While many people who are involved in automobile accidents may receive a modicum of sympathy from friend and relatives, if they caused the traffic accident, the police may not be as sympathetic. If other injuries were inflicted on the vehicle’s other passengers or people in other cars involved in the wreck, it’s reasonable to assume that any sympathetic capital will have been used up well in advance of a court hearing, depending on the circumstances.
As New Jersey drunken driving defense attorneys, I and my experienced staff of DWI lawyers know that mixing an injury accident with a charge of driving while intoxicated (or, for that matter, drug DUI) can complicate a drunk driving defense. Here in the Garden State, law enforcement and our court system are very aware of the consequences that drinking and driving can have on traffic safety. Flouting the law and actively operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of beer, wine or hard liquor can only serve to make a defense case more difficult.
Keeping in mind, of course, that any charge of DWI or DUI lodged against a motorist who may have been the cause of an injury-related DWI roadway collision should be followed by at least one consultation with a qualified legal expert, if only to understand one’s options going forward. We have heard too many stories of individuals who believed that they were in the right and therefore handling their own defense was hardly a concern. As a former municipal prosecutor, I understand the many and varied strategies followed by prosecuting attorneys around the state, which can help contribute to a good defense.
Again, if the accident that led to charges of driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol included bodily injury to others — either those in the defendants vehicle or other people in another car or truck, or even a pedestrian or bystander — then it may be in one’s best interest to talk with an experienced DWI-DUI attorney. Not long ago, we came across a news article describing what was a serious incident involving a car accident and drinking and driving. According to that account, the defendant was driving through Somerset County when the crash occurred on Interstate 78 near Watchung, NJ.
Based on news reports, the 23-year-old driver and four of his passengers were all seriously injured when their vehicle left the roadway for some reason, drover into a stand of trees and then flipped upside down. The crash, which slowed traffic for quite some time, took place during the afternoon. The occupants were all riding in a Honda Civic when the crash happened. Police and emergency rescue personnel arrived on the scene to find all five victims in bad shape, according to news sources.
The local police, fire and EMS rescue services responded to the accident and helped to get two of the most seriously injured victims on a chopper and off to a local hospital for emergency treatment. According to information from the New Jersey State Police, the driver was charged with driving while intoxicated, operating a motor vehicle with an open container of alcohol in the vehicle, reckless driving and failure to wear his safety belt.
With the number of injured and the extent of the victims’ injuries, Watchung police told reporters that they had turned the accident case over to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office for review. In these kinds of cases, there is a possibility that more charges could be pressed against the defendant, in addition to those already mentioned. News articles suggested that any added charges might come following results of a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) test conducted on the driver following the wreck.
Man Was Drunk When Car Flipped On I-78, Cops Say; Patch.com, September 14, 2012