It goes without saying that many average motorists can become pretty rattled when a highway patrolman or even a local police officer pulls them over for a traffic offense. Because most people have little, if any, contact with law enforcement professionals in their daily lives, being confronted by any cop for an alleged moving violation can be a nerve-racking experience. As experienced New Jersey trial attorneys, my colleagues and I know very well how even the most minor of police stops can leave a driver trembling and second-guessing themselves.
Now, add the potential of intoxicated driving to the mix and you have a serious situation. The can be especially true when a motorist has just been at a restaurant or is returning home from visiting a party with friends or family. If any alcohol was consumed, there is always a possibility that the officer in charge may suspect the driver of DWI. When a state trooper or municipal patrolman asks for the details of one’s evening, having a couple drinks can turn a simple traffic summons in to a full-blown drunken driving arrest.
Leading up to an arrest, many times the police will request a motorist exit the vehicle to perform one or more of the standardized field sobriety tests, which may not always indicate correctly whether a person is impaired or not, but which is often relied upon when a policeman decides whether or not to make an arrest. Being nervous will quite often make the situation worse for a potential arrestee, since fumbling for documents and having a less-than-smooth vocal delivery can influence the outcome of a DWI stop.
As New Jersey DWI and drug DUI defense lawyers, we understand that some of the very behaviors that a nervous individual exhibits can be viewed by police officers as possible signs of inebriation. Here in the Garden State, DWI arrests are frequent occurrences, especially during the warm summer months when people are out later and enjoying free time with friends and family. Whatever the reason for a charge of DWI-DUI, for many people the potential cost of a drunk driving conviction can lead to serious financial hardship.
The following news briefs illustrate just a few of the many kinds of traffic-related police stops that can develop into an out-and-out drunk driving arrest and a trip to police headquarters. Regardless of the location throughout the Garden State — from Atlantic and Ocean County to Monmouth, Union and Sussex — dozens of people experience similar encounters every day. Here are just a few:
Driver Faces Marijuana Possession Charges following Gas Station Accident Police officers in Long Hill Twp. Took a driver into custody not long ago following a dangerous crash at a local gasoline station on Valley Rd. According to news reports, the incident took place in the late afternoon when a 29-year-old man from the Gillette area allegedly made a wrong turn and ended up hitting a gas pump at the local Sunoco station.
Based on police information, the driver was heading west on Valley Rd. at a little past 4pm when he apparently came onto the gas station property, instead of making a right-hand turn onto Mountain Ave. As a result of the collision, police responded to the scene and discovered a number of drug-related items in the car or on the driver’s person. Officers took the man into custody and later charged him with several offenses, including marijuana possession (less than 50g), having drug paraphernalia, careless driving, and operating a car with a controlled dangerous substance (CDS).
Out-of-State Motorist and Passenger Charged with CDS Possession in Morris County
An early evening traffic stop turned up more marijuana and related paraphernalia after police stopped a vehicle driven by a 29-year-old Pennsylvania woman. The police stop was initiated, according to the news, because of a headlamp violation. Around half-past eight, on a Tuesday night, officers stopped a car with an apparently burned-out headlight traveling along a portion of Passaic Ave.
During the stop, police reportedly discovered the driver had some kind of a controlled dangerous substance on her person. Furthermore, officers noted that the 42-year-old passenger in the suspect’s vehicle also had a CDS on his person, as well as having an outstanding warrant in his name from the Morris County Sheriff’s Department. The male passenger was charged, as well, with possessing a marijuana pipe and less than 50 grams of pot.
Poor Driving and a Non-operating Tail Light Opens Door to DWI Arrest Police stopped a motor vehicle a little after 9pm on a Friday evening after officers apparently noticed a car with a burned-out rear taillamp traveling along Valley Rd., not far from the Morristown Rd. intersection. Prior to the stop, police had observed the vehicle, which was being operated by a 39-year-old man from Fanwood. Apparently, after watching the vehicle cross the center line of the roadway, the officers pulled the vehicle over.
As a result of the traffic stop, the motorist was asked to perform several field sobriety tests, which allegedly indicated that the man was driving while impaired. He was eventually taken into custody and charged with a range of offenses, including DUI, failure to stay to the right, improper maintenance of vehicle lights, reckless driving, and operating a motor vehicle without a driver’s license.
Long Hill Police Blotter: Driver crashes into gas pump, charged with possessing pot; NewJerseyHills.com; April 23, 2014