As we usually see here in the Garden State, not all is sweetness and light on our city streets and highways. While many motorists go about their lives in relative anonymity, the occasional traffic stop is enough to bring one’s name into the local spotlight, if only in the police blotter section of the newspapers. For many, the seemingly inconsequential second or third drink during lunch or dinner can sometimes result in a police arrest and DWI-DUI charges being pressed against an otherwise law-abiding citizen.
As New Jersey DWI defense attorneysI and my legal staff know what can happen when a driver makes a minor mistake in clear view of a state of local police officer. If that individual has recently consumed even a small amount of alcohol, the potential of a DWI arrest is waiting just one wrong turn away in some cases.
Although it is not legal for a patrolman to stop a car simply on the suspicion that its driver is impaired by alcohol (such as beer, wine or hard liquor), doctor-prescribed medication (like pain killers and other opiates), or an illicit substance (such as marijuana, meth or cocaine), what must first occur is a vehicle infraction or driving-related offense.
Of course, for most people, being pulled over for some kind of traffic infraction is not too difficult; failure to signal, improper turn, texting while driving, or any of dozens of potential offenses can open the door to a police traffic stop. After that, if the driver is visibly impaired or exhibits signs of intoxication, the officer can then make an arrest based on his direct observations, not to mention a few failed field sobriety tests.
As drunk driving defense lawyers, I and my colleagues see scenarios — like those found in the daily newspapers — every day. The following are a smattering of typical incidents that tend to land individuals in the police station with alcohol or drug-related charges pending.
Underage Alcohol Possession Plus DWI in Denville, NJ
Local police officers placed a 20-year-old driver under arrest for driving while intoxicated following an early morning traffic stop on a Sunday. The arrest occurred along a stretch of westbound Rte 46, during which officers discovered that the underage occupants were carrying alcohol in the vehicle. After obtaining a warrant to search the vehicle, patrolmen found what was described as three open containers of alcohol.
The driver and a juvenile passenger were both arrested and charged with underage possession of alcohol. The driver, a Dover, NJ, resident, was also charged with DWI, as well as breath test refusal, reckless driving, operating a vehicle with unclear license plates and tinted windows. The driver was processed and later released pending a court appearance.
Police Charge Driver with Marijuana (CDS) Possession in a Vehicle
During a routine patrol near a Dick’s Sporting Goods, local police officers observed a vehicle standing in an area not typically used for general parking. The incident occurred just before 8pm, when patrolmen approached the suspect vehicle to find a man and woman in their mid- to late-20s sitting inside the car.
During an interview of the two occupants, the officers apparently detected the distinct odor of burnt weed emanating from the vehicle. Searching the vehicle, the officers discovered a piece of drug paraphernalia — a glass pipe — located between the vehicle’s console and the driver seat. Further investigation apparently revealed a substance resembling marijuana in the bowl of the pipe. As a result, both individuals were arrested, taken into custody, and driven to headquarters for processing. They were each issued summonses for CDS (controlled dangerous substance) possession.
Clark Police Arrest Driver for DWI following Traffic Stop
Local police stopped a 21-year-old Winfield, NJ, man along a stretch of Raritan Road most likely for a typical traffic violation. Apparently, as is many times the case, during the ensuing police stop, officers detected signs of impairment or intoxication coming from the suspect. Base on reports, the officer in charge arrested the man and charged him for driving under the influence of alcohol. Following processing the man was released pending a court appearance.
Clifton Police Charge Drivers with Operating Motor Vehicles while Intoxicated
A 32-year-old female driver from West Orange, NJ, was stopped by police along a stretch of Allwood Road in Union County for an apparent traffic infraction. In the process of carrying out the police stop, the officer in charge noticed signs of impairment and asked the motorist to perform a series of field sobriety tests, which she allegedly failed, according to police. The patrolman arrested the driver and took her into custody. Following a breathalyzer test, which returned a reading of 0.20 percent blood-alcohol concentration (BAC), police charged the suspect with drunken driving, as well as DWI within a school zone.
Police Blotter: Denville, Rockaway Twp.; NorthJersey.com, March 2, 2012
The Clark Blotter: Police Investigate Stolen Vehicle, Patch.com, January 10, 2012
Police Blotter, Clifton Journal; NorthJersey.com, April 6, 2012