Regardless of the nature of an initial roadside police stop — be it a burned-out headlamp, sliding through a controlled intersection without completely stopping, or drifting in and out of one’s lane — the opportunity for a drunk driving or drug DUI summons can go up appreciably depending on how the driver appears to the police officer in charge. Bloodshot eyes or an unsteady gait may cause a patrolman to suspect some kind of intoxication, though neither condition is a surefire sign of being drunk or impaired.
Despite what some people may believe, being charged for DWI-DUI based solely on watery eyes or some other vague observation is usually not sufficient to result in a conviction for driving while intoxicated; other evidence is needed beyond a more or less subjective assessment. Experienced DWI defense lawyers, such as the legal team at our law firm, can offer up a number of plausible explanations for a variety of conditions, from allergies and migraine headaches to very cold temperatures or high winds at the time of the arrest.
Since an arrest for DWI or drug DUI needs supporting evidence, as required by law, the prosecution will often attempt to prove that the defendant exhibited a “substantial deterioration or diminution” of his or her mental faculties/physical capabilities due to alcohol or hallucinogenic, narcotic or habit-producing drugs.
Whatever the situation, is it usually advisable that a person accused of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol consult with a skilled trial attorney to better understand his or her rights under the law. And, considering the high cost of a conviction, both in terms of financial hardship as well as potential jail time, it makes little sense to walk into a courtroom unprepared to defend oneself in the best way possible.
We see examples every day of people who have been charged with DWI or served with a summons for drug DUI. News reports, such as the ones that follow, are instructional in that they show how easily a routine traffic stop can devolve into a full-blown DWI-DUI arrest. Take, for example, the four individuals who were arrested by Plainsboro police a while back. According to reports, the arrests occurred during the course of one week and included intoxicated driving, drug possession, and other related charges.
The first incident took place on a Wednesday evening after a policeman noticed a late-model Mazda driving north along a stretch of Rte 1 with a non-working headlight. Once the officer had made a roadside traffic stop he reportedly detected the odor of burnt cannabis coming from the 20-year-old suspect’s vehicle. A subsequent search of the driver’s person allegedly revealed evidence of the drug known as Molly, as well as marijuana. The South Plainfield resident was eventually charged with possession of controlled dangerous substances (CDSs) plus related drug paraphernalia. The driver was issued a number of summonses for offenses such as reckless driving, maintenance of lamps, and CDS possession in a motor vehicle.
In another episode, a 47-year-old Highland Park, NJ, driver was stopped by police in the early morning hours for having illegally tinted windows. While interviewing the motorist, the officer reportedly smelled what was described as the strong odor of alcohol coming from the male driver. Administering several of the standardized field sobriety tests, which the driver apparently failed, the patrolman took the man into custody on a charge of driving while intoxicated. Other offenses, aside from the apparently heavily tinted windows, included having “unclear license plates” and driving in a reckless manner.
Another driver, a 24-year-old woman from the Maplewood area, was stopped by police around 2:30am after officers noticed a Chevy Cobalt speeding on the roadway. During the traffic stop the officer in charge allegedly observed signs of intoxication on the driver. According to the news report, officers determined that the driver had consumed alcoholic beverages before getting behind the wheel. After a number of failed field sobriety tests the woman was taken into custody and charged with DWI.
In another instance, police had reportedly received reports of a possibly intoxicated driver in the area. Officers on patrol came upon a Kia Optima that was stopped on Dey Rd apparently obstructing the flow of traffic around 3am. During their investigation, patrolmen determined that the motorist was driving while intoxicated. The man was cited for DWI, as well as delaying traffic and driving in a reckless fashion. He was taken to police headquarters for processing and later released pending a court date.
Four drivers arrested on DWI, related charges in Plainsboro, cops say; NJ.com; February 04, 2014