Articles Posted in Sobriety Checkpoints

Over the years, getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while possibly intoxicated has become more and more risky from a legal standpoint here in the Garden State. Not only is driving drunk dangerous from a traffic safety point of view, but the chances of being caught and prosecuted have been rising for those who take the chance that they may be legally drunk.

Whether one drives near the Jersey Shore or farther inland, police throughout the Garden State will be participating in the so-called “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, a nationwide drunk driving enforcement effort beginning on August 15 and running through September 1. As New Jersey DWI defense lawyers, my colleagues and I have represented numerous clients over the years who have been stopped for what seemed like a simple traffic infraction only to fine themselves arrested and charged with drunk driving.

Needless to say, the stakes can be quite high these days, as those motorists who are convicted of DWI or drug DUI face thousands of dollars in fines, fees and mandatory insurance premium increases. This upcoming campaign will likely include enhanced DWI-DUI road patrols, plus additional sobriety roadblocks and DWI checkpoints. As usual, this late summer enforcement effort is timed to coincide with the Labor Day holiday, a time of year that is known for its parties and special events where individuals often consume alcoholic beverages and then sometimes get behind the wheel in an impaired state.
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Making the decision to fight DWI or drug DUI charges in the Garden State can be fraught with much anxiety and many questions. As experienced trial lawyers, my colleagues and I have defended hundreds of people over the years against all manner of civil and criminal charges. Every month we meet with dozens of New Jersey motorists who have been accused of intoxicated or drug-impaired driving, with the intent to have those charges reduced or dropped altogether. We know that the trepidation many people feel walking into a courtroom is completely normal, but it should not prevent you from fighting for your rights.

As Bergen County DWI-DUI attorneys, we believe that taking a proactive approach to protecting your legal rights can pay off in the end. My legal team here at the Law Offices of John F. Marshall, is highly regarded throughout the state of New Jersey, not only because of our seasoned and expert defense attorneys, but also because of the results that we obtain year in and year out. When we prepare a client’s defense case, we endeavor to exhaust every avenue while thoroughly investigating the details of the arrest, as well as presenting a comprehensive legal strategy as a challenge to the prosecution’s evidence.

It goes without saying that law enforcement agencies throughout New Jersey have a dim view of motorists suspected of DWI or drug DUI. Similarly, our state’s drunk driving laws provide for some very harsh penalties for those drivers who are found guilty of violating the DWI-DUI legal statutes. Quite simply, a motorist is considered to have been driving under the influence in New Jersey if his or her blood-alcohol concentration (or BAC) is 0.08 percent or more. Penalties associated with DWI-DUI are also based on the BAC measurement determined at the time of the arrest.
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As many Garden State drivers already know, DWI and drug DUI roadblocks are frequent, if not somewhat random, occurrences throughout the New Jersey area. As Red Bank drunk driving defense lawyers, my colleague and I know that a percentage of motorists who are charged with DWI end up being arrested for intoxicated driving at these so-called sobriety checkpoints, which show up in certain “trouble spots” in and around Monmouth, Ocean and Atlantic County, as well as numerous other parts of the state.

For the average person who turns up at one of these drunk driving roadblocks, if he or she has had any amount of alcohol to drink prior to the encounter, a potential nightmare scenario is being taken into custody on suspicion of DWI-DUI. Simply one or two bottles of beer or glasses of wine during dinner can sometimes result in a major legal problem for any driver charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. We are well aware of this because we defend many individuals who have been accused of drunken driving, as well as other alcohol- and drug-related traffic offenses.

My legal team also understands that when it comes to being stopped at a DWI checkpoint, those who are arrested or served a summons for drunken driving are many times curious whether these commonly used police enforcement tools are actually legal under the laws of the State of New Jersey, not to mention that of the U.S. Constitution. Clients may often ask about the fairness of DWI-DUI roadblocks, which is completely understandable given the random nature of these checkpoints.
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While country music star Toby Keith is playing the PNC Bank Arts Center this Friday evening, the New Jersey State Police will have their own event in progress that night, waiting for intoxicated fans to stop in at a sobriety checkpoint being planned in the area. According to news reports, state troopers will be manning a DWI roadblock in the along a stretch of the Garden State Parkway starting early during the concert and thereafter.

We mention this because here in New Jersey motorists often run across late-night sobriety roadblocks erected by state and local police agencies in order to catch potentially drunk or otherwise impaired individuals. This is in addition to the typical saturation patrols that can take place at certain times of the year when the incidence of drunken driving is known to be higher.

As New Jersey drunk driving defense attorneys, my legal staff knows how easily someone can be caught in a situation where an evening of fun can turn into a legal nightmare. Just a drink or two during an event such as a music concert or sporting event can result in some level of alcohol in one’s bloodstream, which if high enough can result in DWI charges.
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Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated in the Garden State is dangerous for everybody, but it could be that much more risky — at least from a legal standpoint — due to the fact that drunk driving enforcement is a priority for the July Fourth holiday already in progress. Whether one travels though counties such as Sussex, Union, Mercer or Atlantic, or any other part of New Jersey, our highways, interstates, parkways and surface streets are currently experiencing greater than normal vehicular traffic; similarly, police DWI-DUI patrols are also increased for this long holiday weekend.

As New Jersey DWI and drug DUI defense attorneys, my colleagues and I fully understand the serious nature of any drunk driving or drug-related DUI arrest. Not even considering the possibility of a conviction for drunk or drugged driving, simply the stigma of being charged with driving under the influence can cause strife in a marriage, alienate one from friends and relatives, and even affect a person’s standing at work or in the community.

As experienced DWI lawyers, my legal team is ready, willing and able to fight for the rights of individuals who have been accused of impaired driving. We do so, not only because we believe in the law and our American legal system, but also because some arrests are faulty and can be proved so. During this time of the year, especially, drunken driving offenses are logged all across the Garden State. Much of the activity during weekends like the Fourth of July can be attributed to anti-DWI campaigns, which can include an increase in the frequency of roadside sobriety checkpoints as well as high-saturation DWI-DUI police patrols.
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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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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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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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With the days getting longer, many people already know that the summer driving season is fast on its way, and with it tens of thousands of vacationers — both local and out-of-state — heading to the Jersey Shore and other vacation venues. Now is the time when drinking and driving is a common topic in law enforcement circles throughout the state. Saturation patrols, drunken driving roadblocks and overall increases in anti-DWI enforcement are back as usual.

As highly experienced drunk driving defense lawyers, my colleagues and I have dedicated ourselves to assisting drivers who have been accused of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or impaired by prescription or illicit drugs. Certainly, there is a percentage of motorists charged with DWI or drug DUI that believe they do in no way deserve being accused of such offenses. In such cases, it is possible that police may have made a poor judgment call based on faulty observations. In other instances, whether the driver was truly intoxicated becomes a serious point of contention due to a possible procedural error on the officer’s part.

Improper procedure, such as that required when conducting a breathalyzer test, can have a significant impact on the outcome of a drunken driving case, which can ultimately result in a dismissal or reduction in the charges. If the prosecution cannot clearly show that the officer made a proper traffic stop to begin with, this is also a potential avenue for a motion to dismiss the charges against the defendant. Naturally, the details of the incident and the facts presented at trial will have a great bearing on the judge’s decision in the case.
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As Garden State DWI and drug DUI defense lawyers, my colleagues and I often remind potential clients that when a police officer makes a traffic stop the action itself can be construed as a “seizure” within the legal definitions stated in the Fourth and Fourteenth amendments of the United States Constitution. As most every legal professional knows, over the years there has existed some doubt as to what truly constituted a valid traffic stop. But these doubts were essentially wiped away following the landmark Supreme Court decision of Delaware v. Prouse.

One of the more popular reasons, at least among police officers, for stopping many a motorist is the common moving violation known as failure to maintain one’s lane; this justification for making a routine traffic stop is second only to pulling a car or truck over based on one of the more typical vehicle equipment infractions, such as a burned out headlight or taillight (in fact, if you find yourself driving a vehicle with a burned-out or broken lamp anywhere on the car or truck, be prepared to have a state trooper or municipal patrolman stop you on the roadside).

When it comes to common moving violations – mainly, straying from one’s lane — drivers who find themselves having a difficult time staying within the lane markers during the evening hours will more than likely end up having a conversation with a law enforcement officer on the shoulder of the roadway. If it’s simply a matter of fatigue, a motorist may simply get a warning; but if that individual has consumed any alcohol recently, much less admits to the fact, complications will likely arise.
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