Police officers in Middletown Twp. Had a busy week not long ago when they arrested and charged five individual drivers with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Without knowing the specific circumstances of each arrest, it is difficult to know how or why each of these drivers was served with a summons for DWI, however it is instructive to remind readers that being stopped on any Garden State roadway can open a person up to extreme scrutiny, especially if they in any way exhibit some key signs of impairment.
As New Jersey drunken driving defense lawyers, my colleagues and I understand the difficult position under which many otherwise law-abiding citizens are placed when they find themselves being questioned on the roadside by a local cop or state trooper. Odd as it may seem to some people, it is possible — yet amazingly commonplace — to see a motorist who is pulled over for one of many possible traffic infractions end up admitting, in short order, that he was drinking prior to the police stop.
Providing a police officer with an “admission of guilt” in whatever manner it happens, does not necessarily that the driver’s statements can be used against him in court. An experienced DWI defense attorney, like those on the legal team in my firm, will know immediately to ask whether or not the driver was read his or her Miranda Rights prior to their supposed admission of guilt. Similarly, one should also consider whether or not the driver was informed of his right to remain silent. Depending on the situation, if the answer to these two questions was no on both counts, then there is reason to believe that the court may likely strike any admission of guilt from the record, since it was probably not obtained legally.
Out in Middletown, it is also highly likely that most of the individuals who were charged with driving while intoxicated also were asked to submit to a blood or breath test to determine the level of alcohol in their bloodstream. In most cases, it is fairly common for police to have a motorist who is suspected of DWI submit to a breathalyzer test (or chemical) breath test. These days, the most common machine used to measure the blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is the Alcotest 7110.
Blood tests, by the way, are still used to determine BAC, though the circumstances often involve a suspect who has been injured in a car crash prior to his or her arrest. This is usually accomplished by the officer in charge requesting hospital staff draw a blood sample for BAC testing. While this kind of testing is usually done at the medical facility by a professional, there are still a number of ways to determine the accuracy of the resulting evidence — for example, establishing chain of custody.
An important challenge to police obtaining BAC evidence via a blood test (versus a breath test) is having the state show that the results could not have been obtained in a manner other than through a blood sample. When a blood sample is obtained without a warrant, the prosecution need to show that doing so was justified under the circumstances — it is important to note that this can often be difficult for most prosecutors to overcome in the eyes of the court.
As for those individuals who were charged with DWI in Monmouth County back in January, one was over 50 years old, while the remaining four were between 22 and 44 years of age. The first arrest, which took place on a Friday involved a 25-year-old local woman who was charged with DWI, though the involvement of a drug recognition expert (DRE) from the Middletown Twp. PD makes one wonder if there may have been some other kind of substance involved in the arrest.
That same day, a 44-year-old Red Bank resident was stopped by police and also charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. That man was taken into custody, transported to police headquarters and later released on a summons pending a hearing date. The following day, a 22-year-old New Jersey woman from the Atlantic Highlands area was picked up for apparently some type of traffic or vehicle infraction. As a result, the driver was taken into custody and charged with DWI.
Two other motorists, a 60-year-old and a 30-year-old were each arrested three days apart by Middletown police officers. The older driver, a gentleman from Keansburg was hit with a summons for driving while intoxicated and later released following processing at the township police headquarters. The younger motorist, a woman from the Port Monmouth, NJ, area was also written up for drunken driving. She was processed and released on a DWI summons.
MIDDLETOWN COPS BUST FIVE FOR DWI, RedbankGreen.com, January 29, 2014