Articles Posted in Morris County DWI Defense

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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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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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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As professional litigators, I and my skilled legal staff here at the law offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have been practicing law collectively for nearly a century. Because of this extensive experience in and out of the courtroom, I and my team understand New Jersey’s DWI-DUI statutes and we know how the law affects the outcome of drunken driving cases from Passaic and Bergen County to Atlantic, Ocean and Cape May County. When asked, we usually tell prospective clients that fighting a drunk driving charge is usually a wise course of action.

Having represented hundreds of defendants, many of whom have been charged with offenses such as DWI, drug DUI, impaired motor vehicle operation and breath test refusal, we know which cases are going to be tough to win and which may even be thrown out on technicalities. Having a qualified legal professional on your side can not only be reassuring, but it can help you avoid the most severe of DWI penalties should the court rule against you.

One of the more serious charges for a driver who is caught drinking and driving has to do with minor children in the vehicle at the time of the traffic stop. Just as operating a motor vehicle within 1,000 feet of a school zone while drunk, can result in much greater penalties following a possible conviction, having kids with you while DWI-DUI is similarly a bad combination.
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Drunk driving arrests are hardly uncommon here in the Garden State, with our large population and plenty of vehicles on the road. But while intoxicated driving maybe a year-round occurrence throughout the state, the incidences of impaired motor vehicle operation can become especially frequent when the weather starts to warm up and the summer tourist season begins anew. With numerous family get-togethers, company picnics, and out-of-towners streaming into beach and resort areas, police all around the state are on alert for potentially inebriated motorists.

Whether one lives, works or travels through Monmouth County, or Ocean, Atlantic or Cape May, a wide variety of alcohol- and prescription drug-related arrests can be seen nearly any day of the week in the various police blotter pages published by local news outlets. As New Jersey DWI defense lawyers, my legal team has seen its share of courtroom scenarios involving all manner of drunk driving, breath-test refusal and drug DUI cases.

Regardless of the circumstances, from alcohol-related car and truck accidents to drug-impaired motorists taken into custody and charged with DUI, our court system is witness to a constant stream of DWI-DUI cases, many of which are thrown out due to lack of proper evidence or incorrect police procedures. For these last two reasons alone it is never a bad idea to consult with an experienced trial lawyer skilled in DWI-DUI litigation. Certainly, understanding one’s legal rights and weighing the possible options is usually to a person’s advantage.
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As advocates for motorists accused of drinking and driving, drug-impaired motor vehicle operation and other alcohol-related violations, I and my colleagues maintain a healthy skepticism when it comes to charges levied by local and state police against drivers. But being skeptical of law enforcement officials does not mean that we do not respect the job that police officers do for our community.

Similarly, as officers of the court, we have a responsibility to the truth. One thing we do know is that fabricating stories in an effort to reduce guilt or avoid justice altogether is not the best course for most people who seek justice from the courts. Taking statements from all sides with a grain of salt allows one to keep an open mind and lends better perspective to important legal matters.

When it comes to being accused of drunken driving, most people want to avoid any consequences. As New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, I and my experienced team of trial lawyers understand the law and can use our skills and training to best advantage for our clients. This is important, since a conviction for driving under the influence can result in penalties ranging from the loss of one’s license to heavy fines and even jail time.
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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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