With years of experience representing New Jersey motorists who have been accused of driving under the influence of beer, wine, hard liquor or drugs, our law firm is committed to seeing that those accused of an offense get their day in court. While some drivers are found guilty of DWI or drug DUI, others may be found not guilty or have their cases thrown out due to insufficient evidence or improper police procedures.
There is no “typical” drunk driving arrest, though many follow the general pattern that begins with a traffic stop for what could be termed an insignificant infraction. After the arrest and formal charges, it is up to the person charged with driving while intoxicated to choose whether or not he wants to walk into a courtroom with counsel.
Determining if a drunken driving arrest was made properly hinges many times on the totality of facts, which a layperson may not be able to easily assess in the time between being charged and the hearing date. As experienced DWI defense lawyers, we often recommend that anyone facing such circumstances take advantage of the often free consultation offered by professional DWI attorneys.
If we assume that a particular DWI-DUI arrest was based on a valid traffic stop, the next step is to analyze how the arrest itself was conducted and if there were any mistakes on the patrolman’s part in the collection of incriminating evidence, such as being able to view an open alcoholic beverage container, drug paraphernalia, or other physical signs of potential impaired vehicle operation.
One thing that many drivers find out during the process of a DWI arrest is that police officers are often not very sympathetic to the subject’s situation, even if the ultimate conclusion is that the motorist was not legally drunk. Whether this attitude is colored by the thousands of traffic deaths attributed to drivers who blatantly consume alcohol or use drugs before getting behind the wheel, or if there is something else driving the police, it is always advisable to reserve any “fight” for the courtroom.
Having a clear head is not usually something that an impaired person has in spades at the time of a DWI arrest, so advising individuals to keep calm and collected during a traffic stop and later at police headquarters might be on a par with wishful thinking. Nevertheless, it is possible to find oneself on the wrong side of the law, both in terms of the DWI arrest as well as any actions following the formal charges.
It is generally understood that police officers enforce social order through the legitimized use of force. In legal terms, the use of force pertains to the effort required by a patrolman to “compel” compliance by an unwilling subject. Of course, in many circles the amount of force required can often be a very subjective thing. For many law enforcement situations, the escalation of force can begin with basic verbal and physical restraint followed by less-then-lethal force and ultimately the application of lethal force in extreme situations.
Whether a drunk driving subject deserves any level of force to obtain compliance is up to a judge or jury to decide, should the subject files formal charges of excessive force; but one thing is certain, turning a DWI arrest into a potentially life-threatening struggle with the police is in nobody’s best interest. As we said, it is best to save one’s energy to fight the charges in a court of law.
We were reminded of this type of situation when we came across a news article last June, which described a New Jersey motorist who allegedly crashed his car into a tree while intoxicated in New York. According to the news article, Smithfield police were called to the scene of a traffic accident along a stretch of Rte 44 near the corner of Crestview Dr. a little before 9pm on a spring evening. Once there, officers discovered a 21-year-old Middlesex County man had apparently lost control of his vehicle, left the roadway and struck a tree.
Noting the driver’s bloodshot eyes and slurred his speech, police requested the man to perform a series of sobriety tests. Having reportedly failed those, the driver was taken into custody on suspicion of DWI. Back at the local police headquarters, during a breath test (which later showed the man’s blood-alcohol content to be 0.15 percent), the driver allegedly got up from his seat, walked to a nearby sink and tore the fixture off the wall.
As a result of the event, officers reportedly subdued the man by shooting him with a taser, after which he had to be taken to a nearby hospital to have the taser barbs removed from his body. Whether the tasering was necessary would have to be a question for the man’s lawyer, but the incident is instructive to those who might feel the urge to demonstrate their disappointment when under similar circumstances.
Smithfield Police Taser Man Arrested for DUI, Ripping Sink off Station Wall; Patch.com; June 20, 2013