Following any arrest associated with driving under the influence, it is never a bad idea to contact a qualified legal professional to understand your particular case and to better know your rights under the law. Particularly if one is charged with DWI, drug DUI, impaired driving of any kind, breath test refusal, and any other related moving violations, it would be wise to retain an experienced drunken driving defense lawyer.
We mention this because there is a percentage of the driving population that never calls an attorney after receiving a summons for driving while intoxicated. Why? It’s hard to say, since every person’s situation is different. But what one must ask themselves in such instances is, “Would I be better off without legal representation when facing serious charges of DWI or DUI?”
Frankly, if a motorist who is slapped with a DWI charge chooses not to retain counsel, there is a rather high likelihood that he or she might find themselves on the receiving end of a guilty verdict from a local or county court. Few people realize that it is not uncommon for a driver accused of DWI to still be convicted of drunken driving even though his blood-alcohol content (BAC) was recorded at below the legal limit (0.08 percent). The ace-in-the-hole for the state can often be what lawyers refer to as observed intoxication.
Combined with a BAC reading that indicates some amount of alcohol consumption, a prosecutor will often hold up the results of field sobriety testing, such as failure to pass one or more of the standardized tests set forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as evidence of impairment. For a motorist going it alone in a courtroom, the observed intoxication witnessed by a police officer can be difficult to defend oneself against.
This is, of course, just one example of the many pitfalls of defending oneself against a serious charge of driving while impaired by alcohol, prescription medications, or even illicit or illegal drugs. If the potential of having a conviction for DWI or DUI on one’s record is not sufficient motivation, consider the hundreds and even thousands of dollars that a convicted DWI offender will likely be expected to pay in fines, court fees and statutory assessments over the course of several years.
And drunk driving arrests happen in the oddest of circumstances. For example, just recently an out-of-state motorist was arrested and charged with numerous offenses, including DWI, after her car struck a wall in the Sparta, NJ, area. According to news reports, a local resident in the Lake Mohawk part of the township called police to report an early morning car accident on their property.
The incident, which happened around 1am on a Friday morning, involved a VW Jetta that had smashed into a stone retaining wall; the driver subsequently drove away from the scene of the collision. Based on police information, not long after the call, a patrolman happened upon the suspect’s vehicle. Pulling the car over to conduct a traffic stop, the officer noted that the 36-year-old female driver sitting in the driver’s seat wearing only an unzipped leather jacket. Besides being almost completely naked, the woman apparently was not concerned that the outside temperature was near freezing.
Seeing fresh sheetmetal damage on the woman’s car, the officer conducted a brief interview and then reportedly determined that the driver was under the influence of alcohol. The patrolman’s report indicated that the driver’s speech was badly slurred and unintelligible for the most part. She reportedly could not remember that she had struck the wall earlier that morning.
Having reportedly failed several field sobriety tests, the motorist was placed under arrest and then taken to Sparta Twp. police headquarters for processing and a breathalyzer test. However, according to news reports, the woman refused the breath test and also began to argue with the officers at the station. She was eventually charged with DWI and breath test refusal, as well as leaving the scene of an accident and failure to report an accident. News reports indicate that she was also slapped with careless driving and a seat belt violation, among others.
Nearly naked woman charged with DWI in northern NJ, APP.com, January 22, 2013