Articles Posted in Morris County DWI Defense

Anyone who drivers a car, truck or motorcycle here in the Garden State has probably seen the aftermath of any number of traffic accidents throughout the course of a year. As New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, I and my staff of experienced trial lawyers know full well that a certain percentage of automobile and commercial trucking crashes involve possible drinking and driving charges. We also know that a DWI or DUI-related traffic accident can complicate a drunk driving case, especially when there are injuries or deaths involved.

Almost more so than property damage, serious bodily injury or a fatality brought on by an alcohol or drug-related roadway collision can motivate a prosecutor’s office to press hard for a conviction. Whether the victim of an injury or fatal car crash is another driver, a vehicle occupant or a pedestrian, the seriousness of the incident will usually make for a more difficult defense. This is why, in such serious cases, it is highly recommended that the accused motorist consult with a qualified legal professional, if only to better understand his or her rights and options going forward.

Being charged with driving while intoxicated is no laughing matter, as many people who have been a defendant in a DWI case will likely attest. Consider the case of a DWI accident that occurred in Morris County almost a year ago, which is only just now making its way through the judicial process. According to news reports, the defendant in this particular case is accused of being drunk and maybe even impaired due illegal drugs when the car she was operating struck a pedestrian off to one side of the roadway. The defendant’s attorney had recently filed a motion in superior court to move the venue out of Morris County, however the judge denied the request.
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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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First, some basics: A charge of impaired driving due to alcohol consumption here in the Garden State is based on New Jersey drunken driving laws as reflected in N.J.S. 39: 4-50. Known generally as “drunk driving,” this is referred to variously as driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), and involves operating a motor vehicle while impaired or intoxicated by beer, wine, hard liquor or another type of alcoholic beverage.

As New Jersey drunken driving defense attorneys, I and my legal staff have dozens of years of collective experience representing motorists accused of DWI, DUI, drug DUI and breath test refusal, among other traffic-related violations. As motor vehicle violations go, whether here in New Jersey or any number of other states across the nation, DWI is considered one of the more serious violations with which a motorist can be charged.

Here in Jersey, the fines and penalties associated with a drunken driving conviction can be quite stiff, financially, and in some cases the mere accusation of drinking and driving (much less and actual conviction) can cause serious complications to relationships within one’s social and business circles.
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For anyone who has never been charged with drunk driving there are many aspects of a DWI arrest that can be surprising and even shocking for “first-timers.” As New Jersey drunken driving defense lawyers, I and my colleagues understand the fear and concern that goes along with a first-time DWI or drug DUI arrest. In fact, even before a driver is pulled over for a traffic violation, it is very possible that the officer in charge was already making mental notes about a motorist’s driving behavior.

This is important to realize, since some individuals who are accused of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of beer, wine or hard liquor may not consider all the possible evidence they may be faced with during their drunken driving hearing. Getting together with a qualified DWI defense attorney is critical when attempting to assess one’s options going into a DWI or drug DUI trial.

Not only will an officer be asked by the prosecuting attorney regarding a driver’s vehicle operation before the traffic stop, but any information that a motorist offers up or provides during a roadside interview will likely be used as evidence when pursuing a guilty verdict in the courtroom. What many drivers don’t realize is even those “minor” or inconsequential comments that one makes during a police stop can be used by the prosecution to make its case against a defendant.
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Make no mistake, at this time of year there are many New Jersey motorists who get picked up for drunken driving day after day as the holiday season progresses through to the New Year. It matters little if someone is an upstanding person in his or her neighborhood or well-respected individual in the local business community, being arrested for DWI or drug DUI can and does happen; the results of which can be costly and embarrassing.

It’s no laughing matter when a driver is pulled over after having a few drinks. While the initial traffic stop must be for a moving violation, exhibiting any outward signs of possible intoxication will likely pique an officer’s interest to the point that a field sobriety test will be requested. I f failed, the patrolman may decide to arrest the driver and take him or her in to have a breathalyzer test performed (via Alcotest or other such device), which could possibly lead to a charge of drinking and driving.

We see this kind of scenario play out week after week all across the Garden State. Consider the following bits and pieces culled from local news sources:

Ocean County DUI Arrest
A simple wrong turn resulted in a couple charges of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), as well as drug DUI and possession of drug paraphernalia. According to the news report, Stafford Township police officers responded to an anonymous report after the unnamed caller reportedly saw a passenger car being driven in a reckless fashion along a stretch of Rte 9.
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It’s not every day that one can say that a piece of clothing or jewelry helped them get out of a tight legal spot, but that was the gist of a case against a New Jersey woman, who is now able to say her tongue stud helped her out in a Morris County courtroom earlier this year. As New Jersey drunk driving defense attorneys, I and my colleagues are dedicated to helping those Garden State motorists who have been accused of DWI, drug DUI, breath test refusal and other drunken driving-related offenses.

In the aforementioned case, the motorist’s DWI lawyer was able to use the law to his client’s advantage and reduce the potential penalties she was facing if convicted of the initial charge of driving while intoxicated. Although this may not be cause for drivers to get their own body modifications, it certainly points up the importance of having a qualified DWI defense lawyer at one’s side; surely it is an example of why it’s always a good idea to consult with a legal professional prior to walking into a courtroom to defend oneself against a DWI or drug DUI charge.

According to news articles, 29-year-old Kara Nelson was stopped by police along a stretch of Rte 46 for an apparent routine traffic offense earlier this year. Police reports indicated that Nelson was pulled over around 2am on January 14. During the traffic stop the patrolman in charge, Officer P. Ottavinia, must have noticed signs of intoxication and requested Nelson to perform a number of standardized field sobriety tests, which apparently indicated that the driver was impaired to some degree.
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As anyone familiar with the Garden State criminal and civil law will know, operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, doctor-prescribed medication and even illicit drugs like marijuana or cocaine are all offenses seriously frowned upon by state and local law enforcement agencies. This is actually an understatement, since police are constantly patrolling the streets of Monmouth, Sussex, Atlantic and Hudson counties watching for drivers who are operating their vehicles in an erratic manner.

Although a patrolman cannot stop a driver simply on a hunch that he or she is intoxicated by beer or wine or high on drugs, if that driver errs in any way that provides the officer an opportunity to pull that motorist over for a traffic infraction, the jig as they say may be up — at least initially. As New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, I and my staff of experienced drunken driving lawyers have decades of cumulative experience in defending those accused of driving while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled dangerous substance (CDS).

Impaired driving can take the form of any number of scenarios in which a driver may exhibit signs of drunkenness or drug-related impairment. And while drinking beer, wine or hard liquor is not strictly against the law — except of minors — excessive consumption mixed with operating a motor vehicle can be grounds for a DWI arrest. And hardly a day goes by that we don’t hear of a handful of DWI arrests or drunk driving summonses being issued to New Jersey residents; which is to say that anyone who has been arrested for DWI or drug DUI is, for lack of a better phrase, in good company.
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Being stopped by a police officer as a teenage driver can be a harrowing experience. And while inexperienced drivers can be expected to make a driving error from time to time, doing so while being drunk can mean big troubles now and in the future. Not only is underage DWI a chargeable offense in the Garden State, simply drinking or even possessing alcohol as a teenager or underage adult is grounds for an arrest.

As New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, we understand that an underage DWI, DUI or breath-test refusal is no way to begin one’s foray into adulthood. As we have said on numerous other occasions, being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or prescription medication (drug DUI) is a serious enough offense without compounding it by being a teen. Parents take note, since most youngsters do not always realize the potentially injurious nature that a DWI conviction can mean to one in the future.

Without a doubt, it is always safer to consult with a qualified DWI lawyer to best understand the impact that any drunken driving conviction can have; in many respects, an underage DWI, DUI or refusal conviction can have even a greater impact than if the defendant was of age and caught for drunken driving for the first time. Suffice it to say that a conviction for DWI is just no way to start out one’s adult life.
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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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Here in the Garden State, motorists are rather familiar with the presence of police road patrols, as well as the typical saturation patrols that occur from time to time during holiday weekends and other periods well known for family and friendly get-togethers where alcohol is usually served. It is at these times that the rate of potential drunken drivers rises to the occasion as well.

As New Jersey DWI-DUI defense attorneys, I and my legal staff know the ease with which a driver can be stopped for a traffic violation only to find him or herself accused of driving under the influence of beer, wine or hard liquor. For the younger crowd, police may from time to time find evidence of marijuana inside the vehicle or on the driver’s person, which can lead to a drug DUI or possession charge.

Any time a motorist is stopped by the police, it can be an unsettling and intimidating experience. Just the mere presence of a police officer, be it a state patrolman or a local municipal officer, can cause a driver to act out of character or become flustered. As of experienced drunken driving lawyers, my firm understands how certain mannerisms, coupled with so-called evidence of alcohol consumption can lead to a DWI arrest, the outcome of which will have a great deal to do with the subsequent breathalyzer test and other evidence from the state.

Of course, being stopped in Morris County, like Monmouth, Ocean and Bergen counties, results in very similar procedures, but the circumstances may vary considerably. As many people know, a driver cannot be stopped on the street simply on a policeman’s hunch that the motorist is drunk. There must be a specific violation witnessed by that officer. However, in the case of drunk driving checkpoints, a driver and his passengers become the focal point of an officer’s attention as soon as the vehicle they are in is waved into the sobriety roadblock area.
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