As the weather becomes increasingly more pleasant here in the Garden State, the promise of warm spring days and summer evenings will bring about the inevitable house parties and family get-togethers. Part and parcel with these occasions is the always plentiful selection of beer, wine and hard liquor. While most people temper their drinking with the understanding that a drunken driving arrest and possible conviction is not desirable, it may not always be obvious that a driver has had more than his or her legal amount of alcohol before heading home from a party.
In such cases, being pulled over by a police officer for a seemingly minor traffic offense could wind up in a full-blown DWI arrest. While I am always quick to warn family and friends to drink responsibly — and of course use a designated driver whenever the need arises — as a New Jersey drunk driving defense lawyer, I also understand the ways in which a motorist could end up being issued a summons for driving under the influence of alcohol, or even prescription drugs (drug DWI).
In my line of work, I can also say that a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol can significantly impact an individual’s career, his personal life or even his standing in the community. The police in counties like Bergen, Ocean, Mercer and Union are constantly on the watch for potentially impaired drivers, and every week we read stories from local communities of police arresting intoxicated drivers.
The following are a few examples of typical news items that describe individuals stopped for traffic infractions and then arrested for DWI, prescription drug DUI, and possession of controlled dangerous substances (CDS), such as cocaine and other illicit drugs.
A 21-year-old Dover resident was stopped by the police for drunk driving in the early morning hours along a stretch of Rte 24. The patrolman in charge arrested the man for drunken driving and was in the process of transporting the individual to police headquarters when he noticed a folder piece of white paper apparently on the subject’s person. After investigating the item, the officer determined that it contained an amount of marijuana. In addition to the DWI arrest, the man was also charged with possession of marijuana. He was released after processing and assigned a mandatory court date.
Another arrest on that same stretch of roadway occurred when a 28-year-old motorist from Dover was observed driving his vehicle at just under 100mph in an area marked at 65mph. During the traffic stop, the officer apparently detected evidence of alcohol on the driver’s person. Determining that the suspect had allegedly been drinking, the officer took him into custody. The man was taken to police headquarters and processed before being released to another responsible party, pending a court appearance.
On another occasion, a 22-year-old resident of Livingston, NJ, was stopped in the early evening by a local police patrol. The officer in charge had made the initial traffic stop likely for a broken taillamp, headlight or other inoperative safety equipment. In the process, the officer apparently observed evidence of a CDS either on the driver’s person or within his control inside the vehicle. The patrolman subsequently arrested the driver for possession of marijuana as well as possession of drug paraphernalia. The man was taken to police headquarters for processing and later released pending a mandatory court appearance.
Police Allege Florham Park Man Exposed Himself, Patch.com, March 1, 2011