Be Prepared When New Jersey's Drinking-and-Driving Laws Impact Your Holiday Season
The holidays are officially here again! Unfortunately, so are familiar challenges for New Jersey motorists including crowded highways, distracted drivers, DUI/DWI arrests and, on some roads, DUI/DWI sobriety checkpoints. Supporters of tough DUI/DWI laws point to the statistics. According to the New Jersey Attorney General, “[i]n 2012, there were 164 alcohol-impaired fatalities in New Jersey, which accounted for 28% of the state's motor vehicle-related deaths.” Thanksgiving Eve through the Super Bowl in February constitutes one of the busier periods of the year for DUI/DWI arrests due to the high number of celebrations and increased vigilance from the authorities. Of course, the best advice is to stay safe and not drive drunk! The New Jersey State Police provides some good tips:
- Prepare before you drive. Map your route; fill your tank; check your tire pressure, lights and wiper blades. These simple steps may save you more than time on the highways.
- Insist that all vehicle occupants use seatbelts.
- Don't drive drowsy. The symptoms of driving tired are similar to those of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Make sure you get enough rest.
- Steer clear of “road ragers.” Challenging an aggressive driver for a position is a dangerous way to get to your destination a few seconds sooner.
- Use a designated driver. If alcohol figures into your Thanksgiving plans, plan to have one driver stay sober.
Uber or a similar service is becoming a popular choice. Evesham, New Jersey has actually partnered with select restaurants and bars in the Burlington County town to provide free rides for visiting patrons. Still, for when the worst happens, we've broken-down the DUI/DWI checkpoint issue here at our New Jersey legal blog. Bottom line: while police are always bound to abide by certain procedures mandated by both statute or the U.S Constitution, beginning with Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz, both federal and state courts have affirmed that “probable cause” (which could ordinarily be anything from speeding to a broken tail light) is NOT an initial requirement of a lawful sobriety roadblock. To make matters worse for motorists, the New Jersey Supreme Court recently issued a ruling that will make it easier for police to conduct a warrentless search of your car. So then what??? First and foremost, the sobriety checkpoint cannot be random; the date, location, and time of DUI/DWI checkpoints must be published in advance. Regardless of whether your DUI/DWI arrest occurred as part of a regular roadside stop or at a checkpoint, the first step in mounting a successful DUI/DWI defense always involves examining the constitutionality of the initial stop itself. After you retain DeMichele & DeMichele, our attorneys always begin the representation by meticulously evaluating the circumstances surrounding your DUI/DWI stop to ascertain whether the police had cause to pull you over in the first place or, in the case of a DUI/DWI sobriety checkpoint, whether the post-stop procedures and mandated tests were properly executed.
Next, we analyze the state's case and produced discovery, point-by-point, to protect your rights, check for mistakes, and hold the state to its proofs. Sometimes we even retain a DUI/DWI expert to evaluate the police's actions in the immediate aftermath of your DUI/DWI stop. Yes! As you can see, we take DWI/DUI defense very seriously at DeMichele & DeMichele because the potential penalties for our clients are very serious. Convictions can carry severe consequences including fines, license suspension, and the obvious secondary impact on your employment and lifestyle. Not being able to drive to work, or to pick up your kids for parenting time, can be financially and emotionally devastating. The good news is that we're here to help. Before you plead guilty to a DWI in New Jersey and lose your driving privilege, pay a substantial fine, pay surcharges, pay increased automobile insurance premiums and possibly go to jail, contact the DWI defense lawyers at DeMichele & DeMichele. Our lawyers have worked as municipal court prosecutors and public defenders in several South Jersey towns. A confidential free consultation with an experienced DWI attorney is just a call (856) 546-1350 or click away. ____