Prosecutions of motorists accused of driving while intoxicated can unfold in a number of different ways here in the Garden State. In situations where a driver is charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol usually focus on whether or not the defendant was impaired by beer, wine, hard liquor of some other type of alcoholic beverage. Arrests made on the basis of having a blood-alcohol content (BAC) reading of 0.08 percent or more is typically referred to as a “per se” charge.
As New Jersey drunk driving defense attorneys, I and my legal team understands New Jersey’s DWI-DUI law, which can be unusual in several ways. First off, unlike many other states across the country, New Jersey doesn’t give accused DWI or drug DUI offenders the right to a jury trial. A motorist accused of driving while intoxicated in the Garden State is entitled only to a court trial, where a judge is the sole decider of guilt or innocence. Naturally, there are various advantages and disadvantages to this approach.
One important “advantage” for those defendants who are found guilty by a judge of DWI-DUI in New Jersey is that the guilty party has the right to an appeal, known in legal circles as a “de novo” appeal. In cases where the defendant loses his initial DWI case, the de novo appeal allows the appellant to bring his case before a county-level Superior Court judge, who will review the trial transcripts and listen to arguments from both the motorist’s lawyer and the state’s attorney.
It is important to note that individuals who have more than one prior DWI or drug DUI conviction will likely be facing enhanced penalties associated with second-, third- or other multiple drunken driving convictions. With mandatory jail time of six months for conviction on a third or greater offense, it makes sense that anyone with prior drunk driving convictions consult with an experience DWI defense lawyer before making any moves on his own.
Of course, the number of people who become entangled in a drunken driving case are quite large and the news outlets around the state are rife with stories of DWI, CDS possession, drug DUI and underage drinking arrests. The following items pulled from recent news articles illustrate the variety of drunk driving incidents that occur on a daily basis here in the Garden State.
Police Officers in Middlesex County Net Five over Weekend in Plainsboro, NJ
According to news articles, five drivers were taken into custody by patrolmen from the Plainsboro police department. In one of the instances, a passenger was also arrested on a drug-related charge. In the first instance, a 57-year-old local woman was stopped by police a little before 11pm on a Sunday night for a traffic violation, after which she was arrested for DWI and presented with a number of summonses for reckless driving, failing to maintain her lane, failing to stay right and not carrying proper auto insurance.
In another case, a 19-year-old out-of-state driver was pulled over in the early morning hours presumably for exhibiting reckless driving behaviors. The officer in charge apparently detected the odor of alcohol on the man’s breath and arrested him for drunk driving and underage DWI. The individual was also issued summonses for an unsafe lane change and improper passing. Based on police reports, a 21-year-old passenger traveling with the man charged with illegally possession of prescription drugs.
Three other separate DWI arrests on Saturday night rounded out the weekend with a 38-year-old Cranbury, NJ, driver being stopped around midnight an issued summons for driving while intoxicated, speeding, and having minor children inside his vehicle. A second arrest took place slightly earlier when a 48-year-old Somerset man was stopped for defective lights on his car as well as reckless driving. That man was also found to be drunk behind the wheel and charged with DWI, failure to exhibit documents, and driving without auto insurance.
The last incident that Saturday involved a 29-year-old Manasquan, NJ, driver who was stopped in just a little before 5am due to a improper vehicle lighting and obstructed view. Police eventually discovered the individual to be drunk and subsequently arrested and charged the driver with drunken driving, breath test refusal, reckless driving, maintenance of lamps and obstructed view.
Little Silver Police Officers Issue DWI and CDS Charges in Monmouth County
According to reports, a 27-year-old Sea Bright, NJ, resident was stopped by police along a stretch of Rumson Rd in Little Silver for what was likely a routine traffic violation. Upon investigation, police found the driver to have marijuana in his possession of less than 50gm. He was taken into custody on the CDS possession charge as well as active contempt of court warrants from courts in both Union Beach and Sea Bright.
In a second incident, a 20-year-old woman from the Fair Haven area was stopped by police on a portion of Rumson Rd., after which officers detected the smell of alcohol on the woman’s breath. She was arrested and charged with underage drinking and driving.
Arrests: Fair Haven, Sea Bright Residents on DWI, Marijuana Charges; Patch.com; May 7, 2013
Plainsboro police arrest 5 for DWI over weekend, NJ.com, May 06, 2013