It’s easy to become incensed about a traffic ticket, especially for an individual who has never before been face to face with a municipal patrolman or a state trooper; authority figures who essentially tell a that person that he was, plain and simple, in the wrong. But imagine not only being told you were wrong, but that you were being arrested for your mistake as the officer saw it. It’s not hard to see that many an otherwise law-abiding citizen might lose his cool under such circumstances.
As New Jersey DWI defense lawyers, my firm is well versed in the laws of this state as they apply to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of beer, wine, hard liquor, and even prescription medications or illicit drugs. With more than 100 years of collective litigation experience, I and my colleagues take our jobs very seriously when it comes to representing the interests of clients who have been accused of drunken driving, breath test refusal, CDS possession in a vehicle, drug DUI and other DWI-DUI cases.
While many of our clients are first-time offenders, there is no lack of people who find themselves in similar situations each and every day. Alcohol and drug-related traffic arrests are made by police constantly all across the Garden State. We are asked quite often by potential clients if an officer needs a warrant to make a drunk driving arrest. The short answer is actually, No.
Based on the laws of New Jersey, the police have the right to arrest an individual for DWI absent a warrant, but only if the officer has “probable cause” to believe that the defendant has been operating in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(a) or N.J.S.A. 39:3-10.13. The number of arrests made on this basis are quite numerous, and the following collection of examples culled from Union County police blotters illustrates the variety of DWI- and DUI-related cases that hit our courts every month.
Fanwood Police Officers Charge Three Motorists with Drunken Driving
A 38-year-old Scotch Plains man was apparently involved in a single-vehicle accident along a stretch of LaGrande Ave. shortly after 10pm on a Tuesday evening. Officers arriving on the scene after the collision found the driver exhibiting signs of intoxication and also detected the odor of alcohol on the driver’s breath. According to reports, the man was arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. He was taken into custody, processed and later released to a responsible adult.
A couple days later, a 26-year-old Somerset County, NJ, resident was pulled over along a stretch of Midway Ave. around 1:30am for what was apparently a routine traffic violation. During the traffic stop, the officer in charge reportedly detected the odor of alcohol coming from within the man’s vehicle. The patrolman asked the driver to exit the vehicle and perform several field sobriety tests, which he reportedly failed. The man was arrested, taken into custody and charged with DWI, as well as obstruction. He was later released pending a court appearance.
A few days later, a 34-year-old Plainfield driver was also stopped by police along Midway Ave. near Tillotson Rd. a little before 3am on a Sunday morning. While interviewing the driver, the officer in charge smelled the strong odor of alcohol and then asked the motorist to get out of the vehicle and perform several of the standardized field sobriety tests, which he reportedly failed to successfully complete. He was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated.
Garwood Police Arrest Middlesex County Driver on DWI Charges
According to news reports, Garwood police officers stopped a Ford Mustang that was being driven in a careless manner on South Ave. around 2am on a Thursday morning. The 28-year-old driver was taken into custody and charged with DWI, as well as driving without a valid license. Breathalyzer results indicated that the suspect had a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.14 percent. The man was processed and later released pending a court hearing.
Edison, NJ, Driver arrested for Driving Drunk
Based on police reports, a 53-year-old man from Middlesex County was pushing his disabled vehicle along a stretch of South Ave. when police officers came upon the scene. After a brief investigation, the patrolmen arrested the driver who reportedly appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. At police headquarters, the man was processed and charged with DWI, breath test refusal, and a number of other motor vehicle-related violations.
Fanwood Police report DWI charges filed against three drivers, NJ.com, May 11, 2013
New Brunswick man faces DWI charge in Garwood, NJ.com, May 22, 2013
Garwood Police charge Edison man with disabled vehicle with DWI, NJ.com, May 09, 2013