2018 – Municipal Court: Police were alerted via a 911 call of a pickup truck parked in the middle of a roadway obstructing traffic, with the driver unconscious in the front seat. When officers approached the vehicle they found Client in the car. He indicated that he ran out of gas and was unable to move the vehicle. He was not very responsive and seemed very confused. Upon questioning, he told the officer that he had not taken anything today, but did take a Xanax the evening before. The officer asked the Client to take a series of Standard Field Sobriety tests. which he was unable to successfully complete. A search of his vehicle found drugs. He was taken back to the Police Station where he was examined by a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE), who concluded that Client was under the influence of CNS depressants. A urine test was done to confirm these findings. Client was charged with 39:3-96 Reckless Driving, a 5 point ticket; 39:4-49.1 CDS in a Motor Vehicle, which carries a mandatory 2 year loss of driving privileges; 39:4-67 Obstructing Traffic; 39:4-50 Driving Under the Influence, which carries a 7-12 month loss of driving privileges, 12 hours in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, and approximately $800.00 in fines and penalties. Client was also charged criminally with 2C:35-10(c) and 2C:35-10(b), disorderly persons offenses with jail time up to 6 months in the county jail and fines up to $1000.00 on each count.
Result: The urine test came back positive for stimulants, not depressants which called into question the credibility of the DRE officer. We put forward the defense that since the officers found CDS in the motor vehicle, they were unable to determine if the operation of the vehicle occurred prior to or after the ingestion of the drugs. Due to the age of the case, which mostly stemmed from waiting for laboratory reports, the Judge would not allow the State a continuance for trial. Based on the State not being ready to proceed and the issues with the DRE report, client pled guilty to 39:4-67 Obstructing Traffic, with fines and penalties of $89.00. The remaining motor vehicle summons, including the 39:4-50, DWI and 39:4-49.1 CDS in a Motor Vehicle were dismissed. The criminal charges of 2C:35-10(c) was dismissed and 2C:35-10(b) was amended to a local ordinance of disturbing the peace with a fines and penalties totaling $514.00.
2018 – Municipal Court: Client was observed by Officer failing to maintain her lane of travel and multiple instances of crossing over the line or almost striking other vehicles. The client was stopped and administered Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST), including the Walk and Turn test and One-Legged Stand. Client was unable to successfully complete these tests. Once at the station breath samples were taken and the Alcotest showed a Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) of .15%. Client was charged with 39:4-50, DWI, which would be her second offense. The penalties for a second offense DWI are a two year loss of driving privileges, a mandatory interlock device for a minimum of the term of the suspension and one year afterwards, and 48 hours in the Intoxicated Driver’s Resource Center (IDRC). She was also charged with 39:4-97 Careless Driving, a 2 point ticket; 39:4-96 Reckless Driving, a 5 point ticket; and 39:4-88(b) Failure to Maintain Lane, a 2 point ticket.
Results: The discovery was sent to our expert, who was able to produce a report which showed that there several issues with the State’s case including issues with the instructions for the SFST, as well as issues with the operation of the Alcotest machine. Further, the expert was able to show that the tolerance of the machine would actually bring the reading below a .015% BAC down to a .14% BAC. The attorney obtained records from the prior DWI and found that the previous machine was calibrated by Trooper Dennis of the NJ State Police who was under investigation for falsifying calibration records. Based on these issues, we were able to arrange a plea to a First Offense DWI with the amended reading of .14% BAC (under .15% did not require the installation of an interlock device). Client had her driving privileges suspended for 7 months and had to complete 48 hours in the IDRC. Fines and penalties totaled approximately $800.00.
2018 – Municipal Court: Client was pulled over after an officer observed him going through a red light at a high rate of speed. Client then delayed pulling over after the Officer had activated his overhead lights. Client admitted to the Officer that he had a couple of drinks. The Officer began to give Client the Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) but halfway through the first test the Client ended it and told the Officer to just arrest him. He was taken to the police station and given the Alcotest which resulted in a reading of .10% BAC. Client was charged with 39:4-96 Reckless Driving, a 5 point ticket; 39:4-81 Failure to Observe a Traffic Control Device, a 2 point ticket; and 39:4-50, DWI. Since the reading was .10% BAC or higher, Client was facing a 7 month loss of driving privileges, 12 hours in the IDRC, an ignition interlock for the period of the suspension and up to one year afterwards, and fines and penalties of approximately $800.00.
Result: The Officers must observe a defendant uninterrupted for 20 minutes prior to the Alcotest being given in order to make sure that the person does not burp, vomit, or place anything in their mouth as this can affect the accuracy of an Alcotest 7110. The attorney was able to demonstrate that the Officer did not properly observe the Client for the requisite period and the State conceded that the reading could not be admitted into evidence. Client pled guilty to 39:4-50, with no reading based upon his admissions and the Officer’s observations of him. He received a 3 month suspension of his driving privileges, approximately $639.00 in fines and penalties, and 12 hours in the IDRC. The remaining tickets were dismissed.
2018 – Municipal Court: Client was at a traffic light and realized that she had begun to go straight when she needed to turn right. She began backing up and struck another vehicle behind her. The police came to the and smelled alcohol on the client. She was administered the Standard Field Sobriety Tests which she failed and was placed under arrest. Client was given a breath test and had a BAC reading of 0.16% (twice the legal limit). She was charged with 39:4-96 Reckless Driving, a 5 point ticket; 39:4-127 Improper Backing or Turning in Street, a 2 point ticket; and 39:4-50 Driving While Intoxicated. Client was facing a 7 to 12 month license suspension, 12 hours in the IDRC, $600-$800.00 in fines, and a mandatory interlock device for the period of the license suspension and up to one (1) year afterwards (as the reading was .15% or able.
Result: Our expert reviewed the computer data downloads from the Alcotest machine and discovered that the machine was not operating properly. The Alcotest is supposed to have an automatic lockout which will not let a test occur unless 2 minutes have gone by since the last test. Here, there was only 1 minute between the first control test of the machine and the first breath test. Based on this, as well as concerns about whether the officer had sufficient time between arriving at the station and the first breath test to conduct a 20 minute observation, the State conceded that the reading had to be excluded. The client pled guilty to 39:4-50 Driving While Intoxicated with no reading based upon her failure to the Field Sobriety Tests. She received a 3 month loss of her driving privileges, 12 hours in the IDRC, and $639.00 in fines and court fees. There was no interlock requirement imposed. The remainder of the tickets were dismissed.
2018 – Municipal Court: Client was involved in a single car motor vehicle accident where he lost control of his vehicle in ice and snow and went into a snow bank. He told us that struck his head on the steering wheel and this was confirmed by a review of the police car video which showed that he was bleeding from his face during the Standard Field Sobriety Tests which he understandably did poorly on. He arrested and taken to the police station for an Alcotest which could not be administered there because the machine was broken. He was then transported to another town where he had a reading of .20% BAC, almost 3 times the legal limit. Client was facing 7-12 months loss of driving privileges as well as a mandatory interlock device for the period of the license suspension and up to one (1) year afterwards on the charge of 39:4-50 Driving while Intoxicated. Client had a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), so he was facing a one year suspension of his CDL for a DWI conviction which would have resulted in the loss of his job as a truck driver. Client was also charged with 39:4-97 Careless Driving.
Result: The attorney argued that due to the head injury that Client suffered during the accident, as well as the fact that the Standard Field Sobriety Tests were done on a hill, not a flat surface as required, the State could not prove the DWI case based upon the observations of the officer. The attorney also obtained an expert report finding issues with the administration of the Alcotest and the proper operation of the machine. Based upon this, the DWI was dismissed. However, the Client’s driving did rise to the level of Careless Driving, which the Client pled guilty to. The fine was $289.00 and the Client was sentenced to a 90 day loss of his driving privileges. Because there was no DWI conviction, there was no additional suspension of his CDL and he was able to keep his job.
2018 – Municipal Court: Client was observed by an Officer going 29 mph in a 55mph zone and swerving and crossing over the solid line on multiple occasions. After initiating the stop, the Officer approached the vehicle and noticed an open container of alcohol laying, partially concealed on the back seat of the motor vehicle and smelled alcohol on Client’s breath. The Client was asked to do a series of field sobriety tests, including a walk and turn test and a one-legged stand, during which the client stumbled, used his arms for balance, and failed to comply with the instructions given. The Client was placed under arrest for driving while intoxicated. Client was given a breath test, and had a reading of .19% BAC (well over twice the legal limit). Client was issued summons for 39:4-50, Driving while Intoxicated; 39:4-96 Reckless Driving, a five point ticket; 39:4-88b Failure to Maintain Lane, a two point ticket; and 39:4-51B Open Container of Alcohol. As the Alcotest reading was over a .15% BAC, so the client was facing 12 hours in the IDRC, $600-$800.00 in fines, 7-12 months loss of driving privileges as well as a mandatory interlock device for the period of the license suspension and up to one (1) year afterwards.
Result: The attorney was able to establish that the Officer failed to properly observe the Client uninterrupted for 20 minutes prior to the Alcotest being given. The State conceded that that it could not successfully admit the reading into evidence. Client pled guilty to 39:4-50, with no reading. He received a 3 month suspension of his driving privileges, approximately $639.00 in fines and penalties, and 12 hours in the IDRC. The remaining tickets were dismissed.
2018 – Municipal Court: Client was involved in a one car accident when he backed up into a brick wall in a bar parking lot. Client then pulled back into the parking spot after two witnesses began to yell at him. The Client went back into the bar he had exited from. A witness called the police to the scene and they located the Client back in the bar, approximately fifteen minutes after the initial call. The Officers were picked up on their body cams noting that they could not be sure if the client had consumed alcohol after he re-entered the bar. When asked about the wall, the Client admitted to the Officers that he tapped it, but it did not do any damage to his vehicle or the wall. Client was arrested when taken to the station had an Alcotest reading of .17%. He was charged with 39:4-50 Driving while Intoxicated, and was facing seven to twelve months loss of license, 12 hours in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, $600.00 to $800.00 in fines, and a mandatory interlock device for up to one year after the restoration of his driving privileges, and 39:4-50(g)(1) DWI in a School Zone which doubles all fines and penalties resulting in a 14 to 24 month loss of license. He was also charged with 39:4-129 Leaving the Scene of an Accident, a 1 year loss of license; 39:4-130, Failure to Report an Accident; 39:4-97 Careless Driving, a two point ticket; and 39:4-96 Reckless Driving a five point ticket.
Result: The Attorney argued that the State could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Client was intoxicated at the time 15 minutes before the police arrived when he had driven the automobile. It was entirely possible that he had consumed alcohol when he re-entered the bar. Attorney further contended that the State could not prove he had knowingly left the scene of an accident as there was no presumption of that fact as the damage amount was under the $500 legal threshold. Based on this, a plea agreement was reached where the Client pled guilty to 39:4-96 Reckless Driving and lost his driving privileges for 90 days. Fines and penalties totaled $209.00. The balance of the tickets, including the DWI and DWI in a School Zone were dismissed.
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