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.
Every so often we read about awards given to those police officers who have distinguished themselves by the total number of drunken drivers they have arrested in the course of their duties. What we find very interesting is the attitude of our law enforcement officials during these events. If anyone had any question in their mind as to how serious any one patrolman is when it comes to enforcing the Garden State’s anti-DWI and drug DUI laws, a news report we ran across recently will provide some insight.
According to the news article covering an awards ceremony for New Jersey’s top DWI enforcers, it appears that the police consider every drunk driver to be a potential murderer. Now, that’s pretty strong talk considering that one or two drinks could put some people into that unenviable category. Based on the news piece, the Ambertville, NJ, police director told reporters this during the ceremony.
The news article also said that for two years running, a Lambertville Police sergeant was being honored with the Garden State’s “Top Gun Award,” as he led Hunterdon County officers in DWI-related arrests. That annual “Top Gun” award is presented to one officer from each county, as well as each State Police troop. The Lambertville officer earned his latest award by making 31 arrests during the 2012 calendar year, which was three more than the previous year. The runner up had tallied 29 drunken driving arrests in 2012.
Considering the total number of recipients, there are more than a few police officers and state troopers who take very seriously their job of getting drunk drivers off the road. The statistics back them up, showing that a quarter of all traffic deaths are alcohol-related. According to the latest data, New Jersey roadways saw 152 people killed in alcohol-related crashes in 2011, which was down almost 10 percent from the previous year when 168 people lost their lives to drunk drivers.
Top N.J. DWI enforcement officers take ‘potential murderers’ off the road, NJ.com, April 25, 2013 at 3:59 PM, updated April 25, 2013