Articles Posted in Monmouth County DWI Defense

Police officers in Middletown Twp. Had a busy week not long ago when they arrested and charged five individual drivers with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Without knowing the specific circumstances of each arrest, it is difficult to know how or why each of these drivers was served with a summons for DWI, however it is instructive to remind readers that being stopped on any Garden State roadway can open a person up to extreme scrutiny, especially if they in any way exhibit some key signs of impairment.

As New Jersey drunken driving defense lawyers, my colleagues and I understand the difficult position under which many otherwise law-abiding citizens are placed when they find themselves being questioned on the roadside by a local cop or state trooper. Odd as it may seem to some people, it is possible — yet amazingly commonplace — to see a motorist who is pulled over for one of many possible traffic infractions end up admitting, in short order, that he was drinking prior to the police stop.

Providing a police officer with an “admission of guilt” in whatever manner it happens, does not necessarily that the driver’s statements can be used against him in court. An experienced DWI defense attorney, like those on the legal team in my firm, will know immediately to ask whether or not the driver was read his or her Miranda Rights prior to their supposed admission of guilt. Similarly, one should also consider whether or not the driver was informed of his right to remain silent. Depending on the situation, if the answer to these two questions was no on both counts, then there is reason to believe that the court may likely strike any admission of guilt from the record, since it was probably not obtained legally.
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Here in the Garden State, cases involving motorists who have been charged with DWI can be prosecuted in several ways. One of the more common approaches used by municipal prosecutors includes charges of driving under the influence based on a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more. This type of case involves what is known in legal circles as a “per se” charge. As a well-established legal firm, my colleagues and I have nearly 100 years of collective trial law experience, including drunk driving and drug DUI defense of cases base on per se evidence.

In situations of drivers being charged for operating a motor vehicle while impaired based on a BAC measurement of 0.08 percent or above, those per se DWI charges refer to the legal definition, that is, the driver’s actions were inherently illegal. The New Jersey legal statutes essentially make driving with any BAC over the 0.08-percent limit an unlawful act. The per se aspect essentially says that the circumstances surrounding how or why the driver became intoxicated is not relevant to the prosecution of the offense.

Because per se DWI charges do not require extrinsic proof of any surrounding circumstances, it is much easier to prosecute a driver based solely on measurement of blood-alcohol content than other more subjective evidence, such as results from a roadside sobriety field test, etc. Drunk driving, from a per se standpoint, is essentially a chargeable offense made so by New Jersey statute. This is not exclusive to New Jersey, as many other states also have laws that make driving with a certain level of alcohol in one’s system illegal per se.
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For those who watch a lot of television, police dramas in particular, the idea that police officers who work together typically develop a very strong sense of loyalty and devotion to each other is a very familiar theme. While the old saying that “life imitates art” is often true, in the case of the law enforcement community, art has been imitating life for many decades. Often referred to as the “blue wall of silence,” this unspoken rule reflects the common understanding between police officers that one does not testify against a fellow officer.

This bond between law enforcement officers has a deep and long-standing tradition, having its roots in the associational virtue of loyalty, and drawing from a context of friendship and even a familial connection with other officers on a police force or department. While laudable in many regards, the “blue wall” can occasionally work against the aims of justice when corruption in the ranks is discovered by superiors or other well-intentioned individuals.

As New Jersey drunken driving defense attorneys, my colleagues and I have a great respect for the dedication and personal sacrifice that many police officers regularly display as they put their lives on the line every day in towns and cities all across this nation. Unfortunately, there are some instances where an officer in whom society has placed its faith fails to live by the laws that he or she is sworn to uphold. A case in point has been playing out in Trenton, as an investigation has loomed for a number of New Jersey State Police troopers.
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There are times when drunk drivers are much more likely to be stopped by New Jersey State Police or municipal patrolmen, but it’s safe to say that anyone who drinks and drives in the Garden State also runs the risk of being arrested for DWI. As New Jersey drunken driving defense experts, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall understand the risks faced by drunk motorists and the penalties associated with potential convictions.

Whether one lives, works or commutes in Bergen County, Essex County, Hudson or Middlesex counties, the chances of being stopped for even the most basic of traffic infractions can open the door to further scrutiny by a police officer. When that happens, and depending on the individual’s physical or mental condition, a patrolman may suspect some kind of impairment by the way in which the driver acts or speaks.

It isn’t that uncommon for a motorist to be asked by a policeman to exit his vehicle and perform a series of field sobriety tests, which is often the first step toward a full-blown DWI arrest. As DWI-DUI lawyers, we have seen a myriad of scenarios where drivers find themselves facing serious and potentially costly drunk driving charges following a simple error in judgment on the roadway.
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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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As DWI and drug DUI defense attorneys, the legal team at my firm has made it their job to represent those Garden State drivers who have been charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, doctor-prescribed meds, and even illegal substances (also known as controlled dangerous substances or CDS). As experienced trial lawyers, we certainly understand how quickly an average motorist can find himself in the custody of a local cop or state trooper after being arrested for allegedly driving while intoxicated.

Here in New Jersey, DWI enforcement can be such that more than a few otherwise law-abiding citizens can end up before a judge pleading their innocence on a drunken driving or drug DWI charge. Especially when anti-drunk driving campaigns are going full tilt, but even when things may seem to be mostly quiet arrests can and do occur quite frequently. Hundreds of roadside stops for traffic violations are made every day around this state, and a percent of those may end up with a driver taken into police headquarters for a breath test.

Of course, New Jersey is in no way unique, but it certainly does see its fair share of inebriated drivers plying the roadways. Whether those motorists are legally drunk is for a court to decide, which is why we recommend that anyone accused of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs talk to a qualified legal expert in the field of drunk driving law.
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Compounding any traffic offense with an injury accident is never a good situation. As a former municipal prosecutor, and now a professional drunk driving defense attorney, I understand the desire by police officers and our court system to punish motorists convicted of DWI or drug DUI. When an automobile collision is also involved, the stakes increase by a like amount.

As New Jersey drunken driving defense lawyers, my colleagues and I are ready and willing to assist those individuals accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs; even illicit substances like cocaine, meth and marijuana. We do know that our job will be complicated when a DWI-related car, truck or motorcycle wreck also involves a serious injury or death. My law firm has represented many clients who have been hit with an impaired driving charge in addition to possible vehicular assault.

Here in the Garden State, local and state police take a very dim view of motorists who even have the slightest appearance of intoxication. The same goes for the courts. New Jersey DWI law provides for stiff penalties for those convicted of intoxicated driving. One of the numerous penalties is the loss of driving privileges for a period of time. Considering the value that most people place on their mobility and personal independence vis-à-vis their automobile, license suspension can be a serious hardship.
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Here in the Garden State, one could say that DWI arrests are hardly uncommon, especially at times of the year when seasonal celebrations or holiday vacations mean more parties and family gatherings than usual throughout the state. As New Jersey DWI and drug DUI defense experts, the legal staff at my firm understands the ease with which a normally law-abiding individual can find himself taken into custody by a local or state police officer and charged with drunken or impaired driving.

Although getting pulled over happens to thousands of motorists every year, those who exhibit behaviors that lead a patrolman to suspect alcohol consumption or use of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) could be facing stiff penalties down the road. Receiving a DWU or drug DUI summons can be a nerve-racking experience for most anyone who has never even had a traffic ticket for a simple moving violation.

Nevertheless, quite often a drunk driving summons or an arrest for possession of a CDS in a motor vehicle can begin with the most innocent of driving errors. We see it in news articles and in court transcripts all of the time; Failure to signal a turn, faulty headlights or license plate lamps, and even a chipped windshield can open a motorist up to scrutiny by a municipal cop or state trooper.
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Driving drunk in Monmouth, Union, Bergen or Atlantic County is greatly discouraged by more than just a few safety advocates and law enforcement agencies. But besides the obvious downside of being impaired when piloting a 3,500-pound motor vehicle at parkway speeds, there are the legal and financial implications to consider should one be accused of doing so by the police. As New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, my firm has a good idea of the odds that a driver who has had a couple drinks might end up being pulled over and arrested for driving while intoxicated.

Is it worth the gamble? We’d say not, especially considering all of the opportunities these days that police have to catch an unsuspecting motorist who may or may not have had too much alcohol, or possibly be impaired by prescription drugs. While some people know that a cop can’t stop a vehicle simply on the hunch that the driver is inebriated, there are many ways in which a municipal patrolman or state trooper can legitimately stop a motorist on the road for a traffic infraction; after which the really serious problems can begin if alcohol or drug use is suspected by the officer.

Being pulled over by a police officer can begin in any number of ways, but only a few of them would be considered very serious in the minds of most motorists. As such, it is easy to imagine that even the most innocuous driving error or vehicle infraction could possibly land a person in police headquarters with a possible alcohol or drug-related impaired driving charge hanging over his or her head. As New Jersey DWI defense lawyers, my colleagues and I are more than aware of the manner in which many drivers find themselves answering a summons for driving while intoxicated in the Garden State.
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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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