergen, Middlesex, Atlantic and other counties across the state, we are well versed in the tactics and strategies used by state and municipal police officers to secure the arrest of suspected drunk drivers. In fact, anyone who knowingly operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or, for that matter, prescription medication, should realize that the odds of being arrested for DWI or drug DUI can be quite high.

If a police officer witnesses a traffic violation, he or she will usually make a routine traffic stop based on that initial offense, minor as it may seem to the average driver. Once stopped, a motorist will be closely observed for signs of impairment, usually due to consumption of beer, wine or hard liquor. If the patrolman has a reasonable suspicion that the driver of a car, truck or motorcycle is inebriated an arrest is more or less forthcoming.
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For many New Jersey residents, rather than enjoy this past Labor Day weekend they likely spent most of their time cleaning up from the effects of tropical storm Irene. Still, in areas less affected, surely some Garden State drivers saw some increased drunken driving enforcement activities by state and local police. As part of the national “Over the Limit, Under Arrest” campaign, it’s a fair bet that dozens of motorists had encounters with law enforcement officers during what has become an annual anti-DWI effort.

Of course, it’s hardly a good idea to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of beer, wine or hard liquor, as well as illicit drugs such as marijuana and cocaine. But during the last two weeks, drivers who did take their chances by drinking and driving may have met with a DWI or drug DUI arrest or summons to appear in court.

This effort took place in nearly every county across New Jersey, including Bergen, Hudson, Union, Monmouth and Ocean, just to name a few. As a drunken driving defense lawyer and former municipal prosecutor myself, I understand how some individuals can be pickup up for driving while intoxicated, though perhaps be unaware that they were legally impaired at the time of their arrest.

Whether stopped by a rolling DWI patrol for an apparent minor traffic offense, or being waved into a sobriety checkpoint (also known as a DWI roadblock for observation by a police officer looking for drunken drivers, the resulting charges of drunken driving or impairment due to prescription medication or an illegal drug (also known as a controlled dangerous substance or CDS) can be costly in terms of fines and penalties, as well as the impact on an individual’s personal and business relationships or standing in the community.
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As drunken driving defense attorneys, I and my experienced staff of DWI lawyers understand the monetary and legal implications of a drunken driving or prescription drug DUI arrest faced by many motorists. Getting a ticket for driving under the influence is nothing to take lightly, even as a first-time DWI offender. Although it may not appear to be a serious issue, many people do not realize the potentially life-altering events that a drunk driving conviction can set in motion.

Of course, even a summons for driving while intoxicated or breath test refusal can impact a person’s personal life, job situation or standing in his or her local community. Add a conviction on top of an arrest, and this can translate into a significant event for almost anyone accused of operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, prescription drugs or other controlled dangerous substance, such as marijuana.

As a New Jersey drunken driving and drug DUI attorney, my firm defends individuals from all around the Garden State including Monmouth, Atlantic, Burlington and Hudson counties. And while the facts behind every DWI or drug DUI case are unique, the circumstances of the arrest can be similar. As well, the consequences and possible DWI penalties for a drunk driving conviction in New Jersey are usually very comparable based on the seriousness of the charges.

Below are a number of news items from around Mercer County, based on police blotter information from local news sources. These few items represent just a fraction of the arrests that take place every week in and around the state. Of these, police officers make dozens of arrests for variety of drunk driving and prescription medication DUI violations. The penalties for drivers found guilty of DWI or drug-impaired operation of a motor vehicle can be quite costly.
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While most people arrested and charged with driving while under the influence of beer, wine or hard liquor do little more than catch the eye of an observant police officer while operating their vehicle in a possible suspicious manner, other individuals charged with driving while intoxicated occasionally cause an accident. Of those drivers that do hit another vehicle while impaired by alcohol or prescription medication (drug DUI), some regrettably kill one or more people in the process.

As DWI defense attorneys here in New Jersey, we understand how a motorist can be accused of DWI following a routine traffic stop. Those that are convicted can expect relatively stiff fines and other penalties. But as bad as a DWI conviction can be, combining it with a fatal traffic collision is something nobody wants to experience.

Not long ago, a motorist from Lambertville admitted to driving while intoxicated when he caused a traffic accident that killed his passenger and injured two other people. As a result of a plea agreement, 25-year-old Jorge Orellana, a resident of Hunterdon County, NJ, was due to be sentenced to five years in jail in relation to the traffic crash that caused the death of 19-year-old Alonso Bautista in October 2010. Based on court records, Orellana will have to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he can even be eligible for parole.

When it comes to defending motorists against charges of drinking and driving the subject of unintended consequences comes up from time to time. While no one who takes a drink at a restaurant, bar or family gathering expects to be stopped by the police when driving home, it is a distinct possibility. The same goes for those people who fail to realize the effects of certain prescription medications, which may cause drowsiness or reduced ability to control a motor vehicle on public roads.

As a New Jersey drunk driving attorney, I and my staff of experienced DWI defense lawyers understand how the seemingly minor act of having a drink with friends can precipitate a drunken driving arrest. (And for those who occasionally take a puff of weed or cannabis, these same holds true.) Regardless of whether you live or work in Middlesex, Hudson, Somerset or Union County, be aware that here in the Garden State the police and our courts maintain a dim view of driving while intoxicated, either by alcohol or prescribed medicines (drug DUI).

Touching on the topic of unintended consequences, we can only say a motorist who is involved in a DWI- or DUI-related traffic accident does not do themselves any favors by leaving the scene of the accident. Statistics will surely bear this out, but many hit-and-run drivers are eventually caught by police, which can only compound the original incident. This was apparently the case of a Pennington resident who was recently sentenced to three years in jail for a 2009 accident in Mercer County that put a motorcycle in the hospital with serious injuries.

According to news reports, 24-year-old Craig Brauer accepted a plea arrangement with the Mercer County prosecutor’s office. The deal reportedly included a guilty plea to 3rd degree aggravated assault by auto in exchange for a straight 4-year jail sentence. Originally charged with 2nd degree aggravated assault by auto and leaving the scene of an accident, Brauer could have gone away for up to 10 years.
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In the wake of controversy revolving around State Police Trooper Sheila McKaig’s alleged drinking and driving incidents over the years, the New Jersey State Police have implemented new standards aimed at curbing potential abuses of power that some have said police officers occasionally commit when they are stopped for offenses such as DWI.

In McKaig’s case, numerous news reports indicate that she was never ticketed even though the officer was stopped multiple times for driving while intoxicated over the course of three months back in 2008. In this particular situation, the judge in the case did not recommend firing the trooper outright on the grounds that that McKaig did seek counseling and has been considered a model for other police officers.

Back to the NJ State Police and its newly instituted policies for officers caught driving under the influence according to reports, the agency has reportedly launched a review of the use by troopers of so-called “undercover identification cards.” Along with this, orders from up the chain of command within the State Police reportedly increase the accountability on the part of higher-ranked officers and requires more careful review of traffic stops (including car accidents) that may have been related to alcohol consumption.

As a New Jersey drunken driving defense lawyer, I and my staff, understand that the police have a tough job of maintaining the peace and bringing alleged perpetrators to justice. However, when the rules cease to apply to the vary people entrusted with the public’s safety this is when our tolerance as individuals and a society begins to be tested.

According to news reports, policy changes at the State Police will place responsibility squarely on the shoulders of regional commanders when a trooper is suspected of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. In fact, based on information provided by local news sources, higher-ranking officers may even be required to respond themselves to the scene of a possibly alcohol-related traffic incident involving another law enforcement officer.
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Whether you live or work in Ocean, Sussex, Bergen or Union County, it’s likely that nobody expects to be pulled over by police and arrested on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol. Here in Monmouth County, as in the rest of the Garden State, I and my staff of experienced DWI defense attorneys fully understand the anxiety and trepidation that follows a drunken driving or drug DUI police stop.

For first-time drunk driving arrestees, and even those picked up for driving under the influence of prescription medication or illicit drugs such as marijuana, the experience can be a shock. But more than that, not taking action and leaving one’s fate in the hands of the court is something that no one should allow to happen, if they can help it.

Of course, second and third-time offenders have a different set of circumstances to deal with, but in general, we always recommend that motorists consult with a qualified DWI lawyer. The reason is simple: being cited for impaired driving — whether allegedly due consumption of beer, wine or hard liquor; prescription pain medication or a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) — is nothing to be taken lightly.

Careers, marriages, and reputations have been ruined by drunken driving and DUI convictions. Of course, being arrested for driving while intoxicated can happen night or day. It usually, but not always, happens with a seemingly routine police stop for a supposedly minor traffic infraction — something as insignificant as a faulty taillamp. Other times it can come at the location of a drunk driving roadblock (also known as a sobriety checkpoint).

Regardless of the circumstances, once charged with a DWI one should as a matter of course contact a DWI-DUI defense attorney. My office has handled enough DWI cases and spoken with so many people charged with DWI or DUI that we know it’s not a wise idea to represent yourself in front of the court. Not only can the process of fighting a DWI arrest be confusing to the first-time defendant, there is no way that a layperson can come fully prepared to face the court – at least, not like one can with a qualified DWI defense lawyer at one’s side.
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Amy Locane, know for her role on the original “Melrose Place” television show, has reportedly been indicted on charges that she was drunk when the car she allegedly was driving crashed into another vehicle, killing one person and severely injuring a second. According to news articles, the accident took place in Princeton, New Jersey on June 27 last year.

Injuring, not to mention killing, someone as a result of a traffic accident can lead to serious consequences. Couple that with charges of drinking and driving and one can have a considerable legal problem on his or her hands. As a New Jersey DWI defense attorney, I hear about many drunken driving-related fatalities all across the Garden State, including Bergen, Ocean, Passaic and Essex County.

In this particular instance, 39-year-old Amy Locane-Bovenizer (the Trenton-born actress’s married name) is charged with the DWI-related traffic death of 60-year-old Helene Seeman and the injury of the woman’s husband, who was in critical condition at the time of news articles.

Whenever a driver is stopped by a local police officer or New Jersey state trooper for a traffic violation, even the most minor infraction, there exists the chance that the officer might end up arresting that individual for drunken driving, or issue a summons for DWI. While every situation is different — a motorist returning from a party at a friend’s house or coming home from an evening out with one’s spouse — it is possible that an officer may suspect that the driver is intoxicated by alcohol, or even prescription medication or illegal drugs.

As a New Jersey drunk driving defense lawyer, I understand how the procedure by which a patrolman stops a motor vehicle possible driven in an erratic fashion, observes the driver for telltale signs of intoxication, then evaluates that individual to determine if there is reason to believe that he or she is impaired due to alcohol consumption or use of a narcotic substance (sometimes referred to as drug DUI).

It makes little difference whether you live or work in Ocean, Passaic or Mercer County, the chances of being arrested for DWI or prescription drug DUI is ever present. But if you are pulled over and subsequently arrested or issued a summons for drunken driving, are you predestined to being convicted of driving while intoxicated? The answer is to that question depends on multiple factors.

As professional New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, I and my staff approach every case with many years of drunk driving litigation under our belts. As a former municipal prosecutor myself, I understand when it is proper to petition the court to dismiss the charges against a motorist, or at least reduce the state’s DWI charges to better match the individual circumstances surrounding the arrest.

Having tried drunk driving cases as a prosecutor, I’m familiar with the strategies used by the state’s representatives. Because of this, I always suggest to people who face drunk driving charges to carefully consider whether or not they wish to go into court without an experienced attorney at their side. A DWI lawyer can prove to be a great benefit, especially for those individuals facing stiff penalties for a first-time drunken driving or DUI arrest.
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As Bergen, Ocean and Monmouth County attorneys who represent motorists accused of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or prescription drugs, we can heartily say that there are potentially harsh consequences for individuals convicted of multiple times for drunken driving or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of prescription medicine or even illegal substances, such as marijuana and cocaine.

There is a strong argument for mounting a compelling defense for first-time DWI and DUI charges, if only because subsequent arrests and convictions present an even more costly and potentially life-altering consequences. Even so, second- and third-time offenders may still ask themselves the question, “Why do I need a drunk driving lawyer?”

When it comes to multiple convictions for driving while intoxicated, the impact on one’s lifestyle and relationships may be greatly affected. It’s no secret that second, third and subsequent DWI convictions can result in far more serious consequences than that of one’s first-time offense.

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