All kidding aside, there is nothing funny about being pulled over after consuming a few drinks with friends. While the time spent with friends back at the restaurant or bar may have been cheerful and relaxed, the encounter with a traffic cop for a possible moving violation will not be so lighthearted. As New Jersey DWI defense lawyers, I and my colleagues are well aware of the awkward and stressful position in which many motorists find themselves on the cusp of a drunk driving arrest.
And make no mistake, unless you are a teetotaler, there is always a chance that having a couple drinks before heading out on the road might set the stage for a difficult time ahead, Every year at this time, with the weather breaking and summer looming, many New Jersey motorists find themselves being stopped for a minor traffic infraction only to end up being escorted to police headquarters for a breath test and possible charges of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
It makes little difference to a state trooper or municipal patrolman that you may be an upstanding person in your profession, a good neighbor, or a pleasant individual, the odds of being arrested and charged with DWI or drug DUI can and does happen to many drivers every day of the year. And as quite a few people already know, the results of a conviction for DWI, breath test refusal, DUI or other alcohol-related offenses can be costly, as well as embarrassing.
For those who have never been charged with DWI there are many aspects of such an encounter that can be surprising for first-time offenders. As New Jersey drunk driving defense lawyers, my legal team understands the fear and trepidation that goes hand-in-hand with a first-time DWI or drug DUI arrest. But one thing is certain: the typical order of events usually starts with a simple mistake by the defendant. Making a wrong turn, traveling too fast, rolling through a stop sign; these are all unexpected openings for a law enforcement official to use as justification for a traffic stop.
The following selection of alcohol- and drug-related arrest reports provide a glimpse into the various ways that commonplace police stops turn can lead to full-blown drunken driving charges. It is important to remember that any number of these individuals may have been accused of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of beer, wine or hard liquor, though the evidence against them may or may not be sufficient to secure a conviction.
Union County Police Officers Charge Several with DWI
Over the course of a three-day period, patrolmen from the Summit, NJ, police department caught a handful of drivers who allegedly had been impaired while operating their car or truck. In the first instance, a 21-year-old man from the Bayonne area was stopped by a policeman and eventually hit with a drunk driving charge, as well as another for having an open container of alcohol. Later that same day, another man was stopped along a stretch of Rte 124 near Hobart Ave for what was likely a minor traffic offense. According to the news item, the 42-year-old driver from the Short Hills area was arrested and taken into custody and later charged with drunken driving.
Two days later, another driver was arrested in the local area for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Based on the news article, the traffic stop occurred in the early morning hours on a Friday when a 37-year-old local resident was pulled over for what might have been a simple moving violation. The incident occurred on Woodland Ave. and resulted in charges for the driver of driving under the influence and operating a vehicle while on a suspended license.
In an unrelated incident, officers from the Fanwood, NJ, police department reportedly came upon a car sitting in a travel lane of LaGrande Ave. with its stop lamps on and the 44-year-old driver apparently slumped over the steering wheel at just before 2am on a Thursday. After waking the motorist, the man attempted to drive the vehicle away from the scene. Police found the vehicle not long afterward near the intersection of Algonquin Dr. and South Ave. Officer reportedly detected the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage allegedly emanating from the vehicle’s interior. Officers arrested the driver and charged him with DWI.
Finally, over in Cranford, a 27-year-old man from North Arlington was stopped by police for what was described as erratic driving around 2:30am on a Saturday morning. According to news reports, the patrolmen observed the driver of a ’95 Mercury could not seem to maintain his lane, after which they carried out a traffic stop. The driver was arrested and eventually charged with DWI and having an open container of alcohol in his vehicle. He was taken into custody, processed and subsequently released pending a court hearing.
Summit Police report DWI and other motor vehicle charges, NJ.com, March 30, 2013
Garwood driver charged with DWI in Fanwood, NJ.com, March 25, 2013
DWI charge follows stop in Cranford, NJ.com, March 24, 2013