Courts We Serve
Middlesex County DWI Defense Lawyer
|Understanding DWI Traffic Stops||Driving Under the Influence of Drugs|
|Challenging Breath & Blood Tests||DWI/DUI Penalties|
|Field Sobriety Tests||Frequently Asked Questions|
What You Need To Do To Avoid A DWI Conviction
DWI is one of the few areas of law where plea bargaining is strictly prohibited. What this means is that neither the prosecutor nor judge in Edison, Piscataway, East Brunswick or another municipality in Middlesex County can dismiss a driving while intoxicated charge unless there is a genuine legal that prevents the state from proving the offense.
If you want to avoid mandatory penalties that include a driver’s license suspension and thousands in surcharges, you will have to mount a meritorious defense. Training and experience in DWI defense is your best weapon for success since there is no way to avoid a conviction other than to convince the court that the prosecutor’s case is defective.
The DWI attorneys at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have unparalleled credentials with former prosecutors in over 20 towns and three who are dual certified on the Alcotest and as Instructors in Field Sobriety Testing. Contact us anytime for a free consultation.
Understanding DWI Traffic Stops
Police must have a reasonable suspicion that a traffic violation has been committed before they can stop a vehicle. There must be an observation of speeding, failure to maintain lane or another failure to adhere to the motor vehicle law in order for order for a stop and ensuing DWI charge to stand. Equipment violations like a broken headlamp, non-operating lights or even tinted windows can also provide a basis for a stop. The advent of police scanners has created further opportunities for police in recent years (e.g. scanner indicates a suspended license, registration, etc.).
There are two exceptions where the a traffic stop can be made despite the lack of basis to believe a violation is being committed. The first exception is roadblocks which allow police to randomly stop motorist. The second exception is the community caretaker doctrine which authorizes stopping a car or truck if they can show that they possessed a reasonable belief that help or assistance is needed. A motorist driving excessively below the speed limit is the classic example of a basis for a community caretaker stop. Click here for more information regarding DWI traffic stops.
Challenging Breath & Blood Tests
The primary method for proving intoxication in a DWI case is through scientific evidence that establishes a blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) of .08% or higher at the time of operation. The tools used in this manner are a breath test or blood test.
Currently, law enforcement utilizes a breathalyzer manufactured by Draeger Safety which is known as the Alcotest 7110 Evidential. Approximately 50 lawyers in this state are trained like the police in operation of this unit and five of them are employed at our firm. We know the ins and outs of proper protocol and this allows us to preclude admissibility of breath test readings in a higher percentage of cases than you would anticipate. For example, police must make a constant and uninterrupted observation of a subject before taking a reading to make sure the mouth cavity has not been contaminated by a finger, foreign object or even a burp.
We also find blood test results ripe for suppression in many instances. The rules for chain of custody and what needs to be provided by the state police laboratory are very strict. Failure to adhere to these requirements allows for motions to exclude the related BAC report. You can trust that our DWI attorneys will take advantage of these shortcomings. You may refer to our breath test page for additional information on this subject.
Field Sobriety Tests
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) has adopted standardized field sobriety tests (“SFST”) for evaluating a motorist for intoxication. There are guidelines for administration and scoring of these tests which must be adhered to in order for the tests to be valid. The four SFST are the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk and turn test, the one leg stand test and the ABC’s.
The New Jersey State Police have also adopted these tests for DWI detection, including the guidelines for proper instruction, administration and scoring of clues. The problem is that most local police have no more than a few hours of training in field testing and this leads to deviations from what is acceptable under the NHTSA standards. The far more extensive training of our lawyers allow these errors to be identified and for potent cross-examination if a matter proceeds to trial.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
The incident of driving under the influence of drugs like marijuana, cocaine and prescription pain medication seems to grow. If you were charged with a drug DWI in Woodbridge, New Brunswick, Old Bridge or elsewhere in the state, the police need more than just a blood test to prove you guilty. There must have been an examination of the accused at the police station by a Drug Recognition Expert (“DRE”) since presence of drugs/CDS in your blood alone does not establish impairment. A DRE is a police officer who has undergone in excess of a year of specialized training to recognize impairment and the category of drug involved. This evaluation is administered in twelve steps that must be conducted at the time of arrest.
Since impairment from drugs is more difficult to determine as reflected in the amount of training required to become a DRE, a charge for driving under the influence of drugs is susceptible to attack. The attorneys at our firm are well schooled in the most effective approaches to successfully dismantle the opinion of a DRE. Read more about Drug DWI.
N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 sets forth the mandatory penalties that must be imposed upon conviction for driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. This statute mandates that you be fined, have your driver’s license suspended, pay surcharges, and even go to jail. The table that follows sets forth the penalties that apply if this is your first offense, second offense or third offense.
Up to 30
Up to 30
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I Required to Submit to a Breath Test?
Yes. New Jersey Law provides that you impliedly consent to submit to a breath test when you are granted the privilege of driving. If you refuse to provide a breath sample after being reasonably requested to do so by the police, you face a mandatory suspension of your license and other penalties that mirror those for DWI.
Can I Obtain A Work License or Conditional License If I Am Convicted?
No. Although individuals who consult our DWI lawyers are frequently in shock to learn, there is no ability to secure a work license or provision for you to drive legally in the event you are convicted. New Jersey is one of a small group of states that do not allow for restricted licenses. You cannot drive under any circumstance without risking jail if you plead guilty or are found guilty of drinking and driving.
What Is The Difference Between DWI & DUI?
There is no real difference between these terms in New Jersey. Both describe the motor vehicle violation contained in N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 which is captioned “Driving while intoxicated.”
How Do You Expunge A Conviction For DWI/DUI?
No. There is no ability to expunge a record for DWI since this violation is not criminal in New Jersey. There is nevertheless a 10 year step-down which allows you to avoid an escalation in penalties after 10 years have elapsed.
Highly Trained & Experienced DWI Attorneys Are Ready To Defense You
DWI can be one of the most confusing areas of law when it comes to selection of attorneys. Those charged with driving while intoxicated or operating under the influence of drugs often jump to the conclusion that the best lawyer is going to be the guy located closest to the court. This is about as far from reality as you can get since there is no plea bargaining in 39:4-50 cases. Your objective needs to be finding the most highly trained and experienced representative you can identify. This is the advocate that will provide the greatest opportunity to avoid a conviction. This is why you should consider contacting our office in East Brunswick or another location for a free consultation. We are available immediately to assist you.