Possible Serious Consequences for New Jersey Driver Charged in Fatal DWI Accident in Somerset County

Drunken driving is already a serious offense in and of itself here in the Garden State, but there are worse things that can happen beyond being stopped by a police officer for a minor traffic violation and then being arrested for driving a car while under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs. Consider a fatal alcohol- or drug-related traffic accident.

As New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, I and my colleagues know how easily it can be for a motorist to be swept up in a DWI or drug DUI offense out there on our highways or surface streets. Not only can it be embarrassing to be arrested, much less convicted, but the potential harm that such an event can have on a person’s private life and business career can sometimes be irreparable.

Being stopped while legally intoxicated by beer, wine or liquor is just the beginning of a process that can lead to stiff fines, court costs, fees, and assessments to one’s auto insurance premiums; all because of a momentary indiscretion. As professionals in the area of DWI and drug-DUI defense, we understand what is at stake for the average person, and we are prepared to help.

One thing we would never invite on any person is to have a drunken driving arrest be associated with a traffic fatality. Be it a stranger or someone close to the alleged drunk driver, a death caused in any way by drinking and driving can only serve to complicate a DWI defense. Sad to say, these types of incidents occur with alarming frequency these days.

Take, for instance, the news report we came across a short time ago. According to that article, a charge of driving while intoxicated had been added to the list of offenses being pressed against a Warren Twp. woman who was involved in a fatal car crash back in mid-January. Based on police reports, 44-year-old Lori Weiss had already been hit with a charge of vehicular homicide following a fatal two-vehicle collision on Martinsville Rd. in Somerset County, NJ.

Apparently, the defendant was behind the wheel of a late model Mercedes Benz SUV during the evening of January 16 when the vehicle she was driving left the northbound lane and crossed over the centerline, colliding head-on with a Honda sedan coming the other way. Police reports indicated that 49-year-old the Honda driver was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver’s 25-year-old daughter sitting in the passenger seat survived and was taken Morristown Memorial Hospital for treatment of serious injuries sustained in the wreck.

Officers arriving on the scene had stated that they detected an odor of alcohol on Ms. Weiss’ breath prior to the woman being taken to the emergency room for treatment of minor injuries. According to news reports, Weiss subsequently turned herself in to the police, after which the court allowed her to go free on $50,000 bail pending trial.

Initially charged with charged with vehicular homicide (second-degree vehicular homicide and third-degree assault by auto), the defendant was most recently charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, reckless driving, violating New Jersey’s open container law, as well as failure to stay right. This latest charges stemmed from results of an undisclosed blood-alcohol measurement taken after the accident.

At the time of the news article, the police investigation was still continuing and the township police department was asking any witnesses to come forward and share their observations of the deadly crash.

DWI charge added in fatal Bernards Township crash, NewJerseyHills.com, January 18, 2013

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