Looking at the news from day to day, it’s never too difficult to see that a certain percentage of drunken driving arrests are the result of some kind of traffic accident. Whether a collision takes place between two passenger cars, a single vehicle whose driver loses control and leaves the roadway, or a commercial truck that hits a smaller car, minivan or SUV, the police officers that respond to these incidents take their time to determine the cause of the crash.
As New Jersey DWI defense lawyers, my firm understands that mistakes happen and drivers are sometimes blamed for their role in a roadway accident. The fact that a driver may have consumed even a small quantity of alcohol prior to being involved in a crash — even if the collision was not necessarily the fault of that person — will likely crop up during the on-scene investigation, and later perhaps in court.
The situation is somewhat similar to being pulled over for a traffic violation and subsequently being taken into custody by police on the grounds that the driver is suspected of driving under the influence. While a person may be over the legal limit for DWI — that is with a blood-alcohol content reading of 0.08 percent or more — the recognition of that condition usually arises following a police stop for a lesser offense, such as making an improper turn, having a cracked windshield or a burned out taillight.
This is little comfort to those individuals who do, in fact, find themselves riding to police headquarters in the back of a squad car. We often recommend that friends and family avoid drinking any amount of alcohol if they intend to operate a motor vehicle on Garden State roadways anytime soon. Considering the nature of anti-drunken driving enforcement, combined with the monetary penalties associated with a potential conviction, the risk of taking even one drink before getting behind the wheel can be greater than most people would feel comfortable with.
As our firm’s legal team already knows, being cited for DWI following a minor traffic infraction is one thing, but being arrested for drunken driving following a roadway accident is another thing altogether. Especially if the actions of that individual are also found to be the primary cause of the wreck, it would be best to contact a qualified DWI-DUI attorney who knows the law and has worked in the field for some time.
We were reminded of this after running across a couple news stories about two New Jersey motorists from the Toms River area who were each involved in traffic accidents. In one case, a 24-year-old man was charged with driving while intoxicated after police responded to a vehicle crash along a stretch of Stevens Rd. in Manchester, NJ. The other article detailed a DWI-related injury accident involving a motorcycle on College Dr in Ocean County.
According to reports, the Manchester crash occurred early on a Saturday morning when for some reason a 2013 Jeep heading west on Stevens Rd. apparently left the roadway and struck a nearby mailbox. The mailbox was mounted in what must have been a very sturdy brick pillar, which reportedly caused the vehicle to overturn when it hit the object at around 2am that morning. According to police reports, the driver and his 23-year-old passenger were taken to the local community medical center for treatment of their injuries. The driver was eventually charged by police with reckless driving on top of the DWI offense.
In the second incident, news reports described a serious crash that caused a 39-year-old motorcyclist to be thrown more than 150 feet when his Kawasaki motorcycle ran off the road around 10pm on a Monday evening. The victim, a Lakewood, NJ, resident, reportedly hit a Nissan passenger vehicle operated by a 20-year-old Toms River man. The rider was ejected from his bike and apparently sustained significant injuries. He was taken to Jersey shore Medical Center in Neptune where he was charged with DWI by police.
Motorcyclist Charged With DWI in College Drive Accident, Patch.com, October 16, 2013
Toms River Man Charged With DWI After Car Overturns, Patch.com, September 23, 2013