2015 DWI and DUI Results

2015 – Municipal Court: Client was a dredge operator from Florida found by officer asleep in his vehicle in a parking lot with the keys in the ignition and the vehicle running. The officer knocked on the window repeatedly before client awoke. He admitted to drinking several beers and pulled over because he felt he had too much to drink to continue driving. Client failed field sobriety testing and was placed under arrest. In the police car he was sweating, pale, and complaining of chest pain. The officer called an ambulance as client became unresponsive. At the hospital client regained consciousness, but was not able to understand what was going on around him. The officer attempted to get consent for a blood draw multiple times, but, client refused. Client was charged with 39:4-50 Driving While Intoxicated, 39:4-50.2 Refusal to Submit to Testing, and 39:4-96 Reckless Driving and was facing a 3 month license suspension on the DWI and 7 months to one year on the Refusal.

Result: Attorney obtained a not guilty finding on the DWI arguing that client was experiencing a cardiac episode and was therefore not capable of performing field sobriety testing. Attorney obtained a not guilty finding on the Refusal arguing both that the statute only required submitting to breath testing, not blood testing, and in any event client was not capable of clearly understanding the officer’s request because of his medical condition. Client pled guilty to Reckless Driving and received a 60 day suspension of his driving privileges.

2015 – Municipal Court: Client was driving and hit the curb trying to pull into a convenience store parking lot. An Officer responded to the scene and found Client hunched over the steering wheel with glazed, unfocused eyes. Upon smelling alcohol, the Officer asked the Client to step out of the vehicle and Standard Field Sobriety Tests were given. During the one-legged stand the Client was unable to keep his balance causing the Officer to have to hold him up. Client was then given the walk and turn test which he was unable to complete. The Client was taken to the station and given an Alcotest and he blew a 0.19% BAC. Client was charged with 39:4-50 Driving Under the Influence and 39:4-96 Reckless Driving. Client was facing a 7-12 month suspension of his driving privileges, a mandatory interlock device, and 48 hours in the Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center (IDRC).

Result: Attorney obtained an expert report which called into question whether a twenty minute observation of the Client had taken place since there was no mentions of it in the Officer’s report. Based upon this report, the reading was not admitted into evidence and the client pled guilty to a lower tier DWI, and was sentenced to a 3 month suspension of driving privileges, 12 hours IDRC, and approximately $800.00 in fines and fees. The Reckless Driving was dismissed.

2015 – Municipal Court: Client was pulled over for following too closely to the vehicle in front of her. When the Officer asked for her license, she stated she did not have one and gave a false name. She eventually admitted she gave a false name due to pending criminal charges and her license being suspended. The Officer had smelled alcohol during the initial stop and gave her a series of Standard Field Sobriety Tests which she failed. When taken back to the station and given an Alcotest she had a reading of 0.06%, under the legal limit. Client was given citations for 39:4-50 Driving While Intoxicated; 39:4-97 Careless Driving; 39:4-96 Reckless Driving; 39:3-40 Driving While Suspended; 39:4-88b Failure to Maintain Lane; and 39:4-89 Following too Closely. Client was also given a criminal charge of 2C:29-3b(4) Hindering Apprehension and was facing a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in jail. The client was facing license suspensions on the Driving While Suspended and DWI of up to 9 months and 14 points worth of tickets.

Result: Attorney was able to work out a plea where the client pled guilty to Careless Driving, a 2 point ticket, and 39:3-10(a) Failure to Exhibit Documents. The criminal charge of Hindering Apprehension was amended down to a non-criminal municipal ordinance. The DWI and Reckless Driving were dismissed. Client paid approximately $1,100.00 in fines and court fees and had no suspension of her driving privileges.

2015 – Federal Court: Client was entering a military base and parked in the visitor parking lot before exiting his vehicle and attempting to enter the base. The military personnel on gate duty saw him drive up and exit his vehicle. He was asked to perform Standard Field Sobriety Tests, which he as unable to successfully complete. He was transported to the State Police Headquarters where he was given an Alcotest and produced a reading of 0.16% BAC. Client was charged with 39:4-50 Driving While Intoxicated and facing up to a one year loss of driving privileges, mandatory interlock device, and 48 hours in the Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center.

Result: Attorney was able to work out a plea arrangement where client pled guilty to 39:4-50 with a BAC of .14%. which prevented the mandatory interlock ignition device being required. Client was placed on one year non-custodial probation and had his driving privileges suspended for 7 months coinciding with an 8 month deployment. Client had approximately $330.00 in fines and court fees.

2015 – Municipal Court: Officer responded to a call about an erratic driver, and when he activated his overhead lights, client’s vehicle almost collided with his own. Client was given standard field sobriety tests and was unable to complete them. He was brought back to the station and given an Alcotest where he blew a 0.00% BAC. He was exhibiting signs of slurred speech and was struggling with balance and coordination. The Officer asked if he was willing to do a blood draw, and Client consented. The blood test was positive for heroin and cocaine. Client was charged with 39:4-50 Driving Under the Influence and facing 2 year suspension of his driving privileges for a 2nd Offense DWI.

Result: Attorney filed a motion to suppress the positive blood test based upon a failure of the officer to obtain a proper informed consent arguing that under a recent U.S. Supreme Court case the officer failed to advise the client he had a right to refuse a blood draw. Attorney was able to obtain a not guilty finding on the DWI and client pled guilty to Reckless Driving with a six month suspension of his Driving Privileges. Client paid approximately $240.00 in court fines and fees.

2015 – Municipal Court: Officer initiated the stop of Client’s vehicle after a witness flagged the Officer down and stated that he saw the client staggering to his car through a parking lot, barely able to stand and unable to walk straight. After the witness identified the vehicle that client entered, the officer immediately initiated the stop without observing any driving difficulties.

Client smelled of alcohol and was given a series of field sobriety tests. Client was arrested and given an Alcotest with a 0.08% BAC. He was charged with 39:4-50 Driving While Intoxicated, 39:4-96 Reckless Driving, and 39:4-97 Careless Driving.

Result: Attorney discovered that Client had several complicated medical issues which prevented him from being able to successfully complete the Standard Field Sobriety Tests. Medical documentation was provided to the Court. Attorney also obtained an expert report contending that the 20 minute observation period was not properly completed. Attorney obtained a dismissal of the DWI and Careless Driving and client pled guilty to Reckless Driving with a 90 day loss of driving privileges and $240.00 in court fines and fees.

2015 – Municipal Court: Officer responded to the scene of a single car motor vehicle accident. Client had hit a utility pole while driving. After refusing medical attention client admitted to the Officer that she had “a couple of drinks.” When asked to do the Standard Field Sobriety Tests, Client refused. Based on his observations, the Officer placed Client under arrest for Driving While Intoxicated and transported her back to the police station. When asked if she would submit breath samples, Client indicated a single time that she would not. She was issued summons for 39:4-50 Driving While Intoxicated, 39:4-50.2 Refusal to Consent to Breath Test, 39:4-96 Reckless Driving, and 39:4-88 Failure to Maintain Lane. Client was facing up to a one year suspension of driving privileges on the Refusal, three (3) months on the DWI, a mandatory interlock device, and seven (7) points in tickets.

Result: In order to be found guilty of a Refusal, the State must establish that the police officer read the appropriate warnings to the Defendant, and if the Defendant’s answer is ambiguous, a second warning must be read. In this case, the State was unable to produce the Attorney General’s Standard Statement for Motor Vehicle Operators which the Officer read to the Client according to his police report. Based on this missing information, Attorney was able to obtain a dismissal of the charge of 39:4-50.2 Refusal. Client pled guilty to 39:4-50 Driving While Intoxicated, with a 3 month loss of driving privileges, 12 hours IDRC, and approximately $680.00 in Court fines and fees. The charges for Reckless Driving and Failure to Maintain Lane were also dismissed.

2015 – Municipal Court: Officers were dispatched to a fast food parking lot with a report of a motor vehicle blocking the exit. When Officers arrived Client was in his vehicle with the vehicle running and in drive. There was collision damage to his vehicle. Officer approached and asked him to turn off the vehicle. Officer asked if Client had anything to drink and he stated “yes.”

When asked to perform field sobriety tests, following the Officer’s demonstration of the Walk and Turn test, Client attempted it and took one step forward and almost fell to the ground. At this time the Client stated he was no longer going to do the tests. The Officer, based on his observations and the odor of alcohol around client placed him under arrest for 39:4-50 Driving While Intoxicated. When Client arrived at the Police Station he informed Officers that he was “not going to blow.” He was charged with 39:4-50.2 Refusal, 39:4-130 Failure to Report an Accident, 39:4-129 Leaving the Scene of an Accident, 39:3-29 Failure to Exhibit Documents, and 39:4-97 Careless Driving.

Result: This should have been a third offense DWI with a penalty of 180 days in the County Jail, a 10 year loss of driving privileges each on both the DWI and Refusal, for a total suspension of 20 years. Attorney was able to get both the 39:4-50 Driving While Intoxicated and 39:4-50.4 Refusal, treated as second offenses with a two year loss of driving privileges. The basis for this is that while client did not deny the two prior offenses, one of them happened in New York and the Prosecutor was unable to produce either a Certified New York Driving History, or a Certified Judgement of Conviction, and so could not establish the validity of the New York prior DWI.

All other summons were dismissed. Client paid $1,453 in Court Fines and Fees, 26 months with an interlock device after driving privileges are restored, and 48 hours IDRC.