Most likely any parent of school-aged children would feel rather uncomfortable having their kids shuttled about by a person who was impaired by alcohol or drugs. The fact of the matter is, because we value our children and the promise they hold for the future, school systems and motor coach companies have strict requirements for anyone who drives young children around. At the same time, as experienced trial attorneys, my colleagues and I believe that anyone who is charged with a crime, civil or criminal, deserves the right to challenge those accusations in a court of law.
Without a doubt, drunken driving is one of the more reviled traffic-related offenses that occur on a regular basis here in the Garden State. As New Jersey DWI-DUI defense lawyers, our job is to represent defendants who have been accused of an offense such as operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of beer, wine, liquor or prescription drugs. Our law offices also take on clients who have been charged with marijuana DUI or possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) in a car or truck.
We understand all too well how being accused of DWI or drug DUI can ruin one’s standing in his or her community or destroy professional relationships; never mind the loss of one’s career following a possible conviction for drinking and driving or drug-impaired motor vehicle operation. As it stands, those individuals whose job it is to drive a taxi cab, livery sedan, airport shuttle or school bus can suffer greatly once a charge of DWI or DUI has been levied. The potential loss of income following a conviction can be devastating to any professional driver.
In this regard, we noticed a news article from this past summer detailing the arrest of a school bus driver who was accused of being drunk behind the wheel while transporting a number of students in Nassau County, NY. According to the news report, the 48-year-old driver was operating a mini school bus last January when the vehicle collided with a parked car in Farmingdale. The crash apparently damaged both vehicles, however the four children who were riding aboard the bus were unhurt in the accident.
According to reports, the driver was subjected to three separate breathalyzer tests, yet was still arrested by police for drunken driving. Based on the news article we read, the man perhaps should have been taken to the hospital for treatment and observation of his injuries, but instead he was taken to police headquarters for the aforementioned breath tests.
Based on news reports, paramedics attending to the injured bus driver asked the police how many times they intended to test the driver’s blood-alcohol content (BAC). The EMS personnel reportedly told the officers in charge that the injured driver was not drunk and needed medical attention at the hospital, to which police allegedly told the paramedics to “get lost.”
In the end, it took almost eight hours for police to get the man to a local hospital for treatment of blood poisoning. According to news reports, the driver nearly died from the condition and ended up in a two-week long coma. A local radio station interviewed the driver, who reportedly filed a law suit against Nassau County for $10 million. During that interview, the man told reporters that he was in the hospital for 46 days, during which he lost the ability to walk on his own.
Following the much publicized DWI arrest, the man and his family received a great deal of ridicule and embarrassment over what the victim obviously believes were erroneous charges of drunken driving. The police department stated that its officers were acting on what they believed were signs of apparent drug DUI since, as the police reportedly said, the driver’s eyes were glassy and his speech was slurred.
Whether or not it was a result of the lawsuit, police eventually dropped the charges against the driver, who stated that Nassau County police seem to “arrest first and ask questions later.”
L.I. School Bus Driver Arrested For DWI Says He Was Sick, Not Drunk; CBSLocal.com; August 9, 2013