Here at the law offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, we have several former DWI prosecutors on our legal team. As such, I can say that we all have a healthy respect for the efforts and sacrifices made every day by city and county police officers and state troopers all across the Garden State. But that being said, as drunk driving defense attorneys we must, as part of our job, view any and all evidence used by the prosecution with a critical eye; questioning all sources of evidence that might be used against our clients in a court of law — even the professional observations, judgments and actions of those officers whom we respect.
The reason for this is simple. As drunken driving defense lawyers, we have an obligation to our clients, as well as to the law itself, to pursue the truth wherever it might lead. Many motorists in the state are charged with DWI, drug DUI, CDS possession, and other motor vehicle violations without strong evidence to support the state’s claim. While many drunken driving cases do result in a conviction and penalties for the defendant, still others end with the case being thrown out on technical grounds or from insufficient supporting evidence.
As hard as we work to protect the rights of those individual who are accused of operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or prescription medication, we find it disturbing whenever we hear of a patrolman or other law enforcement official who is arrested for breaking the very laws that he or she is sworn to uphold as part of their official duties. Hypocrisy is hardly a redeeming characteristic.
When it comes to police officers who break the law, especially our state’s drunk driving statutes, there is never a good excuse in our estimation. As an officer of the court, it is disheartening to learn of people of authority who fail to observe the laws for which they themselves have been entrusted to enforce. The recent news of a Monmouth County officer-in-training who was charged with driving while intoxicated is one such example. Naturally, we must wait until all the facts are in, but the very suggestion that a cop, even a rookie police officer, would end up in such a compromising situation is alarming.
According to news reports, the Hazlet policeman was allegedly drunk when he crashed his vehicle into three other cars over in Union Beach in late March. According to news reports, the 25-year-old rookie patrolman was apparently off-duty when the accident occurred along a portion of Stone Rd. in the early morning hours on a Wednesday.
Based on police reports, the man was arrested by officers from the Union Beach police department and charged with driving while intoxicated following the collision with those three other parked vehicles. Not much else was stated in the news reports, except for a statement from an official with the Hazlet PD who said that the incident apparently involved a personnel issue on the officer’s part.
Rookie Cop Busted on DWI Charge, NJ.com, April 7, 2013