With hundreds of drivers pulled over by police every week all across the Garden State — for all manner of traffic and vehicle infractions — it is not unexpected that a certain percentage of these police stops will result in arrests for any number of more serious offenses. Drunken driving, CDS possession, impaired vehicle operation due to drug use, and underage drinking and driving are just a few of the common reasons why a fair number of New Jersey motorists find themselves served with summonses for traffic-related offenses.
How many of these individuals actually avoid a guilty verdict and, by doing so, side-step the potentially expensive fines, fees and statutory assessments? That often depends on the strength of the evidence, but the number would surprise many people. Certainly, the first step is to consult a qualified drunk driving defense attorney to learn what options are available to the particular motorist accused of such an offense. As New Jersey DWI-DUI defense lawyers, my colleagues and I are experienced in providing an aggressive defense for many people arrested for drunk or impaired vehicle operation.
When looking to understand the typical kinds of police traffic stops, it is instructive to look at police blotter reports in local newspapers and online media sources. The law of averages suggests that the average DWI offense involves some of the most simple and seemingly innocuous driving infractions as a starting point for a roadside traffic stop. But even the most basic of traffic offenses can eventually develop into a full-blown drunk driving arrest.
As drunk driving attorneys, my legal team understands that not every motorist accused of DWI or drug DUI is found guilty in municipal court. The evidence provided by police has a great deal to do with the outcome, as is the courtroom skill of the lawyer who defends the accused. Since the news is rife with articles detailing the misfortune of many a driver, here are a few incidents gleaned from the arrest blotters of police departments in Bergen and Morris counties.
Park Ridge, NJ, Police take Drunken Speeder into Custody
Police arrested a 36-year-old driver after the man was stopped for excessive speed along a stretch of westbound Fremont Ave. early on a Sunday morning. The officer in charge reportedly clocked a sport utility vehicle at 53mph, which was apparently in excess of the posted limit. The driver reportedly slowed as his SUV approached the officer’s patrol car. The officer stated that the suspect’s vehicle then stopped and turned onto Third St., then pulled up into a nearby driveway.
Having followed the driver, the officer pulled behind the vehicle as the patrolman observed the driver get out and reportedly staggered for a few feet and then fell against the side of his truck. The police report indicated that the motorist had a difficult time standing in place, as he allegedly swayed back and forth, according to the news article. The officer requested the man’s documents, but the suspect could not produce his driver’s license and his insurance certificate was reportedly expired.
After what appears to have been a failed field sobriety test, the patrolman arrested the man and took him into custody. He was charged with DWI, reckless driving and speeding, in addition to several other offenses. He was eventually released to a responsible adult pending a court date.
Pequannock Patrolmen Charge Local Man with DWI after Crash
A local township man was arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol following a reported traffic accident on Jacksonville Rd. in Morris County. The incident took place around 8:45pm on a Saturday in late January. According to news reports, a car had left the roadway and drove into a nearby ditch.
Based on the police report, the patrolman on duty interviewed the two occupants of the vehicle, both of whom were apparently uninjured. During the investigation, it was determined that there were obvious signs of impairment on the driver’s part. The Pompton Plains man was taken into custody by police and later charged with reckless driving as well as DWI. He was ultimately released pending hearing in municipal court.
In another incident, a Friday morning police stop for non-use of a seatbelt turned into a case of DWI. According to police reports, and officer on routine patrol along a stretch of Rte 23 allegedly observed what he believed to be a front-seat occupant of a vehicle who was supposedly not wearing a safety belt. In the course of the investigation, the 49-year-old passenger reportedly gave the officer a false name. In addition, the patrolman found a glass pipe and other drug paraphernalia in the man’s possession.
Finally, late on a Friday afternoon, a police officer was doing random license plate checks along Rte 23 near Alexander Ave. In the course of his routine, the patrolman discovered that one vehicle reportedly had an expired registration. After further checking, the policeman determined that the owner of the vehicle had a suspended license. Having effected a vehicle stop, the patrolman noticed several bottles of prescription pain medication in the vehicle as he was interviewing the driver.
According to the news report, the officer made additional inquiries and found out that the medication did not belong to the driver, but to another individual. Conducting a search of the 21-year-old driver’s person, the officer discovered a marijuana pipe. Ultimately the driver was arrested and charged with illegal possession of prescription legend drugs, driving on a suspended license and CDS possession in a motor vehicle. The man was later released pending a court appearance at a later date.