Compounding any traffic offense with an injury accident is never a good situation. As a former municipal prosecutor, and now a professional drunk driving defense attorney, I understand the desire by police officers and our court system to punish motorists convicted of DWI or drug DUI. When an automobile collision is also involved, the stakes increase by a like amount.
As New Jersey drunken driving defense lawyers, my colleagues and I are ready and willing to assist those individuals accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs; even illicit substances like cocaine, meth and marijuana. We do know that our job will be complicated when a DWI-related car, truck or motorcycle wreck also involves a serious injury or death. My law firm has represented many clients who have been hit with an impaired driving charge in addition to possible vehicular assault.
Here in the Garden State, local and state police take a very dim view of motorists who even have the slightest appearance of intoxication. The same goes for the courts. New Jersey DWI law provides for stiff penalties for those convicted of intoxicated driving. One of the numerous penalties is the loss of driving privileges for a period of time. Considering the value that most people place on their mobility and personal independence vis-à-vis their automobile, license suspension can be a serious hardship.
A recent news article caught our attention when we read of a Morganville, NJ, man who reportedly died following an accident in the Freehold area, which also led to the injury of a married couple in another vehicle. According to the news articles, 40-year-old Daniel Velba was driving on a suspended license from a previous DWI conviction at the time of the fatal wreck.
Police reports indicated that the late evening collision occurred at the intersection of routes 9 and 79 when Velba allegedly ran a red light and struck a 2007 Chrysler passenger vehicle carrying two Middletown residents in their 50s. Based on news reports, the 50-year-old John Johnson, Jr., 52-year-old Colleen Coppa were transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. Velba, on the other hand, died as a result of the crash.
According to state motor vehicle records obtained by reporters, Velba’s driver’s license had what was described as an “indefinite suspension.” The deceased motorist’s driver’s license apparently had been suspended four times since the mid-’90s. Furthermore, there were 14 active points on the man’s license at the time of his death. In all, Mr. Velba reportedly had received 19 violations and more than 40 license suspensions over his lifetime.
Marlboro Man Had Suspended License Before Fatal Crash in Freehold, Patch.com, September 26, 2013