First, some basics: A charge of impaired driving due to alcohol consumption here in the Garden State is based on New Jersey drunken driving laws as reflected in N.J.S. 39: 4-50. Known generally as “drunk driving,” this is referred to variously as driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), and involves operating a motor vehicle while impaired or intoxicated by beer, wine, hard liquor or another type of alcoholic beverage.
As New Jersey drunken driving defense attorneys, I and my legal staff have dozens of years of collective experience representing motorists accused of DWI, DUI, drug DUI and breath test refusal, among other traffic-related violations. As motor vehicle violations go, whether here in New Jersey or any number of other states across the nation, DWI is considered one of the more serious violations with which a motorist can be charged.
Here in Jersey, the fines and penalties associated with a drunken driving conviction can be quite stiff, financially, and in some cases the mere accusation of drinking and driving (much less and actual conviction) can cause serious complications to relationships within one’s social and business circles.
Here in New Jersey, our state is known in the legal arena as a “Blood Statute” state. Basically, this means that drivers of non-commercial motor vehicles are bound by the law based on blood-alcohol concentration (or BAC), instead of breath-alcohol concentration. For those uninitiated, BAC is defined by New Jersey statutes as the percentage of alcohol concentration detected in a driver’s bloodstream.
While it does occur that motorists accused of DWI may have their blood tested at a medical facility, it is more common to have law enforcement officers use a breathalyzer to measure alcohol concentration; taking a driver’s breath sample and using that reading in a court of law as proxy for BAC. This is the procedure under most circumstances, since it is widely understood that sampling a person’s breath (by blowing into a breathalyzer machine) is relatively easier and less costly than sampling that same individual’s blood directly (by use of a needle and syringe).
Whatever the situation that leads a driver to be charged with DWI, impairment by prescription medication, or illegal substances (such as marijuana), the results can be expensive from a monetary standpoint, as well as cause difficulties for a driver in the long-term. As experienced drunken driving attorneys, we always recommend that those charged with DWI or DUI consult a qualified legal professional regarding one’s options prior to stepping foot in a courtroom.
It goes without saying that combining a motor vehicle accident with a charge of DWI can complicate matters in court. Property damage or personal injury issues will not make things any easier when fighting a drunk driving charge. We are reminded of this every time we read of an injury-related accident or ones involving destruction of private or public property. Not long ago we ran across a news story of a driver who apparently lost control of his vehicle and crashed into several utility poles along a portion of Rte 10 in Morris County.
According to news reports, the incident took place in New Providence, NJ, with information coming from local police indicating that a Newark resident was apparently heading eastbound near South Jefferson Rd. when the single-vehicle crash occurred. The impact took down a couple poles, as well as overhead wires.
Police arriving on the scene reportedly arrested the driver and charged him with reckless and careless driving, inability to maintain his lane, following another vehicle too closely, as well as driving under the influence of alcohol. According to police reports, the man was taken to the Morristown Medical Center for treatment of his injuries, during which police expected to get results of a blood test to determine the driver’s blood-alcohol concentration.