No matter who you are or what your station in life, few if any people have immunity from a drunken driving arrest in this state. The apparent danger of drinking and driving long ago pushed intoxicated operation of an automobile, truck or motorcycle beyond that of a moving violation to one of the most serious traffic offenses in the Garden State.
As experienced New Jersey DWI defense attorneys and skilled trial lawyers, my legal team understands the law as it specifically applies to drunken driving, as well as the penalties associated with a conviction for drunken driving or operating a motor vehicle while impaired by prescription medication or illegal substances (such as marijuana or cocaine). As knowledgeable DWI attorneys, we also understand how the stigma of a drunken driving arrest and/or conviction can impact a person’s life, both public and private.
Frankly, it’s not that uncommon here in New Jersey to read of a sports hero, entertainer, state official or even a police officer who has been slapped with a DWI or DUI charge while driving his or her vehicle on public roads. From time to time we will run across news stories that detail the events leading up to the arrest and conviction of a well-known personality for drinking and driving or being impaired by drugs.
For those with less means, it is often a passing thought that the actor, ball player or other successful individual will have to pay an insignificant portion of his or her annual income as penance for their transgression, if they do in fact lose their DWI or DUI case. The flip side to this is the stain that some individuals suffer following a conviction.
While a famous entertainer or sports hero may be able to bounce back from the negative publicity of a DWI arrest or conviction, many other private individuals may not be so lucky. Understanding the consequences that a drunk driving arrest, much less a conviction, can mean to the average person, it’s not difficult to imagine the harm that such an event can inflict on one’s career opportunities or personal relationships.
We have all heard the old saying that pride goeth before a fall; in fact, a news story that we ran into a while ago points up the fact that even those who are lauded for their contributions to a community can find themselves on the other side of the law almost overnight. According to news articles, an alleged drunk driving crash in Middlesex County last month may have been caused by an employee of Monroe Township.
Based on police reports, the Tuesday afternoon accident involved three vehicles and injured several people including Ernest Feist whose job as an engineer for the township also included duties as the municipality’s director of emergency management. The crash reportedly took place on a stretch of Hoffman Rd. just before 5:30pm on June 4.
Not long after the accident, it was announced that Mr. Feist, who was seriously injured in the crash, was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault, plus one of assault by auto. According reports, the 54-year-old engineer was placed on an unpaid leave of absence due to his medical condition. Ironically, Feist was awarded “Humanitarian of the Year” in 2012 by the New Jersey chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of which he is a board member.
Township official Ernest Feist placed on unpaid leave after charges are filed in crash, NJ.com, June 12, 2013
Middlesex prosecutor investigating crash that hurt emergency management official, two others; NJ.com; June 06, 2013