All things considered, if a motorist is going to be stopped for drunk driving in the Garden State, if and when it does happen it’s advisable not to have that arrest be in conjunction with a traffic accident. Coupling a DWI or drug DUI arrest with property damage, or worse, injuries and/or fatalities, makes a drunken driving defense that much more complicated.
As New Jersey DWI defense lawyers, I and my colleagues know the law as it applies to driving while intoxicated, regardless of whether the charges involve alcohol, prescription meds or illicit drugs such as cocaine or marijuana. As a former municipal prosecutor, I have a deep understanding of the strategies and procedures used by prosecuting attorneys against drivers accused of operating a vehicle under the influence.
Impaired driving is actually quite common in Bergen, Union, Ocean and Mercer County, not to mention most other jurisdictions across the state. One thing that most people would likely agree on, however, is that hitting a police car while allegedly drunk is not a good idea. Doubly so, hitting a patrol car while leaving a bar would be at the top of our list of things not to do after drinking any amount of beer, wine or hard liquor.
A while back, in South Plainfield, NJ, a bar patron did just that early on a Sunday morning. Based on police reports, patrolmen had been called to the scene of an unrelated incident at a bar on New Market Avenue around 1:40am. While the officers were inside the establishment, a 35-year-old customer who had already left the bar tried to pull his vehicle out of the bar’s parking lot. In the process, Manishkum Patel, hit the unoccupied police car.
While damage to the patrol car was minimal, officers arrested Patel and charged him with DWI. Apparently the man declined a breath test and was charged with refusal, as well as being slapped with a reckless driving charge.
Driver, 35, charged with DWI after hitting patrol car in South Plainfield, MyCentralJersey.com, January 11, 2011