As in many parts of the Garden State, police patrols in Somerset County, NJ, are always active on city streets, undivided highways and high-speed interstates. Whether one travels to and from work or school, going shopping or simply taking a driving vacation to the Jersey Shore for some needed R & R, the odds of coming into contact with a New Jersey State Police trooper or a local patrolman are usually quite high. As DWI defense lawyers, my colleagues and I have met dozens of average people who never thought they would ever be charged with a serious traffic offense, much less be arrested for drinking and driving.
Yet, every week, scores of Jersey residents and out-of-state drivers get pulled over for some minor infraction, opening themselves up to additional scrutiny from a law enforcement officer. A percentage of these individuals will be unlucky enough to have had something to drink in the hours prior to that traffic stop. Unfortunately, many of them will be taken into custody and charged with some kind of impaired driving offense. More and more, this group includes individuals who may be carrying some kind of illicit drug on their person, which can complicate matters when the time comes for court appearance.
Still others find themselves involved in a roadway collision. It’s no secret that drinking and driving only increases the chances of a motorist being involved in a single- or multiple-car accident. If alcohol or drugs were involved, the ante is raised sufficiently to make speaking with a qualified DWI-DUI defense attorney not only a good idea, but almost a necessity. Being experienced trial lawyers, we understand that accidents do happen. And while we do not condone drinking and driving, we also know that some people accused of DWI-related collisions may not have been legally drunk at the time of the wreck.
We are reminded of the trouble in which some motorists can find themselves when we scan the headlines in local newspapers and online publications. A news article from last month comes to mind regarding the serious nature of some alcohol-related auto accidents. According to reports, a local woman was charged by police with vehicular assault following a three-vehicle wreck along a stretch of Mount Airy Rd. in Bernards, NJ, on a Thursday evening.
According to police, officer arrived on the scene after a 911 caller reported the injury-related car crash that night. Officers responding to the accident found one of the drivers, a 46-year-old Somerset resident, stumbling out of her vehicle. Police stated that the driver had watery, bloodshot eyes and smelled of alcohol. The patrolmen reported that the woman was outwardly combative, having refused a request by the officers to perform a standardized field sobriety test.
Based on news articles, at the time of the crash the woman had a 15-year-old minor riding with her in the vehicle. As a result, in her car at the time of the crash, police arrested the woman and took her into custody. She was subsequently charged with DWI, child endangerment and assault by automobile. At the time of the news article, the driver was being held I lieu of $75,000 bail in the Somerset County Jail.
Just three weeks earlier, Raritan Twp. police made two drunken driving arrests. In one instance, a 57-year-old man from Hackettstown was charged with DWI early on a Sunday morning after police reportedly spotted a driver allegedly having trouble maintaining his lane along a portion of Rte 202-31. The man was stopped and arrested for drunk driving, as well as reckless and careless vehicle operation. In another case, a teenage girl was stopped for speeding along a stretch of Sergeantsville Rd near S. Autumn Leaf Dr. Based on police reports, the 17-year-old was accused of underage DWI and possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), as well as having drug paraphernalia in her possession. The teen was cited for speeding, reckless driving and violation of her probationary license.
Report: Bernards woman charged with assault by auto after DWI crash with minor in vehicle; NJ.com; February 9, 2014
Raritan Township police report two arrests on drunken-driving charges, NJ.com, January 19, 2014 at 10:54 AM, updated January 19, 2014