According to police agencies across the state, the Thanksgiving holiday has become one of the more common times of the year for New Jersey drivers to be arrested for drunken driving. Not only do local police departments expect increases in arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol, but also for charges of operating a motor vehicle while impaired by prescription medications (drug DUI) and illegal drugs, such as cocaine and marijuana.
The New Jersey State Police have already identified the Thanks giving holiday and subsequent weekend as a prime DWI-DUI enforcement period in areas such as Passaic, Ocean and Sussex County. This should come as little surprise to those who make a living driving or who commute on a regular basis in the evenings and early mornings here in the Garden State.
As New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, I and my staff of experienced drunk driving lawyers understand how easily an individual can be caught up in a DWI arrest. While those who experience a drunk driving or DUI arrest may find the process somewhat unnerving, the real shock can be the actual conviction. Even for a first-time offender the potential penalties and fines, as well as possible jail time after being convicted should be enough to consider proper representation.
According to news articles, Monmouth County’s DWI task force began ramping up their enforcement effort this past Wednesday (Thanksgiving Eve) with roving DWI patrols and drunken driving checkpoints (also known as sobriety roadblocks). Based on news reports, from Wednesday night through the entire Thanksgiving weekend, police presence throughout the county will be quite strong.
Wednesday saw an increase on saturation patrols throughout Ocean Twp and Brielle – where local police officers were patrolling the roadways looking for drivers who exhibit signs of impaired driving. As is already known, police cannot stop a vehicle simply on the assumption that the driver is operating his or her vehicle while under the influence of beer or wine, hard liquor or drugs. Instead, the officer must observe a traffic violation in order to pull a driver to the side of the road, after which any evidence of DWI or DUI may be grounds for an arrest.
In Monmouth County, a sobriety checkpoint was scheduled to be in operation from the later evening on Wednesday until early Thursday morning along a stretch of Rte 9 in Howell, NJ. Tonight, from 11pm until 3am tomorrow morning, a second DWI roadblock is scheduled to be in operation in Middletown along the northbound lanes of Rte 35 at Coopers Bridge (using the parking lot of the Hudson City Savings Bank to carry out sobriety tests).
Drivers flagged into these areas should be ready for questioning by officers who will be looking for signs of intoxication or other kinds of impairment. Should a patrolman suspect that a motorist is inebriated, drunk or under the influence of some kind of drug, that individual will likely be asked to exit the vehicle in order to perform one or more standardizedfield sobriety tests. Failing one or more of these tests may be sufficient for the officer in charge to arrest the driver and take him or her into custody.
Needless to say, once an arrest has been made, police will usually take the suspect to headquarters for a breathalyzer test to determine blood-alcohol content (BAC). Readings from an Alcotest device or other evidence collected at the checkpoint may be used by the local prosecutor’s office to prove that the driver was legally drunk when operating their vehicle.
Monmouth DWI task force plans checkpoints throughout holiday weekend, APP.com, November 23, 2011