Drunken driving, DUI, DWI, impaired driving, drug DUI, breath test refusal and numerous other drug- and alcohol-related driving offenses are topics that many people of driving age have heard of, but fewer actually know about from personal experience. Covered under the New Jersey drunk driving statute (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50), offenses such as driving while intoxicated by alcohol and driving under the influence of drugs are serious charges that carry stiff penalties for anyone convicted of them.
As Garden State DWI defense lawyers, my colleagues and I have discussed with many of our clients the rather harsh penalties associated with a guilty verdict for drinking and driving. Despite the amount of publicity aimed at discouraging DWI-DUI, it is interesting that many motorists apparently still find it hard to imagine that they will ever be arrested for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence.
As every drunk driving defense attorney knows, New Jersey’s DWI law states that no person shall operate a vehicle while under the influence of any intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit producing drug. The penalties for such an offense include upward of $400 for a first-time offense plus a one-year driver’s license suspension. For a second offense the stakes rise to as much as $1,000 and a two-year license suspension.
On the occasion of a third offense, the monetary hit is $1,000, but the suspension period for one’s driving privileges jumps to 10 years. Frankly, whoever you are, that is a long time and some might argue that it is rather harsh. Yet these are the penalties that many individuals face after being picked up for being under the influence on New Jersey roadways.
Quite often these arrests begin with a simple traffic or vehicle violation. The following news items illustrate some of the circumstances surrounding drunken driving police stops. According to these reports, four drivers were charged with separate impaired driving offenses in Hudson and Ocean counties.
In one instance, an early morning police stop in Harrison, NJ, resulted in a driver from Newark being charged with DWI. Based on the news item, police pulled a vehicle over along a stretch of Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. near the intersection of Sussex St. The initial offense was apparently a simple case of speeding and improper passing, however upon investigation officers determined that the 35-year-old driver had consumed several Johnnie Walker and Cokes with friends prior to driving home.
The admission may be a problem for this individual, especially if he was read his rights before making that statement. A skilled drunken driving attorney would be able to assess the defendant’s situation and decide what course of legal action to take. In addition to the admission of having had several drinks, the man reportedly failed a field sobriety test, after which he was arrested and taken to police headquarters. Adding to the defendant’s troubles was a breath test that returned a blood-alcohol content (BAC) measurement of 0.16 percent, which is twice the legal limit here in the Garden State.
Several days later, over in Ocean County, three people were arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated. According to reports, the Manchester Township PD pulled over one vehicle along a portion of First Ave. on a Saturday, after which the 50-year-old female driver was arrested for DWI and subsequently placed in the county jail pending a hearing. Later that same day, a 54-year-old woman from Whiting, NJ, was stopped in her vehicle along a stretch of Holly Ct. and later charged with driving while intoxicated; she was later released on a court summons.
In the third instance, Manchester Township police officers pulled over an out-of-state vehicle most likely as part of a routine traffic stop. It appears that the 26-year-old driver was suspected of being drunk behind the wheel. The man was taken into custody, charged with DWI and subsequently released pending a court date.