If we’ve mentioned it once, we’ve likely said many dozens of times: a driver only complicates matters involved with a drunken driving charge if there is a traffic accident associated with said DWI. Regardless of whether on lives in Passaic, Essex, Bergen or Ocean County, the police and the courts are hardly impressed by a motorist who was allegedly impaired by alcohol (DWI) or drugs (DUI) when he or she was involved in a car, truck or motorcycle wreck.
At the very least, and hopefully for all involved, there were no injuries or fatalities, but there is almost always some kind of property damage with any roadway collision, be it a single-vehicle crash or a multi-car accident. Adding drinking and driving to the litany of potential charges is just icing on the cake, so to speak, for the local prosecutor. Accidents can and do happen, but if the police find evidence of alcohol or drug use by the motorist allegedly responsible for the wreck, a DWI-DUI defense can get a bit more complicated.
Despite admonitions from various parties and safety experts, people continue to get behind the wheel in some state of intoxication. Whether one is legally drunk at the time of a traffic stop or following an automobile accident likely will make a difference in the final outcome of a drunken driving case, but having any amount of alcohol or drugs in one’s bloodstream following a traffic incident can be enough for police to issue a DWI or drug DUI summons.
Sadly, every week, dozens of Garden State residents are arrested for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or prescription medications. A percentage of these individuals are typically involved in some kind of drunk driving-related traffic crash; many of which entail injuries of one kind or another, and some that include fatalities.
In some of these accident situations, a driver will likely find himself being admitted to a hospital, either for treatment or observation. If police suspect that the driver was drunk or otherwise impaired, a blood test may be requested to determine the driver’s blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) at that particular time. Under non-accident situations, motorists who are suspected of driving drunk may be taken into custody and asked to provide a breath sample.
As New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, I and my legal staff have a great deal of experience in the operation and maintenance procedures for the various types of breath-testing devices, including the widely-used Alcotest machine. Any good drunken driving defense lawyer understands that the type of BAC-measuring instrument can have a significant bearing on the strategy employed by the defense.
Of course, as alluded to previously, this can all be affected by the circumstances surrounding a DWI or DUI arrest, not the least of which is an alcohol- or drug-related traffic collision. A short time ago Toms River Township police arrested a woman following an accident near a gas station in the vicinity of New Hampshire and Silverton in Ocean County. According to news reports, the accident occurred on a Wednesday afternoon after the subject allegedly left the station without paying for fuel.
Based on police reports, the 48-year-old suspect left the Exxon gas station along Rte 37 and was observed by other witnesses as driving her vehicle in what police described as an erratic manner. Not long after, officers came across the woman’s Hyundai involved in a non-injury roadway accident on Rte 9. The driver was apparently charged with driving under the influence following what news reports described as a bizarre chain of events.
Police: Woman charged with DWI after crash, leaving TR gas station without paying; APP.com; January 10, 2013