Making a spectacle of oneself is a habit best left behind in high school or college; as adults we all have better things to do, or certainly a greater responsibility to ourselves and our families. Yet, as human beings, sometimes there is a tendency to over indulge, especially during the holidays. This applies to those who imbibe a little more than they should, and then fail to realize the extent to which they are impaired by alcoholic beverages. That said, it should not come as a surprise that more than one Garden State motorist has hit the road without considering that he or she may be legally drunk.
Being stopped by a state police officer or a local patrolman is no doubt a stressful event. Even the most sober individual might have a hard time maintaining his composure in the face of authority and with the finger of guilt sternly pointing out one’s error on the road. In such instances, would it be unreasonable that a motorist could actually come across as acting a little bit unnatural or, dare we say it, impaired due to the stressful situation in which she finds himself.
Nerves aside, it is a foregone conclusion that a driver who is intoxicated by alcohol or impaired by prescription or even illegal drugs will likely appear to a police officer to exhibit some behavioral changes. It is at this point during a routine traffic stop that many people are asked to preform one or more of the standardized field sobriety tests. Drunk or not, who among us would not feel self-conscious on having our every action and movement observed?
As New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, the lawyers at my firm are experienced in fighting for the rights of drivers who have been charged with DWI, drug DUI, breath test refusal and other drunken driving-related offenses. Every day of the year drivers from around our state are stopped for what may seem to be a minor infraction on the roadway, but occasionally a much more significant episode can transpire to raise the eyebrows of even the most jaded law enforcement official.
We ran across a news story a while back that illustrated this kind of situation. While it happened just over the border in adjoining Orangetown, NY, it is nonetheless a good example of what not to do, on all counts. Needless to say, as most anyone can imagine, this particular encounter could have resulted in much more serious charges if injuries had been sustained. Under that type of scenario, it would be a good idea for any motorist to seek the advice of a qualified drunken driving attorney.
According to that news report, a local man allegedly drove through a police roadblock erected to separate vehicular traffic from the festivities going on at the town’s annual Share Christmas & The Holidays event being held in downtown Pearl River.
Based on the information provided by the Orangetown PD, the 46-year-old driver was behind the wheel of a Toyota sport utility vehicle as he ran through and apparently over the road closure barricades set up on South Main Street. The incident, which occurred around 8pm, caused no injuries and the auxiliary police officers in charge at that location were apparently able to get the allegedly intoxicated driver to stop after he ran through the police line and ended up between two police vehicles.
The patrolmen ran to the then-stationary SUV and got the driver’s attention before any additional problems could occur. Officers were also able to get the SUV’s driver-side door open so they pull the keys out of the ignition and stop the vehicle and driver from proceeding any farther into the event area.
After securing the vehicle, police turned their attention to the driver who was reportedly exhibiting signs of impairment due to alcohol. Based on reports, the suspect refused the officers’ requests to perform field sobriety tests; according to news accounts, after being taken to the Orangetown Police Headquarters, the man also refused to submit to a breathalyzer test. In the end, the driver was charged by police with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
[UPDATE] Pearl River Man Charged with DWI after Driving Through Police Roadblock, Patch.com, December 8, 2012