While police in Cape May, Ocean, Atlantic and Monmouth counties are all rather busy with drunken driving activity during the warmer months, it is a certainty that all during the year New Jersey State Police, municipal patrolmen and other law enforcement officials are kept active with DWI and drug DUI arrests no matter what the season. And it goes without saying, as the New Year holiday approaches, that instances of drinking and driving tend to become more frequent thanks to family gatherings, office parties and overall holiday celebrations.
As Garden State drunk driving defense lawyers, my colleagues and I receive our share requests for no-obligation consultations from motorists who have been accused of impaired driving. While there is no single scenario that illustrates a typical drunken driving arrest, if the police are following proper procedures it generally begins with a legitimate traffic stop for a driving offense or vehicle violation.
If there was no legitimate reason for the initial police stop, then there may be grounds for a dismissal of the subsequent DWI-DUI charges. Most people who are stopped by police and then arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol are well advised to seek the advice of a skilled attorney with expertise in the area of drunken driving law.
For those individuals who believe that they have been falsely accused of drunken driving, or that the officer in charge overstepped his authority during the arrest, bringing in an experienced defense lawyer is usually a good first step. Considering the costly results of a drunk driving conviction, we recommend that most individuals take the time to learn more about their rights under the laws of New Jersey.
Many DWI arrests follow similar patterns. Skimming the various news outlets for police arrests, one can find a variety of traffic-related news items that may illustrate the often typical pattern of drunk driving-related traffic offenses. Not too long ago, several individuals were taken into custody in Ocean County for alcohol and drug-related offenses.
Based on police reports, two of the arrests happened within hours of each other in Jackson Twp. A 48-year-old male driver and an 18-year-old female motorist, both local residents, were stopped following separate traffic incidents. The first took place a short time before 7pm on a Wednesday evening when police observed a Honda Accord parked with the engine running in a local parking lot. Upon investigation officers saw an open container of beer in the vehicle’s front seat cup holder. The bottle was apparently one of a six-pack also seen inside the man’s car.
According to the news article, the motorist allegedly admitted to officers that he had consumed some alcohol prior to driving to the parking area; the patrolmen also stated that they observed signs of impairment on the part of the driver. The man was eventually taken into custody and charged with DWI, reckless driving, and having an open alcoholic container in a motor vehicle, as well as consuming same.
In the second incident, a Ford SUV was found overturned along a stretch of Bennetts Mills Road a little after 2:30 in the morning. The female driver was reportedly able to get out of the vehicle, which police believed was involved in a single-vehicle crash. Finding the driver nearby, police detected the smell of alcohol on the driver’s person.
Suspecting intoxication, the officers requested the driver to complete several of the standardized field sobriety tests at the scene of the accident and subsequently arrested the woman on charges of underage DWI. Other offenses also added to the drunken driving charge were failure to maintain lane, reckless driving, and underage alcohol consumption.
A third incident took place in the township about a week later when a 23-year-old man was arrested for DWI after patrolmen found him allegedly passed out in his vehicle and holding a sandwich in his hands. Police reports indicated that the late night arrest took place at a 7-Eleven located along Bennetts Mills Road. A concerned citizen, had reportedly noticed the man in his front seat of a late model BMW, called police to report the incident after being unable to rouse the driver by rapping on the window glass.
As police officers were preparing to administer CPR, the drive awoke. The patrolmen believed the man had taken a quantity of suboxon and oxycodone and requested the suspect to perform a field sobriety test, after which the driver was taken into custody. Further investigation revealed a number of wax paper packets containing what police believed was heroin.
The individual was charged with DWI, being under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), operating a motor vehicle while in possession of a CDS, careless driving, plus possession of heroin. He was eventually released pending a hearing.
Steve Tolvaj, 23, Manahawkin charged with DWI after passing out in his car holding a sandwich in Jackson; APP.com; December 25, 2013
Two arrested in Jackson on DWI charges, APP.com, December 19, 2013