Articles Posted in Ocean County DWI Defense

Under New Jersey law, there are defined procedures the police must adhere to when administering a breath test to a DWI defendant to determine the defendant’s blood-alcohol level. If the police deviate from the procedures set forth under the law, the results of the test may be invalid. In a recent case, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, elaborated on the requirements regarding continuous observation prior to a breath test, and ultimately denied the defendant’s appeal of his DWI conviction. If you live in New Jersey and are charged with a DWI offense, it is critical to retain a skillful New Jersey DWI defense attorney who will fight vigorously on your behalf.

Facts Regarding the Defendant’s Arrest and Breath Test

It is alleged that a police officer approached the defendant’s car, which was parked on the side of the road, after which the officer observed that the defendant smelled like alcohol and had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. The defendant admitted to consuming several beers at a nearby bar. The officer did not perform a field sobriety test but charged the defendant with DWI. The defendant was transported to a police station where he was placed in a holding cell. The officer sat outside the cell a few feet away to make sure the defendant did not eat or drink anything that could alter the results of a breath test.

Reportedly, approximately twenty minutes later, a second officer administered Alcotest, a breath test, which revealed the defendant’s blood-alcohol level to be 0.22%. The defendant was convicted of DWI, which was his third DWI offense, and sentenced to 180 days imprisonment and a ten-year license suspension. The defendant appealed, arguing, inter alia, that the arresting officer did not observe the defendant for twenty minutes prior to administering Alcotest as required by law. Continue reading

DWI and DUI arrests are certainly a common occurrence in the Garden State, what with one of the largest concentrations of people in the nation and a large amount of vehicles on the road. But although DWI-DUI is admittedly a year-round occurrence, the incidence of impaired vehicle operation is especially prevalent in the warmer months. Although we just said adieu to our summer, at least officially, the weather is still fine and drunk driving is hardly a thing of the past.

Whether one lives or works Ocean County, it can be seen from local and state news articles that there are a variety of alcohol- and prescription drug-related arrests happening nearly every day of the week in towns and cities all around the Jersey Shore, in places like Toms River, Stafford and Berkeley. These areas are often busy with police activity including DWI stops, field sobriety testing, drug DUI and marijuana possession and DUI arrests.

Regardless of the circumstances, our municipal court system sees a near constant stream of DWI-DUI cases, quite a few of which are thrown out due to lack of proper evidence or improper police procedure. The following incidents took place in Lacey Twp. not long ago.
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As experienced DWI defense lawyers, my law firm understands how many drivers who are accused of DWI can be quite nervous about the serious consequences they may be facing following a drunken driving arrest. It is important to note, however, that some instances of drunk driving may be much more damaging for one person than for another. In fact, a DWI conviction — or even simply an arrest for alleged DWI-DUI can severely impact some individual’s future career opportunities.

Commercial truck drivers come immediately to mind when the topic of intoxicated driving comes up. But other people, not just professional drivers, can suffer the aftereffects of a DUI conviction in many ways. The question of trust, employee safety and company liability are all serious issues that companies, both large and small, must consider when an employee is found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Like it or not, the complications of a DUI-DWI arrest and subsequent conviction can have long-term effects on many New Jersey drivers.

We were reminded of the havoc that a DWI conviction can have on some individuals just a short time ago when we read a news report of a Bayville woman who was taken into custody by Toms River police after she allegedly slammed into a fire hydrant with her car early on a Friday afternoon. Apparently, the 50-year-old woman had recently been hired as a babysitter by a local woman to take care of her son at home. Based on police reports, the officers stated that the babysitter had been discovered drunk at her employer’s home earlier that day.
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A little over a week ago a New Jersey driver was convicted in an Ocean County courtroom of drunken driving and vehicular manslaughter in a fatal 2010 DWI-related traffic accident that left an Ocean Gate police officer dead. According to news reports, the jury deliberated less than one hour before rendering a guilty verdict in the case of Erick Uzcategui, whose vehicle struck an SUV driven by off-duty police officer, Jason Marles. As a result of the jury’s decision, the 34-year-old Manchester, NJ, resident faces a prison term of between five and 10 years.

The crash that led to the arrest and eventual conviction of the driver, reportedly took place on Thanksgiving back in 2010. At the time, according to court records, the defendant was operating his BMW sport utility vehicle along a section of the Garden State Parkway when he apparently lost control of the vehicle and slammed into the back of Officer Marles’ Jeep Grand Cherokee. The force of the impact cause the policeman’s vehicle to spin and subsequently crash through a nearby guardrail, after which the vehicle rolled and caught fire.

Based on news articles, the police believed the driver of the BMW to have been impaired due to alcohol consumption and possibly drug use involving cocaine and a steroid known as Oxandrolone. As New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, we noted that the outcome of this case came after a rather extended period of time. Almost four years after the initial incident, many people were likely frustrated by the slow pace of the case; with blame settling squarely on the defendant’s lawyers for an unhurried approach to defending their client.
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Driving while intoxicated (DWI), drunken driving, driving under the influence (DUI), or impaired operation of a motor vehicle — whatever you call it, drinking and driving in the Garden State is definitely not something that the police or our courts look at favorably. In fact, wherever you reside — be it Middlesex, Morris, Atlantic or any of the 20 or so other counties — the odds of being arrested and charged with a drunk driving offense can increase once a person gets behind the wheel of a car or truck after even one drink.

As New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, my law firm is committed to helping motorists who have been accused of DWI or drug DUI fight for their rights in courtrooms throughout the state. Over the many years of representing individuals charged with drunken driving, my colleagues and I have litigated dozens upon dozens of drunk driving cases. It goes without saying that many DWI-DUI cases involve traffic accidents, some of which are rather minor, while others entail more serious outcomes. And, there is a certain percentage of DWI-related accidents that entail more tragic results.

As skilled Monmouth County trial attorneys with expertise in drunk driving law, my legal team has defended numerous clients accused of a DWI- or DUI-related traffic collision. Because we believe that everyone deserves a proper defense under the law, my firm is ready and willing to represent our clients’ best interests. On the other hand, we understand the need for highway safety and therefore we do not condone the mixing of alcohol and driving.
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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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As a long-standing drunk driving defense law firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have been helping motorists fight intoxicated driving and drug impairment charges for many years. If there is anything that my colleagues and I have learned during this time, it’s to never underestimate the role that fate can play in one’s life. We were reminded of this just a few days back when we ran across a news article about a motorcycle rider who started his evening as the victim of an automobile accident headed to the hospital and ended as the recipient of a DWI summons, as well as more serious charges of CDS possession.

Before we describe the incident, it is important to mention that police allegedly found more than 100 bags of heroin either on the motorcycle rider’s person or loaded onto his bike. In either case, being charged with heroin possession and/or distribution should not be taken lightly. As criminal attorneys, as well as drunken driving lawyers, my legal team is well aware that a conviction for heroin possession/distribution comes with very harsh penalties under New Jersey law.

In fact, possession of ANY amount of heroin, which is defined as a controlled and dangerous substance (CDS), is guilty a third degree criminal offense with possible jail time of up to five years. The fine for a conviction of Third Degree Heroin Possession, at upward of $35,000, makes the fines and statutory assessments for drinking and driving seem like a drop in the bucket. Needless to say, this is a very serious offense to be hit with.
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Most every adult here in the Garden State who drives a car has noticed over the years that police traffic enforcement generally ramps up as the weather gets warmer and the vacationers start a migration to the famous Jersey Shore. While the spring and summer revelry is always a welcome change from the freezing temperatures of winter, some changes are not always that pleasant. In particular the opportunity for traffic citations and, occasionally, an alcohol or drug-related arrest.

As New Jersey drunk driving attorneys, we receive a number of questions from friends and acquaintances, as well as potential clients, regarding the legitimacy of certain kinds of drunk driving enforcement; namely, the random erection of late-night drunk driving roadblocks, also known as sobriety checkpoints. Depending on where you live, the frequency of these “tools” of law enforcement can rise or fall based on the time of year of the funding available to staff them.

One of the many questions we get is whether or not sobriety checkpoints are legal in New Jersey, or if they are even constitutionally allowed. When asked, we must tell people that, in fact, DWI checkpoints are legal, both on a state and federal level. From a constitutional standpoint, the issue of police roadblocks was addressed in successive cases starting back in 1979, when the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Delaware v. Prouse.
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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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With summer now two weekends old, many Garden State drivers and more than a few out-of-state motorists passing through will have been stopped by New Jersey state troopers or one of many municipal cops trolling the state’s parkways, turnpikes and interstates in search of traffic law violators. As part of the routine number of police stops involving the issuance of citations for any number of moving violations, patrolmen often find drivers who may have imbibed a little too much beer or wine prior to getting behind the wheel. This can sometimes lead to a costly and often embarrassing DWI arrest.

As New Jersey drunk driving defense lawyers, my firm is dedicated to helping those motorists who have been accused of drinking and driving, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of prescription medication, or some other impaired driving offense. While some may argue that hiring a lawyer to defend against a DWI or drug DUI summons is not worth the cost, those people often do not consider the long-term effects of a drunk driving conviction, which include mandatory increases in a defendant’s auto insurance premiums, which last for several years and total thousands of dollars.

Of course, the best defense against being convicted for DWI-DUI is simply not to drink and drive in the first place; even a small amount of alcohol in one’s bloodstream can result in a bevy of serious charges — and that doesn’t even include the possibility of getting into a personal injury accident as a consequence. Nevertheless, human nature often wins out over common sense, which is why we constantly see enhanced police traffic enforcement during certain times of the year when drunken driving is most prevalent.
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