Being caught driving drunk here in the Garden State can get many a motorist in hot water legally and financially; and it’s no secret that police departments in Monmouth, Bergen, Sussex and Atlantic counties have virtually no tolerance for drivers who get behind the wheel in any state of inebriation. Frankly, with all the hype about anti-drinking and driving enforcement during the holidays, it’s difficult to imagine that individuals still drive while potentially intoxicated, but apparenlty this happens with extreme regularity.
As New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, I and my colleagues are constantly reading about individuals who may or may not believe that they were intoxicated at the time of their arrest. Regardless of where one is picked up for operating a vehicle while impaired — be that by alcohol, prescription medication (drug DUI) or illicit drugs like cocaine or marijuana — the penalties can be severe and costly.
As drivers ourselves, we understand the reasons for anti-drunken driving laws, however the methods and evidence used against motorists can sometimes be questionable, to the point that a DWI case may have little chance of standing up in court. One thing, however, that can make a so-called “routine” drunk driving arrest stand out is when it coupled with a traffic accident. Property damage, injuries and certainly fatalities tied to an alleged drunk driving episode is nothing to sneeze at.
In cases where a person has died as a result of a driver’s alleged drunken driving, the courts are keen to see that justice is served. Instances such as these should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind as to the importance of hiring a qualified legal professional; one who is well-versed in DWI law and experienced in fighting for their clients’ interests.
We are constantly reminded of the trouble that drivers can get into on the road. Last fall, news articles described of a local man who was involved in a fatal auto-pedestrian traffic accident in Ocean County; a serious situation to say the least. According to police reports, an elderly Barnegat resident died not long after being struck while on foot by a car driven by the 25-year-old Stafford resident.
Although no definitive evidence of drunk driving was available at the time of the news articles, the driver had been issued non-DWI-related traffic summonses in relation to the deadly crash. As the news reports stated, no criminal charges had been brought by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, though the filing of more or less routine traffic charges was made reportedly due to the impending expiration of the 30-day statute of limitations.
The accident itself occurred on a September morning as the 76-year-old victim stood next to his sport utility vehicle in Manahawkin. According to news reports, the elderly man was hit by a car driven by the son of Stafford Township councilman. Transported to Southern Ocean County Medical Center, the victim was pronounced dead not long after.
Apparently, police and the local prosecutor’s office had been awaiting results from a blood-alcohol content (BAC) test prior to pressing any criminal charges. At the time of the news article, the investigation was still ongoing.
Meanwhile, reports of the young man’s driving record were surfacing, including publication of the man’s driving record, which allegedly include a number of DWI-related incidents. According to reports, New Jersey state motor vehicle records indicate that the driver had four DWI/drug DUI arrests at the time of the accident in question. This is of particular interest to Ocean County authorities as state law requires a mandatory 10-year license suspension for any motorist arrested for a third DUI within 10 years of their second DUI arrest.
Driver in Accident That Killed Barnegat Man Receives Traffic Summonses, October 26, 2011