You can be sure that state and local police here in the Garden State have next to no tolerance for drunken driving on public roads; and neither does our court system. Besides the potentially embarrassing and career-changing arrest for driving while intoxicated, there is also the probability of being convicted of DWI, which itself has penalties that make this a traffic offense worth avoiding if at all possible.
Another thing that police and others in the judicial system find abhorrent is drivers who drive under the influence of alcohol while a child is riding in the same vehicle. Aside from actually causing an accident while legally intoxicated, having a minor along for the ride is probably up there on the list of things not to do.
While a drunk driving arrest or conviction may ruin a career or set one back in the running for a higher position at work, driving drunk with one’s child, a friend’s kid or some neighbors’ children can result in a parent being ostracized by an entire community. Depending on how forgiving one’s spouse is, a marriage could easily be at stake as well.
We say this only because, as New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, I and my staff of experienced litigators understand the range of complications that a DWI arrest can bring, much less a conviction for driving under the influence. This goes for as much for operating a motor vehicle while impaired by doctor-prescribed medication (drug DUI) as it does for alcohol use — never mind the added problems associated with use of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) like cocaine, meth or marijuana.
We’re using this as a preface before relating a news story we ran across a while back. According to news reports, a Garden State resident was arrested on Staten Island following a traffic stop on a Friday evening in New York. Based on police reports, 42-year-old Stuart Stott from Atlantic Highlands, NJ, was traveling home with is 4-year-old son when police pulled the man over for erratic driving.
The police stop occurred along the Outerbridge Crossing around 9pm. According to information provided by Port Authority police, Stott’s vehicle was apparently observed by another motorist, who called 911 to alert police to a potentially drunken driver. Based on information the 911 caller, a patrolman reportedly waited at a point before the bridge.
According to news articles, the patrolman tried to pull the driver over; in the process the driver stopped his vehicle in the middle of the road, instead of the shoulder. Upon directing the man to move his vehicle off to the side of the road, the officer reportedly detected the odor of alcohol coming from the driver.
After some questioning, Stott stated to the policeman that he had consumed approximately “five or six” beers at Yankee Stadium that evening. He suspect was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated. Police reports indicate that Stott’s blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) was over the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
Stott was eventually charged with two counts of aggravated DWI, two counts of DWI and one count of endangering the welfare of a child under Leandra’s Law. Because the man was allegedly driving drunk with his minor child in the car, if convicted of drunken driving, he could be facing a felony for being drunk while carrying a child younger under 15 years of age in his vehicle.
That felony charge is based on a New York State law passed in November of 2009, which was enacted in the wake of a fatal DWI-related accident that took the life of an 11-year-old girl; that girl was riding in a family friend’s vehicle, which crashed and flipped over due to the driver allegedly driving drunk.
N.J. man faces drunk driving charges, SILive.com, January 1, 2012