When Can the Police Search Your Vehicle after a Traffic Stop?

Understanding Your Constitutional Rights

Police Search Your Vehicle

A law enforcement officer has pulled you over while driving, asked a few questions and then requested that you get out of the car, so that a search can be conducted. Can you refuse? Does the officer need a warrant? What are your rights and what should you do?

Your 4th Amendment Rights

Pursuant to the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, citizens have the right to be free from unreasonable searches or seizures. To be reasonable, a search must be based either on probable cause or on a warrant, which also requires a showing of probable cause. The fact that you were pulled over for speeding, reckless driving or some other moving violation is not, in and of itself, probable cause sufficient to justify a search of your vehicle.

The officer may, however, find probable cause based on the circumstances:

  • If there is evidence of illegal conduct in plain view—drug paraphernalia, open containers of alcohol, or stolen merchandise, that may be enough to justify a search.
  • If you engage in other behavior that indicates illegal activity, or that you may be hiding something—If you are slurring your word, your breath smells of alcohol, you keep looking at a certain part of the vehicle or refuse to look the officer in the eye, it may indicate that you are either under the influence or you’re hiding something

Furthermore, if the officer actually arrests you (issuing you a traffic citation does not constitute an arrest), the officer may conduct a limited search to obtain evidence to support the arrest or to protect his or her safety.

Contact Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich

To schedule an appointment with an experienced New Jersey DUI defense attorney, contact my office online or call me at 732-257-1137. There is no cost or obligation for your first meeting. Evening and weekend consultations are available by appointment. I accept all major credit cards.

The 60-Day “Rule” and Common Misconceptions About It

Cup of whiskey and the keys to a car

In New Jersey, there is something called the 60-day rule for New Jersey DWI cases. Many years ago, the New Jersey administrative office of the courts issued an administrative order requiring municipal courts to conclude DWI cases within 60 days from the date the ticket was filed in the court. Does this mean that you can have your case dismissed if it is not concluded within 60 days of you getting a ticket? In reality, probably not.

Since this order was issued, the Courts have determined that 60 days is not a realistic time period within which to resolve a DWI charge. Understandably, the notion of a 60-day rule can lead to many misconceptions about how your case can be dismissed if the court doesn’t resolve it in that time period. All things considered, the 60-day “rule” is more like a guideline.

Notably, the New Jersey Supreme Court discussed the unrealistic time limitation the 60 days rule sets for DWI cases. The Court explained that when DWI cases are appropriately handled, there are many technical defenses that sometimes require the case to take 90 or more days to resolve. This is why it is important to consult an experienced DUI/DWI attorney when facing a charge of driving under the influence. An experienced attorney will know how long the discovery process (getting all of the information and evidence) will likely take, take the time to appropriately build a solid defense, and ensure the best possible result for you – which is likely to take more than 60 days. If the government does take longer than the law permits, a good lawyer will know and may even be able to have your case thrown out completely.

How a Case Proceeds Through Municipal Court

To get a better understanding of how the 60-day rule actually works, its important to understand how a drunk driving case typically moves through municipal court. Once a defense attorney or public defender receives a case, the discovery period begins. Discovery is the process under which the evidence in the case is provided for the defense. This will include the police reports, video evidence, breath tests and other vital information that will help determine the driver’s fate. When an attorney makes a request for discovery, it is possible that all of the items requested will not be provided. This may require a defense attorney to file a motion to compel the prosecution to provide the requested evidence, thus delaying the case. If the court agrees with the motion and gives a date by which the discovery must be handed over, and that date passes, the defense can request a dismissal of the case.

If everything is provided and nothing is preventing the case from moving forward, it is then that rules regarding timing come into play. A defendant is entitled to a “speedy trial” and if a case is moving slowly without any good reason, this too can be grounds for a defense lawyer to request a dismissal of the case, but this is on a case-by-case basis, and will require a greater lapse of time. While some courts do try to stick to the 60-day guideline, this can often come at the expense of proper litigation and can negatively affect the case. The defense may not have adequate time to investigate the case, talk with any witnesses, analyze all of the evidence, speak with experts, etc.

However, if there is an unreasonable delay of your case without good cause and 60 days have passed, then a knowledgeable attorney will be able to work to compel the court to get the case moving. That is why it is imperative to speak with an experienced and savvy DWI/DUI defense attorney when faced with charges for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, especially if you feel nothing has been happening with your case for quite some time.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Defend You if You Are Charged with Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Intoxicated

If you or someone you know is charged with driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, it is extremely important to contact an experienced DUI/DWI attorney who can explain your rights to you and vigorously defend you. If you go to court, an experienced lawyer can also make sure you get the best result possible or may even be able to have the charges against you dismissed entirely. A great attorney can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI/DUI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today.

We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

New Legislation Making It Illegal to Fly a Drone While Intoxicated

Pilot running drone at sunset

Here on the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog, we have discussed such topics as intoxicated driving, drunk driving, and drunk operation as it applies to cars, trucks, boats, trains, motorcycles, bicycles, construction vehicles, and heavy machinery. Considering all the laws in New Jersey against operation while intoxicated, it will probably come as no surprise that a new law will be adding drones to the list.

With new technological advances occurring every day, new and more complicated laws usually will follow. One popular technological advance requiring regulation has been the invention of the drone – remote controlled flying devices that range in value from $15 to the tens of thousands of dollars. Drones are becoming more and more a part of our everyday lives, both in personal and professional usage. Drones often include expensive high definition camera and video capabilities, but can be used for other purposes, too. Amazon, for example, along with many other companies, has invested huge sums of money in an effort to make drone delivery a reality. Likewise, hundreds of thousands of children recently unwrapped drones at Christmas that will soon be flying around.

While the law is pretty firm when it comes to drunk driving, and the consequences clear, the consequences of operating a drone drunk had previously been unclear, until now. New Jersey State legislators approved a bill that would make it illegal to fly a drone under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The Bill is not yet law, and will require approval by the Governor.

New Bill Recently Passed by New Jersey Legislature

In an effort to begin regulating just what can and cannot be done with a drone, a measure was recently passed through the New Jersey legislature that makes it a disorderly person’s offense for someone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more to operate a drone – the same as per se intoxication for driving a car. You can also be penalized for flying a drone while intoxicated on prescription or illegal drugs.

A conviction would carry a sentence of up to six months in prison or a $1,000 or both – varying from the penalties for drunk driving or drunk boating, which are more serious with significant fines, jail time, loss of driving privileges, and more. There are also similar penalties for the use of drones to illegally aid in hunting. Finally, the legislation also prohibits the flying of drones near correctional facilities.

This measure marks the first statewide bill addressing drone usage in New Jersey. However, the National Conference of State Legislatures reports at least 38 states are considering new such laws, including many in our area such as Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, and South Carolina. Already, nine states prohibit drones from operating near or over prisons, including Arizona, Louisiana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin, Essex said.

“Like any technology, drones have the ability to be used for good, but they also provide new opportunities for bad actors,” said Assemblywoman Annette Quijano of Elizabeth, New Jersey. She backed the bill punishing drunk drone flying in New Jersey.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Defend You If You are Charged with Operation While Intoxicated

If you or someone you know is charged with driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, whether in a car, boat, or other vehicle, it is extremely important to contact an experienced DUI/DWI attorney who can explain your rights to you and vigorously defend you. If you go to court, an experienced lawyer can also make sure you get the best result possible and can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI/DUI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

Federal Lawsuit Raises Questions about the Reliability of Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) in DUI cases

Police officer placing a female driver under arrest.

A recent federal lawsuit is shining a light on so called Drug Recognition Experts (DREs), and aiming to raise questions about whether or not DREs are truly able to identify signs of intoxication or if their tactics are fake science and no more effective in the field than guessing or bias.

Drug Recognition Experts (DREs)

As we have discussed previously in the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog, there is currently no technology that would allow a police officer to quickly determine whether or not a driver has been driving under the influence of many drugs. Unlike in the case of alcohol intoxication, there is no “breathalyzer” that can reliably test for blood alcohol level when it comes to many drugs and intoxication.

A DRE is a police officer who has special training in identifying if someone is under the influence of drugs, what kind of drugs they are on, and whether their ability to drive has been impaired or not – whether or not they are driving high. DREs are certified in tactics that are supposed to be especially designed to allow the officers to identify when someone is under the influence of drugs such as marijuana, for which intoxication tests do not currently exist.

There are seven (7) categories of drugs that a drug recognition expert is trained to detect — Central Nervous System Depressants, Inhalants, Dissociative Anesthetics, Cannabis, Central Nervous System Stimulants, Hallucinogens and Narcotic Analgesics. Notably, their evaluations are done through a visual assessment of the driver, known as the “12-step DRE protocol”.

The Story Behind the Federal Lawsuit

Katelyn Ebner, a 23-year-old Georgia resident was recently pulled over by a police officer named Tracy Carroll, who is a DRE. Ebner was originally pulled over for failing to maintain her lane of traffic, when Carroll decided that Ebner was under the influence of marijuana, based on his observations. Ebner was adamant that she did not smoke marijuana and offered to take a drug test to prove it. However, no such test exists. Moreover, since Carroll was a DRE, there was no need for a drug test because, to put it simply, he is considered the drug test. Ebner was then arrested, charged with DUI, taken to jail, and given a blood test.

The following conversation was recorded:

Katelyn Ebner: “Sir, I can promise you, I have never — please — I have never smoked marijuana.”
Officer Carroll: “Okay. Well, ma’am, you’re giving me indicators — several, several indicators — that you have, okay?”
Katelyn Ebner: “Okay, so when I do a drug test, I’ll be free to go, correct?”
Officer Carroll: “You’re going to jail, ma’am. Okay? I don’t have a magical drug test that I can give you right now.”

Ebner’s blood tests ultimately came back clean, and charges against her were eventually dropped.

Ebner is now one of three plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit who were all pulled over by Carroll for failing to maintain their lane of traffic and then all deemed to be under the influence of marijuana by Carroll. All of them were then immediately arrested and spent a night in jail. In every case, the DUI charges were eventually dropped after blood tests showed no trace of marijuana in the citizens’ blood.

Goals of the Lawsuit

The ACLU of Georgia, representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, claim that Officer Carroll used a “watered-down version” of the 12-step protocol utilized by DREs. They note that “Carroll’s pattern and practice of enforcing DUI-drug infractions…was to arrest an individual based on nothing more than a hunch[.]” Furthermore, they claim that the protocol itself is flawed based on discredited studies and because it irresponsibly entrusts police officers with performing what are essentially scientific and medical tests.

Importantly, the lawsuit also asserts that all the plaintiffs felt they had no choice but to submit to drug tests, especially after Carroll told them that state law required them to do so and that their driver’s licenses would be suspended if they refused, therefore their consent to the tests was not genuine. Additionally, since there was no warrant, the blood tests given to them violated the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. New Jersey law only requires a person to supply a breath test, which cannot test for any substance other than alcohol.

If the lawsuit is successful, it could call into question stops and arrests like this that are made across the country every day, and could result in new standards for when a police officer is permitted to arrest a driver based on the suspicion of driving while high. Until that time, however, there are still many ways to challenge an arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in New Jersey. If you or someone you know is ever arrested or charged with DUI or DWI, it is important to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. A good lawyer will be able to review the circumstances of your case and determine if the police officers acted appropriately, including whether he or she had probable cause to subject you to a drug test in the first place.

New Jersey DUI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Explain and Fight for Your Rights

Because defending against charges of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be very complicated, it is important to get an experienced DUI/DWI attorney in any situation where you or someone you know is charged. If you are charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in New Jersey, an experienced DWI/DUI attorney can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

International Travel Restrictions If You’ve Ever Been Convicted of Drunk Driving

Trip planning items.

Are you thinking of traveling somewhere out of the country this holiday season or at any time in the future? Unfortunately, you may need to change your plans if you or someone you expect to travel with has a past DUI or DWI conviction. In addition to the numerous other severe penalties imposed on someone who is found guilty of drunk driving, a driver who is convicted can also be denied entry into certain countries simply because they had a DUI or DWI at some point in the past.

Travel restrictions can be an extremely important consideration for certain individuals, such as those who need to travel for work. Unfortunately, not being able to enter certain countries because of a past conviction is just one more thing that can make life more difficult for any driver who is caught driving drunk. This is in addition to the other penalties that can occur, which we frequently discuss here on the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog, such as severe fines, jail time, and loss of driving privileges. For some individuals, these penalties can mean the difference between being able to go to work or not being able to care for family members and loved ones.

Because a DUI/DWI conviction can have such life-changing consequences, we always recommend that drivers exhibit extreme caution when drinking. If you are pulled-over or arrested for drunk driving, it is important that you consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Even if you have already plead guilty to DWI or have been convicted, it is still possible for a lawyer to help in certain situations and have that conviction overturned.

Crossing the Canadian Border with a Past DUI or DWI Conviction

For New Jersey residents looking to travel abroad, Canada is often one of the closest and easiest choices. However, many people do not know that Canada has extremely strict border policies regarding travel into the country by non-Canadian citizens who have had a DUI conviction at any time in the past. The Canadian government reserves the right to bar any person from entering the country if they have ever plead or been found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is because Canada considers driving while intoxicated to be a serious offense, similar to a felony, even though it is treated differently in New Jersey. The official policy is: “Americans with a DUI record must seek a waiver of exclusion from Canadian authorities before traveling to Canada, which requires several weeks or months to process.”

Although having a past DUI does not mean you will definitely be turned away when visiting our Northern neighbor, there is a good chance that you will be turned away if you have a recent conviction. The border officers have a lot of leeway in deciding when to allow individuals in and when to turn individuals away. Border officials may be more lenient if an individual’s conviction is more than 10 years old, although there is no guarantee that such an individual will be permitted entry.

Furthermore, it does not matter if a person is trying to enter Canada by car, boat, plane or train – or what they will be doing in the country. There are well-known stories of Americans being denied entry even when traveling to Canada by ferry on a sight-seeing daytrip.

Finally, Canada is able to easily determine when an individual has had a past conviction because Canada is the only country that shares complete information with the United States regarding criminal databases, meaning that Canadian border agents have complete access to all criminal records. For this reason, it is especially important to be honest and not lie when discussing any past convictions with Canadian border agents.

Other Countries Where a DWI Conviction Can Affect Travel

In addition to Canada, there are a number of other countries where past DWI convictions may bar entry. Generally, travel into countries that are part of the European Union will not be affected. However, travel to certain Asian countries – such as China, Malaysia, and Japan – and countries in the Middle East.

Because these policies are country specific and subject to change at any time, it is important for you to specifically research the policies governing your intended travel destination. In some cases, you may even want to contact an immigration official to find out more information.

What Can You Do About a Past DUI/ DWI Conviction

If you have been convicted of drunk driving in the past, and now feel you need to have that conviction cleared from your record, it is important that you contact a knowledgeable attorney immediately. A good attorney will be able to review all of the facts and circumstances surrounding your past DWI case. The DUI lawyer will then be able to inform you about your options. In certain circumstances, the attorney may be able to file an appeal or make a motion to overturn the past conviction.

If you are in a situation where a past conviction – no matter how old – is preventing you from traveling, working, or being eligible for a job, this can often be the only way to change how that conviction affects your ability to live your life.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help if You Have Been Arrested, Charged, or Convicted of Drunk Driving

If you have been convicted of drunk driving, you could face penalties that affect all aspects of your life. Some drivers deal with the penalties associated with DUI/DWI for the rest of their lives. For that reason, if you or someone you know has a DWI/DUI related issue or question, it is extremely important to contact an experienced DUI/DWI attorney immediately. A good drunk driving lawyer can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI/DUI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

National “DRIVE SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER” Holiday DUI Crackdown

Drunk Driver being pulled over by police cops

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a nation-wide campaign to combat intoxicated driving this holiday season.  The goal of the crackdown is to help police agencies throughout the country mobilize during the holiday season, as well as raise public awareness regarding the dangers of impaired driving through a combination of targeted media activities and high-visibility enforcement.  Because of the program, Federal funding will go towards helping police departments across the United States combat drunk driving.

The NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety has been an active participant in the program.  To that end, police departments across the state have been invited to support the initiative and apply for additional funding.  151 different departments received overtime enforcement grants that will allow them to receive around $5,500 in additional funding that can specifically be used between December 8, 2017 and January 1, 2018, just in time to catch any holiday inspired DUI or DWIs that occur every year due to holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve.  This means that you can expect even more DUI checkpoints and police officers looking for signs of inebriated driving in these areas during the 2017-2018 winter season.

Final List of Police Agencies Receiving Grants

The full list of Townships receiving additional overtime funding during the holidays are as follows:

County Police Department Grant Amount
Atlantic Atlantic Highlands PD $5,500.00
Atlantic Egg Harbor Twp PD $5,500.00
Atlantic Galloway PD $5,500.00
Atlantic Hamilton PD $5,500.00
Atlantic Hammonton PD $5,500.00
Atlantic Mullica PD $5,500.00
Atlantic Pleasantville PD $5,500.00
Bergen Bergenfield PD $5,500.00
Bergen Edgewater PD $5,500.00
Bergen Emerson PD $5,500.00
Bergen Fort Lee PD $5,500.00
Bergen Garfield PD $5,500.00
Bergen Hackensack PD $5,500.00
Bergen Hillsdale PD $5,500.00
Bergen Ho-Ho-Kus PD $5,500.00
Bergen Lyndhurst PD $5,500.00
Bergen Mahwah PD $5,500.00
Bergen Maywood PD $5,500.00
Bergen North Arlington PD $5,500.00
Bergen Oradell PD $5,500.00
Bergen Palisades Interstate Parkway PD $5,500.00
Bergen Paramus PD $5,500.00
Bergen Ridgefield Park PD $5,500.00
Bergen Ridgewood PD $5,500.00
Bergen River Vale PD $5,500.00
Bergen Saddle River PD $5,500.00
Bergen South Hackensack PD $5,500.00
Bergen Teaneck PD $5,500.00
Bergen Wyckoff PD $5,500.00
Burlington Burlington Twp PD $5,500.00
Burlington Cinnaminson PD $5,500.00
Burlington Evesham PD $5,500.00
Burlington Medford PD $5,500.00
Burlington New Hanover PD $5,500.00
Burlington Riverside PD $5,500.00
Burlington Westampton PD $5,500.00
Camden Barrington PD $5,500.00
Camden Brooklawn PD $5,500.00
Camden Cherry Hill PD $5,500.00
Camden Delaware River and Port Authority $5,500.00
Camden Gloucester Twp PD $5,500.00
Camden Haddon Heights PD $5,500.00
Camden Pine Hill PD $5,500.00
Cape May Lower PD $5,500.00
Cumberland Millville PD $5,500.00
Cumberland Vineland PD $5,500.00
Essex Belleville PD $5,500.00
Essex Bloomfield PD $5,500.00
Essex Essex County Sheriff $5,500.00
Essex Glen Ridge PD $5,500.00
Gloucester Clayton PD $1,100.00
Gloucester Deptford PD $6,820.00
Gloucester Glassboro PD $6,820.00
Gloucester Greenwich PD $1,100.00
Gloucester Harrison PD $1,980.00
Gloucester Logan PD $1,100.00
Gloucester Mantua PD $4,840.00
Gloucester Monroe PD $4,840.00
Gloucester Pitman PD $1,100.00
Gloucester Washington PD $6,820.00
Gloucester Westville PD $1,980.00
Gloucester Woodbury Heights PD $1,100.00
Gloucester Woodbury PD $6,820.00
Gloucester Woolwich PD $2,640.00
Hudson Guttenberg PD $5,500.00
Hudson Harrison PD $5,500.00
Hudson Hoboken PD $5,500.00
Hudson Hudson County Sheriff $5,500.00
Hudson North Bergen Twp PD $5,500.00
Hudson Secaucus PD $5,500.00
Hudson Union City PD $5,500.00
Hudson West New York PD $5,500.00
Hunterdon Clinton PD $4,400.00
Hunterdon Clinton Twp PD $5,500.00
Hunterdon Flemington PD $4,950.00
Mercer East Windsor PD $5,500.00
Mercer Ewing PD $5,500.00
Mercer Hamilton PD $5,500.00
Mercer Hightstown PD $5,500.00
Mercer Lawrence PD $5,500.00
Middlesex Carteret PD $5,500.00
Middlesex Dunellen PD $5,500.00
Middlesex East Brunswick PD $5,500.00
Middlesex Edison PD $5,500.00
Middlesex Monroe PD $5,500.00
Middlesex New Brunswick PD $5,500.00
Middlesex North Brunswick PD $5,500.00
Middlesex Old Bridge PD $5,500.00
Middlesex Piscataway PD $5,500.00
Middlesex Plainsboro PD $5,500.00
Middlesex South Brunswick PD $5,500.00
Middlesex South River PD $5,500.00
Middlesex Spotswood PD $5,500.00
Middlesex Woodbridge PD $5,500.00
Monmouth Allentown PD $5,500.00
Monmouth Deal PD $5,500.00
Monmouth Eatontown PD $5,500.00
Monmouth Holmdel PD $5,500.00
Monmouth Keansburg PD $5,500.00
Monmouth Keyport PD $5,500.00
Monmouth Middletown PD $5,500.00
Monmouth Monmouth County Sheriff $5,500.00
Monmouth Neptune PD $5,500.00
Monmouth Ocean PD $5,500.00
Monmouth Sea Bright PD $5,500.00
Monmouth Sea Girt PD $5,500.00
Monmouth Spring Lake Heights PD $5,500.00
Monmouth Union Beach PD $5,500.00
Morris Boonton PD $5,500.00
Morris Denville PD $5,500.00
Morris Florham Park PD $5,500.00
Morris Hanover PD $5,500.00
Morris Jefferson PD $5,500.00
Morris Morris County Park Police $5,500.00
Morris Morris Plains PD $5,500.00
Morris Morris Twp PD $5,500.00
Morris Mount Olive PD $5,500.00
Morris Randolph PD $5,500.00
Morris Rockaway PD $5,500.00
Ocean Barnegat PD $5,500.00
Ocean Bay Head PD $5,500.00
Ocean Jackson PD $5,500.00
Ocean Lakehurst PD $5,500.00
Ocean Manchester PD $5,500.00
Ocean Mantoloking PD $5,500.00
Ocean Gate PD $5,500.00
Ocean Point Pleasant Beach PD $5,500.00
Ocean Point Pleasant PD $5,500.00
Passaic Bloomingdale PD $5,500.00
Passaic Clifton PD $5,500.00
Passaic Hawthorne PD $5,500.00
Passaic Passaic PD $5,500.00
Salem Penns Grove PD $5,500.00
Somerset Bedminster PD $1,980.00
Somerset Bernards PD $5,500.00
Somerset Bernardsville PD $1,650.00
Somerset Bound Brook PD $5,500.00
Somerset Branchburg PD $5,500.00
Somerset Bridgewater PD $1,100.00
Somerset Far Hills PD $5,500.00
Somerset Franklin PD $5,500.00
Somerset Green Brook PD $5,500.00
Somerset Hillsborough PD $4,400.00
Somerset Manville PD $5,500.00
Somerset Montgomery PD $5,500.00
Somerset North Plainfield PD $3,300.00
Somerset Peapack Gladstone PD $5,500.00
Somerset Somerset County Sheriff $5,500.00
Somerset Somerville PD $1,870.00
Somerset South Bound Brook PD $880.00
Somerset Warren PD $5,500.00
Somerset Watchung PD $5,500.00
Sussex Hopatcong PD $5,500.00
Sussex Sparta PD $5,500.00
Sussex Vernon PD $5,500.00
Union Cranford PD $5,500.00
Union Linden PD $5,500.00
Union Rahway PD $5,500.00
Union Roselle Park PD $5,500.00
Union Union PD $5,500.00
Warren Hackettstown PD $5,500.00
Warren Washington Twp PD $770.00

What To Expect Because of the National Campaign

Between now and New Year’s Day, you can expect extra police officers in the listed townships, as well as possibly in other municipalities, to be on high alert for any signs of suspicious driving that can be associated with intoxication.  This can come in the form of DUI checkpoints near bars, restaurants, or other places where lots of people will be drinking, as well as extra police cars on patrol on New Jersey roads and highways.  Because of the program, police officers will be more likely than normal to make an arrest if a driver exhibits any signs of intoxication.

Therefore, if you plan to go out and drink or party before January 1, 2018, you should have a designated driver or take a taxi or Uber.  Safe and sober driving is especially important because, even if you don’t get in an accident and hurt yourself or others, you run the risk of getting arrested for drunk driving every time you choose to have even one drink and get behind the wheel.

Remember, one mistake, such as thinking you can drive when your blood alcohol content (BAC) is actually above .08%, can result in serious consequences – such as fines, jail time, or loss of driving privileges – that affect you for years to come.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help if You Are Pulled Over During the Holidays

Not only should you be extra careful so that you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe, you should also be aware that police officers and government officials are on high alert for any potential drunk or intoxicated drivers during the holidays.  If you or someone you know is charged for any crime relating to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is extremely important to contact an experienced DUI/DWI attorney immediately. A good drunk driving lawyer can make all the difference.  To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI/DUI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today.  We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year!

Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year!

New Jersey DUI Attorney Discusses the Elements of Refusal and the Penalties You Could Face

Close up shot of an alcohol tester

Many people do not realize that if you are pulled over in New Jersey and a police officer has probable cause to believe you have been driving drunk, you are required to submit a breathalyzer sample. The law is written in such a way that it is a condition of being allowed to drive in New Jersey. As we have discussed here in the past, in the Edward M. Janzekovich Law Blog, this requirement even surpasses your rights given under the Miranda warnings, which many people are familiar with – meaning you do not even have the right to speak to an attorney or to remain silent before submitting a breath sample at the police station.

If you fail to comply with the requirement to provide a breath sample, you can be charged and/or convicted under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.4, Refusal to Take a Breath Test, which could carry equally heavy penalties to drunk driving. It is important to note that if you are pulled over, a police officer may ask you to take a roadside or portable breath test (PBT). The PBT is less accurate and refusing to submit to the PBT does not violate the Refusal law. It only counts as “Refusal to Take a Breath Test” if a driver refuses to submit to the more accurate, official breath test that occurs back at a police station.

The Elements of Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test

The offense of refusal to submit to a breath test requires the government to prove four elements beyond a reasonable doubt, before you can be convicted:

  1. The arresting officer had probable cause to believe that the driver had been driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle on the public road, street, highway or other area of the State while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  2. The driver was arrested for driving while intoxicated.
  3. The officer requested the driver to submit to a chemical breath test and informed the driver of the consequences of refusing to do so in a language the defendant can understand while sober.
  4. The defendant thereafter refused to submit to the test.

As we have discussed in the past, the State may be able to charge you with refusal even if you think you are complying with the request to submit a breath test. For instance, the requirement to “submit to the test” includes a requirement that you provide a breath sample that is large enough for the machine to test.

Accordingly, this area of law can be extremely complicated. Because a prosecutor must prove all of these elements in order to convict a driver of refusal, it is important to always contact an experienced DUI lawyer if you or someone you know if ever charged with drunk driving or related motor vehicle violations. A good attorney will be able to review the evidence against you and determine if the state can sufficiently prove all the elements of a crime against you, and will be able to present the best defense on your behalf.

Punishments for Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test

New Jersey law authorizes serious fines for all violators of the Refusal law that ranges from $300 to $500 for a first offense, $500 to $1000 for a second offense, and $1000 for a third or subsequent offense. This does not include any court fees and other applicable monetary sanctions, such as the $100 Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund surcharge. This also does not include the extra $1000 per year motor vehicle surcharge that the driver will have to pay for three years, as well as any increase in insurance premiums that the automobile insurance company will choose to add.

A convicted driver will also be required to attend an alcohol education program at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC). This program includes a fee of $75 per day for a first offender and $100 per day for subsequent offenders. Failing to attend the IDRC will result in a jail sentence, and could result in permanent administrative loss of license for subsequent offenders.

A driver can also lose his or her license for Refusing to Submit to a Breath Test. The period of license suspension is the same as if the driver had been convicted of driving while intoxicated, and ranges from seven (7) months to one (1) year for a first offense, two (2) years for second offense, and ten (10) years for a third or subsequent offense.

Finally, a driver will be required to install an ignition interlock device on his or her vehicle. This requirement ranges from six (6) months to one (1) year after the period of license suspension for first-time offender, or one (1) to three (3) years for a subsequent offender. This also will come at the driver’s own expense.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help if You are Charged with Drunk Driving or Refusal

A conviction on DWI/DUI and refusal charges can mean serious penalties – jail time, heavy fines, and loss of license, that can seriously affect your ability to care and provide for yourself or your loved ones. Defending against these charges can also be very complicated. If you or someone you know is arrested for refusing to submit to a breath test, it is important to have a lawyer who knows how to help. An experienced DWI/DUI attorney can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 1-732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey’s Governor-Elect Phil Murphy Plans to Make the Legalization of Marijuana a Top Priority for 2018

Federal and State Marijuana Laws and gavel.

As we have previously discussed here on the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog, New Jersey is not part of the list of states where marijuana is legal. However, since winning the November 7 election, Governor-elect Phil Murphy has made it clear that legalizing marijuana will be a top priority. Throughout his campaign, Murphy touted his support for making marijuana available for recreational use for people 21 and older. Early on, he made his support well-known that he would sign a legalization bill when it arrived on his desk. Murphy has indicated that the legalization is needed to make the criminal justice system more fair. Experts also estimate that it will bring more than $300 million a year in tax revenue, which Murphy plans to use to boost spending on education, transportation, and public-worker pensions.

When asked when New Jersey might see this significant change, Murphy stated “[a]s soon as we can get there. We want to get this ball rolling. This is a 2018 priority.” Senate President Steve Sweeney has indicated that he would like to get a bill passed within Murphy’s first 100 days as Governor. Phil Murphy will officially begin his term as Governor on January 16, 2018.

What this May Mean for Marijuana-Related DUI Arrests

Even though New Jersey may be looking to legalize marijuana’s use and possession, it is important to remember that it is, and will continue to be, illegal to drive under the effects of marijuana or THC, the active ingredient. Even if marijuana becomes legal, it can still impair your ability to drive and you will be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) if you are found to be driving while intoxicated (DWI) on marijuana, similar to how you can be charged for driving under the influence of other legal substances like prescription medications or alcohol.

If New Jersey does soon fully legalize use of marijuana, some indicate that there a glaring problem for which there is currently no solution. That is, that there is no reliable, efficient field test for driving while high on marijuana. Unlike alcohol, marijuana metabolizes much differently than alcohol. Yes, there are blood tests, urine tests and oral swabs that can determine if someone has marijuana in their system, but it’s much harder, and much costlier, to determine if it got there 1 hour ago or over a week ago.

Moreover, as an experienced and knowledgeable DUI attorney knows, even these tests can be unreliable. Even with a blood or urine test, an expert is typically required to accurately determine the timing. Due to the fact that the State does not have the resources to hire an expert for every case, instead they have to rely upon the observations of Drug Recognition Experts (DREs), police officers trained to spot signs of driving under the influence of drugs, including marijuana. Importantly, those officers’ determinations are rightfully open to scrutiny.

Unfortunately, in Colorado, weed-related traffic deaths jumped by 48 percent after full legalization there in 2014. This means that New Jersey will wary of the potential dangers of legalizing marijuana and will be on high-alert for anyone driving while under the influence of THC. With the law likely to change in New Jersey soon, it is important to understand what is and what is not legal under the law. For now, it is important to remember that recreational use of marijuana is still a crime and driving under the influence of marijuana is taken very seriously by our criminal justice system.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Defend You if You Are Charged with Driving Under the Influence of THC

If you or someone you know is charged for any crime relating to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including marijuana, it is extremely important to contact an experienced DUI/DWI attorney who can explain what rights you have in your specific situation. If you go to court, an experienced lawyer can also make sure you get the best result possible and can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI/DUI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

Current Events: New Jersey Rapper, Fetty Wap, Arrested on Drunk Driving and Drag Racing Charges

A police officer holds the breath test machine for a suspect to blow into with a police car in the background.

Rapper and New Jersey native, Fetty Wap, whose legal name is Willie Maxwell, was recently arrested and charged with a slew of charges in New York City. New reports suggest that Fetty was caught speeding on the Gowanus Expressway in Brooklyn, around 1 a.m. in the morning, when he was pulled over. He was clearly racing another vehicle at the time, and he was likely driving around 100 miles per hour.

After being pulled over, Fetty Wap was found to be driving with an expired license. He subsequently failed a field sobriety test – which could include walking a line, standing on one foot, and performing a gaze or vision test – and was required to submit to a breathalyzer. The test revealed a blood-alcohol level of .09% – over the legal limit of .08%.

Although Fetty Wap was arrested in New York, he is well-known for being born and raised in Paterson, New Jersey.

Speeding and Other Activities That Could Lead to a DUI Investigation

The majority of the time that drivers are arrested or charged for drunk driving, the reason the driver is pulled over in the first place is because he or she committed some other motor vehicle offense. The reason Fetty Wap was required to submit to a breathalyzer test most likely stemmed from having an odor of alcohol on his breath. The police officer most likely had no idea that the rapper was beyond the legal limit of .08% BAC. Once a driver is pulled over, it becomes very easy for a police officer to observe other signs of intoxication, such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, or the smell of alcohol on the breath – giving the officer sufficient reason to require the driver to submit to further sobriety tests, including an official breathalyzer test.

If you or someone you know has had anything to drink, the best advice to not get behind the wheel at all. Even if your driving is not physically impaired in any way, a police officer could still pull you over for any number of reasons. Once you are pulled over, the slightest hint of alcohol could lead to you being arrested and taken to a police station to submit to a breathalyzer test. In New Jersey, you are not allowed to refuse a breathalyzer test, if the officer had sufficient reason to believe you were intoxicated. After that, any result of .08 or higher automatically constitutes sufficient evidence – per se evidence – that could lead to a drunk driving conviction, even if your driving was never affected in the first place.

The following are a list of common things that police officers are looking for that could lead to a drunk driving arrest:

  1. Failure to obey motor vehicle laws, including speeding, failure to stop at a red light or stop sign, or failing to yield.
  2. Swerving, crossing over the yellow line in the road, or otherwise failing to maintain proper lane position.
  3. Braking irregularly or driving suspiciously slow.
  4. Driving erratically or making unusual driving decisions.

If you or someone you know has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you should contact a knowledgeable attorney immediately. There are many reasons why the case against you might be improper, including the fact that you should not have been pulled over in the first place. A good lawyer will be able to review your situation, identify the best defenses, and may even be able to have the charges against you dismissed completely.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Will Review Your Case from Beginning to End

Every person is different and every case of driving while intoxicated is different. For that reason, it is important to get in touch with a lawyer who will treat each case specially. If you or someone you know is charged with drunk driving or driving under the influence of any substance in New Jersey, you need an experienced DWI/DUI attorney who knows the best way to help and can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.