Glove Box Defense – What is it and When to Use it

A sometimes useful defense for DWI and DUIs is known as the “glove box” defense. The glove box defense comes into play when the motor vehicle is pulled over on the side of the road or parked somewhere. It also helps if drugs, alcohol, or empty bottles or packaging are found in or around the vehicle. One of the key elements that the State has to prove to convict a person of a DWI or DUI is that they were intoxicated or under the influence of drugs at the time they operated the motor vehicle or that they then had an intention to operate the vehicle. The glove box defense is saying “Yes, I may have been under the influence, but, it is plausible that I drove to the location you found me perfectly sober and drank the alcohol or taken the drugs while I was sitting here, and I was just going to take a nap. I did not have any intention of operating a motor vehicle at this time.”

This defense could also apply when the police do not arrive on the scene until after you have arrived home or gone into a bar or restaurant that serves alcohol. The basis for the defense is that the State cannot prove when in relation to the operation of the vehicle the alcohol or drugs were consumed.

Recently, we were successful with this defense in a DUI case. The defendant was found by the police asleep in his vehicle partially blocking a roadway.  He was asleep in his vehicle when the police officer approached. During the interaction the officer noticed a white powdery substance on the defendant’s clothing, as well as crushed up pills in the vehicle next to him. The defendant’s laboratory work came back positive for both cocaine and prescription medication.

We were able to successfully argue that the State could not prove that the defendant was under the influence of drugs at the time he operated the vehicle. It was our contention that it was completely plausible that the drugs were not consumed until after the defendant had pulled over and the fact that he was asleep showed that he had no intention of operating his vehicle. We successfully obtained the dismissal of the DUI charge. The defendant pled guilty to 39:4-67 Obstructing the Flow of Traffic, a no point motor vehicle ticket with no suspension of his driving privileges.

If you are charged with a DWI/DUI or refusal in New Jersey, contact the attorneys at theWolf Law today for a free consultation at 732-741-4448.