Articles Posted in Middlesex County DWI Defense

For anyone who believes that driving a motor vehicle in New Jersey after taking a drink or two can’t possibly have any long-term impact on one’s future, just look around sometime. Drinking and driving, while perhaps not as prevalent these days as in decades past, is still a significant and ongoing issue according to most safety advocates, local and state police, and the Garden State’s legislature. As long as traffic accidents, fatal or otherwise, can be tied to drunk driving, it is a near certainty that New Jersey’s police departments will continue to be vigilant for potential DWI or DUI offenders.

But getting back to the impacts that a drunken driving conviction can have, these can be much more than a simple fine, a few points or a period of license suspension. In fact, if you don’t believe that a drunk driving arrest (and subsequent guilty verdict) can affect your life, please consider that for many people it can and does — on a regular basis, we might add. As accomplished New Jersey civil and criminal trial attorneys, my colleagues and I know of numerous instances where a person’s livelihood or career has been adversely affected by a DWI or drug DUI conviction.

My law firm has a great deal of experience defending hard-working people from all around the Garden State; individuals who believed that they were unjustly accused — but also those who know that they can hardly afford the secondary effects of even a single drunk driving offense on their record. For many accused DWI-DUI offenders, the monetary costs of a drunken driving conviction can pale in comparison to the potential professional consequences down the line.
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Few people would argue that drunk driving does not present a variety of public safety concerns. But this doesn’t change the oft-repeated scenario of some innocent motorist being arrested for DWI or drug DUI without sufficient evidence. For those individuals who are charged with drunken or drug-impaired operation of a motor vehicle, even with poor or improperly collected evidence there is still a chance that the court may issue a guilty verdict — all the more reason, in fact, to consult with a qualified New Jersey DWI-DUI defense lawyer attorney before stepping foot into a courtroom or talking with the local prosecuting attorney.

In reality, there are some motorists who do get arrested and subsequently charged with DWI or drug DUI when the facts do not necessarily support the accusations. As Garden State drunken driving defense lawyers, my law firm is dedicated to assisting individuals who believe that they have been unjustly accused of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Our job, in such cases, is to provide the best possible legal defense.

There is no doubt that those convicted of drunken driving can face stiff monetary fines and other penalties, including jail time, but DWI-DUI offenses are much less acceptable by society in general, the stigma of a drunk driving conviction can have a serious impact on a person’s private life and professional career. In addition to affecting one’s future employment, a DWI or drug DUI can have a negative effect on an individual’s standing in his or her community, as well as causing potential problems with family members, including one’s spouse or in-laws.
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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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While a charge of drinking and driving is one of the more serious traffic-related offenses for a Garden State motorist to receive, there are other types of “impaired” driving that can be just as serious when it comes to accidents resulting in injury or death. The New Jersey court system is no stranger to personal injury lawsuits arising from impaired driving; and for years now, law enforcement, state legislators and numerous traffic safety advocates have warned about the effects of cellphone use and distracted driving, not to mention drowsy driving.

The recent news coverage of the fatal multi-vehicle crash involving a limousine carrying well-known comedian and NBC “30 Rock” television star, Tracy Morgan, has ramped up debate regarding serious and fatal traffic collisions caused by motorists who are simply too tired to drive. As with intoxicated driving, drowsy driving can be deadly; however, the proof of whether a driver was too fatigued to properly operate his or her motor vehicle may be more difficult to come by than that involved in drunken driving cases.

Nevertheless, this latest high-profile news story has brought the issue of drowsy driving to the fore, with Walmart employee, Kevin Roper, in the spotlight and facing serious charges, including that of vehicular homicide and assault by auto following the death of comedian James McNair. The crash, as many people already know, took place last Saturday along a portion of the New Jersey Turnpike in Middlesex County. Mr. Roper, 35, has since entered a plea of not guilty across the board, though the case has much farther to go.
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The official start to summer is not very far off, but drivers traveling in vicinity of South Brunswick should be aware that township police will be on higher alert for drunk drivers and those operating in an impaired state this weekend. According to news reports, roving patrols and sobriety checkpoints (aka DWI or drunk driving roadblocks) will be conducted in various parts of the township. As New Jersey DWI-DUI defense lawyers, our advice is to avoid any alcohol, take public transportation home from parties or other gatherings, or enlist the services of a designated sober driver.

Drivers coming from other areas and traveling through the South Brunswick area will likely be seeing evidence of increased traffic enforcement as the weekend continues. In fact, this is just the beginning of a usually more frequent and greater level of police activity, if only because the summer official begins in just a couple weeks. Being long-time drunken driving defense lawyers, my colleague and I know that Garden State roadways will be packed with vacationers, as well as police, each weekend as the summer progresses.

As with any enhanced enforcement period, the chances of being stopped for one of any number of minor traffic offenses is higher than the slower times of the year. And while police officers by law are not allowed to stop a motorist simply on a hunch that he or she may be intoxicated or otherwise impaired by alcohol or a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), there have been instances in the past where the state’s case has been thrown out, or the charges reduced, simply because a patrolman did not follow proper procedures when making a traffic stop that eventually led to a DWI or drug DUI.
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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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Most people will never end up in a situation where fleeing from the law becomes a perceived option, but it is not unheard of to see the results of a police chase end with an arrest for drunken driving. While alcohol may reduce an individual’s ability to safely control a motor vehicle, it can also reduce one’s inhibitions. As local and state police officers already know, a truly intoxicated driver can often make decisions that most people would usually think twice about.

As Garden State DWI and drug DUI defense attorneys, my colleagues and I are often called upon to assist accused drunk drivers. Many of these individuals believe that they were unjustly charged with a serious drunken driving offense by a law enforcement officer. While some people may choose not to fight a DWI-DUI summons, others believe that they deserve the right to state their case in a court of law. For a smaller percentage, the choice of retaining a qualified trial lawyer may be driven by other, even more serious concerns.

Fleeing a patrolman can often complicate one’s DWI defense, if only for the reason that high-speed chases increase the opportunity for bodily injury, not only to the driver himself, but to the officers and bystanders who may be caught up in a potential traffic accident as a result. New stories like the one we read just last month point up that fact that these types of incidents can and do occur here in New Jersey from time to time. In this particular instance, the subject of the chase was an out-of-state man who allegedly stole the vehicle he was driving.
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Regardless of the nature of an initial roadside police stop — be it a burned-out headlamp, sliding through a controlled intersection without completely stopping, or drifting in and out of one’s lane — the opportunity for a drunk driving or drug DUI summons can go up appreciably depending on how the driver appears to the police officer in charge. Bloodshot eyes or an unsteady gait may cause a patrolman to suspect some kind of intoxication, though neither condition is a surefire sign of being drunk or impaired.

Despite what some people may believe, being charged for DWI-DUI based solely on watery eyes or some other vague observation is usually not sufficient to result in a conviction for driving while intoxicated; other evidence is needed beyond a more or less subjective assessment. Experienced DWI defense lawyers, such as the legal team at our law firm, can offer up a number of plausible explanations for a variety of conditions, from allergies and migraine headaches to very cold temperatures or high winds at the time of the arrest.

Since an arrest for DWI or drug DUI needs supporting evidence, as required by law, the prosecution will often attempt to prove that the defendant exhibited a “substantial deterioration or diminution” of his or her mental faculties/physical capabilities due to alcohol or hallucinogenic, narcotic or habit-producing drugs.
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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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