Route 70 and Jersey Shore Crackdown

Jersey Shore

New Jersey is known for many things – not the least of which is the amount of cars and traffic on our roads. Whether you live in the state or are passing through, you are likely familiar with the congestion that can be found on any of the Garden State’s many highways at any given point in time. Countless drivers use New Jersey roads every day, for work or pleasure, and, in the summer, many of those drivers can be found in Monmouth and Ocean counties on the way to the Jersey Shore.

In a recent announcement, townships throughout New Jersey have decided to join together and crack down on dangerous driving along state highways – particularly in Monmouth and Ocean counties – in response to reports that show an increase in crashes and motor vehicle fatalities in recent years. The initiative, which has been referred to as a Traffic Safety/Enforcement Initiative, has been championed by Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato, but will involve at least seven (7) municipal jurisdictions along Highway Route 70 in Ocean and Monmouth County, including:

  1. Brielle Borough (Monmouth County)
  2. Brick Township (Ocean County)
  3. Lakewood Township (Ocean County)
  4. Toms River Township (Ocean County)
  5. Manchester Township (Ocean County)
  6. Lakehurst Borough (Ocean County)
  7. Wall Township (Monmouth County)

New Jersey State Highway Route 70

Route 70 is a nearly 60-mile long highway extending from Pennsauken Township in Camden County to Wall Township in Monmouth County. At its widest, it is a six-lane roadway, but is only two lanes wide at many areas. According to official statistics, there were 548 motor vehicle crashes on Rt. 70 in 2016. Of the crashes that occurred within Ocean County, 4-out-of-41 or 10% were fatal. In 2017, the percentage of fatalities rose to 19%.

The Traffic Safety / Enforcement Initiative

The official safety action will be conducted in three phases: engineering, education and enforcement. The plan is being supported by the Police Departments of all the previously mentioned towns and boroughs, as well as by New Jersey State Police Tactical Patrol Units and the DUI Enforcement Patrol Unit.

Officers have been instructed to specifically be on the look-out for signs of drunk driving or driving while under the influence. There also will be an automated license plate reader in use to identify those driving illegally on a suspended or restricted license. Any kind of suspicious or illegal activity on the roads could lead to a driver being pulled over, including:

  1. Aggressive Driving
  2. Improper Turning
  3. Failure to Yield
  4. Failure to Keep Right
  5. Improper Passing
  6. Inattentive Driving
  7. Disregarding Traffic Signals
  8. Speeding
  9. Following Too Close

Police officers will also be looking for commercial vehicle violations such as overweight, equipment maintenance and brake pressure.

If a police officer pulls a driver over for a legitimate reason, such as one of the motor vehicle violations listed above, the driver might be arrested and charged with DUI or DWI if there is enough evidence for the officer to reasonably suspect that the driver has been operating the vehicle while impaired.

Similar enforcement partnerships have also been put in place on Routes 539, 528, 35 and 37.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Is Here To Help Defendants Charged with DUI Violations

Whether you live in New Jersey or are driving through the state, if you or someone you know is charged for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs on a New Jersey roadway or highway, you want an experienced NJ DUI/DWI attorney who can help. A good lawyer 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.

Marijuana / Weed Offenses Won’t Be Prosecuted Until At Least September

Marijuana arrest

Just last week, we at the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog reported on Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey legislator’s decisions to leave legalized marijuana off of the last-minute state budget passed earlier this month. In a surprising and sudden turn of events, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal issued an order on Tuesday to all county and municipal governments to suspend hearings in marijuana-related cases until early September. That means that all defendants who have pending or future marijuana charges against them will not have the charges against them prosecuted until after the end of August.

This could affect thousands of defendants across the state, and it could foreshadow legal marijuana legislation in the near future. At the same time, it could just represent an attempt to clarify and offer guidance to local governments across the state in order to make sure marijuana enforcement is uniform. Notably, the temporary adjournment does not direct police officers to stop making marijuana arrests, and there is no mention of how marijuana-related intoxicated driving enforcement (driving while high) will be treated.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal’s Letter

The Attorney General’s letter came in response to a memorandum from the Chief Municipal Prosecutor of the City of Jersey City. It specifically aims to provide clarity and guidance about the scope of municipal discretionary authority, which suggests that the State Government in Trenton wants all marijuana offenses to be treated similarly across the state – without allowing individual towns and cities to decide how seriously to treat marijuana-related offenses. To the extent that marijuana has already been decriminalized, this could change how marijuana possession type crimes are treated entirely.

The letter specifically asks “that all municipal prosecutors in New Jersey seek an adjournment until September 4, 2018, or later, of any matter involving a marijuana-related offense pending in municipal court.”

DUI and DWI Due to Marijuana in New Jersey

Grewal’s Letter is short and does not specifically address the issue of marijuana intoxication and intoxicated driving. More importantly, the letter does not ask police departments to suspend arrests for marijuana related offenses. That means it is highly likely that that the new policy will not affect charges for driving under the influence of weed or driving while high as the result of consuming something with THC – the active ingredient in marijuana. Moreover, you can still be arrested and charged with possession before September.

Therefore, if you are pulled over and a police officer sees marijuana or smoking related paraphernalia, this could still cause the police officer to reasonably suspect you have been driving high. This could lead to additional tests, like a roadside sobriety test to determine if you are intoxicated, impaired, or illegally operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana.

This notice is meant to alert all readers that the state’s position regarding legalizing marijuana – as well as the suspension on prosecution – should not change the state’s approach to prosecuting DUI or DWI due to marijuana. Similar to other states where marijuana has been legalized, the substance will be treated similarly to alcohol: while you will be permitted to use marijuana or alcohol recreationally, you will not be allowed to drive drunk or drive high.

New Jersey Intoxicated Driving Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Keeps You Informed About Marijuana and Driving

If you or someone you know is ever pulled over, arrested and/or charged with intoxicated driving, you should contact a good lawyer as fast as you can. A lawyer’s knowledge and experience really matter and can affect the charges brought against you, the punishment you receive, and can even get the case dropped or dismissed completely. 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 Case on License Suspension – Certain Offenses Considered Fourth Degree Crime

DUI stop with cop holding breathalyzer

As every driver should know, it is illegal to drive drunk in New Jersey. The specific law that prohibits driving while intoxicated is N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. In New Jersey, you are also required to submit to a breathalyzer test if you are pulled over and the police officer has a reasonable suspicion to believe that you have been driving drunk. Violating the breathalyzer requirement law is known as Refusal to Take a Breath Test – or just refusal – and it is detailed in N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2.

If you are convicted under either of these laws, you can be sentenced to several penalties including severe fines, jail time, and loss of driving privileges. When your license is revoked, you are completely prohibited from driving: you cannot drive to work, you cannot drive to school, you cannot drive to the store, you cannot even drive to get medical treatment or attend doctor’s appointments — New Jersey does not allow for any temporary, provisional or “work” licenses.

Under the recent case of State v. Dougherty, which was passed by the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division earlier this month, the Court made it clear that a driver commits a crime of the 4th degree if he or she operates a motor vehicle during a period of license suspension for a second or subsequent violation of the previously mentioned laws. Until this case, it was not clear whether both former violations had to be of the same law – both DWIs or both refusals – or whether they could be different. Dougherty confirms that both former violations do not need to be the same, which could mean even greater penalties for anyone found driving with a suspended license.

State v. Dougherty

In Dougherty, the defendant was arrested and charged with driving with a suspended license. At the time he was pulled over, he had one prior conviction for DUI and one prior conviction for refusal, and his license was still suspended as a result of the refusal.

Based on this, he was convicted of driving with a restricted license under N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26(b), “Operating motor vehicle during period of license suspension,” which makes it a crime of the fourth degree to operate a motor vehicle with a suspended license when the suspension was the result of a second or subsequent conviction for driving while intoxicated or refusal. This is important, because driving with a restricted license based on a first offense is not considered as serious a crime (but will still result in jail time). Since this was the defendant’s second period of license suspension, the law stated that the court was required to impose a mandatory sentence of 180 days and the defendant would not be eligible for parole. This sentence is required and cannot be lessened or bargained against.

A fourth-degree crime is also considered a serious crime under the law – as compared to a traffic offense, misdemeanor, or disorderly persons crime – and will be listed on a person’s permanent record as a violation of a major crime. This could more seriously affect the driver’s future ability to gain employment or apply for certain positions based on the person’s criminal history.

Taken all together, driving on a restricted license as the result of a second DWI/DUI conviction and/or a second refusal conviction could elevate the violation from a quasi-criminal proceeding to a full 4th degree criminal proceeding, including indictment, heightened penalties, and increased jail time. For that reason, if you or anyone you know has been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of drunk driving or refusal, it is important to contact a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible. A good lawyer will be able to review your case as well as your history and present any applicable defense on your behalf including appealing past convictions.

New Jersey Refusal Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Is Prepared to Defend Against the Serious Charges You’re Facing

A conviction for refusal or drunk driving can mean serious penalties – jail time, heavy fines, and loss of license at a minimum. Driving with a suspended license can mean even more consequences. If you or someone you know is charged with driving under the influence or refusal, it is important to have a lawyer who knows how to help. A good 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.

A DUI or DWI Could Affect Your Custody or Family Court Proceedings

Arrested for drink-driving

If you or someone you know is arrested, charged, or convicted of a DUI/DWI offense, the penalties under the intoxicated operation laws are already severe: heavy fines, loss of driving privileges, and even potential jail time. For many people, loss of driving privileges could mean losing the ability to work or care for family members or loved ones.

For some people, however, a potential conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs could result in even more significant losses – including losing custody rights or rights in a family court agreement. If you or someone you know has been charged with intoxicated driving and is engaged in divorce or family court proceedings, either now or in the future, it is important to find an experienced DWI attorney as soon as possible. A good defense with the help of an experienced lawyer could mean the difference between keeping custody or losing the ability to see your family or loved ones.

N.J. Div. of Child Protection and Permanency v. T.S.

A recent decision in the case of N.J. Div. of Child Protection and Permanency v. T.S. highlights how a conviction for driving while intoxicated could have a legal effect on seemingly unrelated matters. In the case, a panel of judges for the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, considered a situation in which a woman was arrested for drunk driving and was found to have a blood alcohol content of .19% – more than double the legal limit of .08%. At the time, she also had two minors in the car, her niece and her daughter. She also had another niece and daughter at home who were not in the vehicle.

The Appellate Division decided that the facts presented in the drunk driving matter could be used to support an emergency Dodd removal – meaning the driver immediately lost custody of the children as a result of the arrest. Moreover, the driver lost custody of the other children in her care, even though they were not in the vehicle at the time. All the children were placed temporarily with other caretakers pending the results of the drunk driving proceedings and any substance abuse counseling and treatment she had to attend afterwards. The woman never regained custody of her nieces.

Although no one was injured as a result of the driver’s actions, the woman was also charged with abuse or neglect in violation of N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21(c)(4)(b) as to her daughter. The Court upheld the charge and noted that the focus in an abuse-or-neglect fact-finding must be on the potential for harm or risk of harm to children at the time, regardless of how sorry or cooperative she was after the fact. Based on the Court’s opinion, it is possible that anyone convicted of a DUI or DWI with a child in the car could also be found guilty of abuse or neglect.

How Else Can a DUI/DWI Impact a Family Court or Custody Proceeding?

In addition to losing temporary or permanent custody of a child and receiving additional child endangerment charges as the result of a drunk driving arrest, it is possible that the facts alleged in a DUI or DWI proceeding could be used against you in Family Court proceedings. If you are convicted of drunk driving, a Family Court judge may believe that you are unfit to have custody or visitation rights with your children. Similarly, if you lost your driving privileges as the result of a conviction, you may not have any way to see your children or care for them, even if the Court determines that you have visitation rights.

Taken all together, it is clear that what happens in quasi-criminal DUI or DWI proceedings could result in unexpected penalties for the driver, especially as it relates to his or her family. For that reason, it is important to present the best defense in any drunk driving case and consult a lawyer as soon as you can.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Understands that a Drunk Driving Conviction Has Far-reaching Effects

A conviction on DWI/DUI charges can mean serious penalties – jail time, heavy fines, and loss of license at a minimum. Many drivers can face additional consequences – including issues that can result in custody or child visitation rights. If you or someone you know is charged with driving under the influence, it is important to have a lawyer who knows how to help. A good 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 Marijuana Search Case, State v. Mendel

Marijuana arrest

In a new case decide earlier this month, the New Jersey Appellate Division ruled that a police officer did nothing wrong after sticking his head inside of an open car window while speaking to the driver, even if this allowed him to discover evidence of marijuana usage inside. In doing so, he did not violate the 4th Amendment rules regarding search and seizures. Typically, a police officer would need reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed before he can conduct a search. However, the police officer in this case only put his head in the window because he could not hear the driver over the noise of traffic.

This is important because evidence obtained in a search could lead to charges for driving under the influence of marijuana or other drugs – if a police officer observes drugs or signs of drug use in a vehicle, the officer might believe that the driver is intoxicated while driving. With the laws in New Jersey changing to make it easier to obtain legal marijuana in the future, this is an extremely important development, as the number of drivers who may be driving in possession of marijuana is expected to go up, and this could lead to police bring DUI charges against drivers more easily.

State v. Stephen Mendel

In State v. Stephen Mendel, a police officer pulled a vehicle over after observing it drive by with dark tinted windows. The police officer came up on the passenger side of the vehicle to talk with the driver. The officer asked the driver to produce his driver’s license and inquired about his driving record. During the conversation, the police officer leaned his head into the open passenger side window in order to hear better. While speaking to defendant, he smelled the odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle.

The defendant-driver argued that police officer’s actions should be considered a warrantless search, and the search was unreasonable, which would mean that the evidence was inadmissible and had to be thrown out of the case. The New Jersey Appellate Division decided that a driver does have a legitimate expectation of privacy on the interior of his vehicle. However, even if this is considered a search, the 4th Amendment only protects from unreasonable search and seizures. Because the officer’s act of putting his head inside the vehicle to hear better was still reasonable, the evidence could be admitted as part of the case.

The driver was charged with the disorderly persons offense of marijuana possession, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(4), and improper safety glass, N.J.S.A. 39:3-75.

State v. Bealor

Although the driver in State v. Stephen Mendel was not charged with DUI or DWI, it is possible that these same circumstances could lead to more drivers being charged with driving under the influence of marijuana in the future. In State v. Bealor, a case from 2006, the New Jersey Supreme Court determined that the government can use circumstantial evidence to determine that a driver is operating a vehicle while intoxicated due to marijuana. Proofs in the Bealor case included the smell of burnt marijuana on defendant. Therefore, based on these two cases, police officers may be more likely to bring charges for DUI in the future, if the Courts are more willing to consider these kinds of searches as reasonable.

How an Attorney Can Help

If you or someone you know is charged with DUI or DWI as the result of drugs or alcohol, the circumstances surrounding the arrest and charges will be very important. A good attorney will analyze every aspect of the facts in your case in order to determine if the police officers acted legally and responsibly in bringing the charges against you. If an officer does violate the 4th Amendment and commits an unreasonable search and seizure, or otherwise investigates you in a way that is not allowed by the law, any evidence obtained could be excluded from the case. For instance, observations that lead to a charge for drunk driving or driving under the influence could be deemed inadmissible. This could lead to the charges against you being thrown out or dismissed completely.

New Jersey DUI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Will Fight to Protect Your Rights

If you or someone you know has been arrested, charged, or convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you need a good lawyer to review the case. An experienced attorney will be able to review the facts and decide if any of your rights have been violated or if you’re entitled to a dismissal. A good lawyer 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.

Military-Civilian Drunk Driving Considerations…As Well as DUI in a Tank

M-1 Abrams tank

If you are currently serving in the military, whether on Active Duty, Reserve, or National Guard, you probably understand that your actions in civilian life can easily affect what happens to you in your service, and also vice versa. At the same time, many of our nation’s servicemen and women have not taken the time to consider the specific consequences of something like getting a DUI while off-duty or off-base. A recent event highlighted that very scenario.

In a story that sounds like something out of a video game, a Virginia National Guard lieutenant was recently arrested for driving under the influence of drugs after taking an armored vehicle and leading police on a 60-mile chase outside of Richmond, VA. Although the vehicle was not technically a tank because it was weaponless, many onlookers were left breathless after seeing the vehicle driving down the interstate on tank treads, with a dozen police vehicles in pursuit, like something out of a Fast and the Furious sequel.

While getting pulled over for operating a tank while intoxicated due to drugs or alcohol is unlikely to happen to you, it is not uncommon for an off-duty service member to be charged with DUI/DWI. After all, it only takes one drink for many persons to be over the legal limit of .08% blood alcohol content (BAC). If you or someone you know is in this situation, it is important to contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. A good lawyer may be able to take your case and defend you or work with military area defense counsel (ADC) to help you take the appropriate action.

Jurisdiction for DUI Involving Active Military

One of the difficulties in addressing drunk driving for persons in some branch of the military, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or National Guard, is determining who has jurisdiction for a certain charge. If an individual on active duty is charged with driving while intoxicated, it is possible that the charges will be brought in civilian court or in military courts, or that military and civilian authorities will coordinate to determine how the case will be tried. It is also possible that a DUI or DWI can result in charges brought in both courts, and being found not guilty in one does not mean you will acquitted in the other. Depending on where charges are brought, it may be necessary to have a civilian attorney, military defense counsel, or both.

Where You Are Arrested Matters

Where you are arrested for driving under the influence is probably the most important factor in determining how and where you are charged. If you are arrested on Base in New Jersey, such as at McGuire Air Force Base or Fort Dix, then you will likely face military authority. However, you can still face civilian penalties such as loss of driving privileges, loss of license, and require use of an ignition interlock device.

If the arrest occurs off-base, it is likely that you will only face criminal charges in a municipal court. Nonetheless, a conviction could carry additional consequences – more than the possible jail time, fines, and loss of driving privileges – such as administrative actions and corrective training.

If you are a civilian charged with DUI on a military installation, then you will may be required to face charges in federal court, but the court will still apply regular New Jersey law.
Regardless of the specifics of your case, dealing with DUI or DWI charges can be extremely complicated or difficult. Consulting a good lawyer is the first step in making sure that you are presenting the best possible defense in your situation.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Will Work with You When You’re in Trouble

If you or someone you know is facing charges for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, there are many possible complications that could arise – especially if the case involves the military, military personnel, or is on a military base. In any scenario, you need to talk to someone who will know the best way to help. A good lawyer 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.

Standard Field Sobriety Test, the Walk and Turn

Field Sobriety Test

Police officers in New Jersey and in other states across the country use many tests to see if a person has been driving intoxicated. You may be familiar with some of the tests, either through personal experience or having seen them on tv, such as having a driver close his or her eyes and touch his or her nose with one finger, or reciting the alphabet backwards. While parts of these tests may help influence a police officer into believing whether a person has been driving drunk, there are only three official tests that are part of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST), developed and approved of by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and admissible in court:

  1. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
  2. The Walk and Turn
  3. The One-Leg Stand

The officers who administer these tests are trained to look for certain clues in a driver. Similar to the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, which we previously discussed here at the Edward M. Janzekovich Law Blog, there are specific things that an officer considers signs of intoxication when it comes to the Walk and Turn test. At the same time, many of the clues are considered subjective. For that reason, it is important that you retain an experienced attorney if you are ever arrested for a DUI. A knowledgeable DUI/DWI attorney will be able to review the records and possibly identify weaknesses in the intoxication evidence to defend against it at trial or maybe even have it thrown out completely.

The Walk and Turn Test

In the walk and turn test, a driver is told to place his left foot on a line – possibly a line painted in the road or drawn by the officer – and then place his right foot in front of the left foot, touching heel to toe, one foot after another for a given number of steps. The driver must place his or her arms at his or her sides – meaning the driver cannot extend his or her arms for balance. The driver is then expected to remain in this “Instructional Position” while the police officer explains the test instructions. The driver cannot start the test until police officer states, “Begin.”

The standardized instructions are:

  • “When told to begin, you will walk nine heel to toe steps, turn, and take nine heel to toe steps back”;
  • “During the turn, keep your front foot on the line, and execute the turn by taking a series of small steps with your other foot”;
  • “While walking, keep your arms at your sides, watch your feet at all times and count out loud each step”;
  • “Do not stop until you have finished the test.”

The officer will then ask if the driver has any questions before telling the driver to begin.

What Police Officers Are Looking for When Performing the Test

When a police officer gives the test, he or she is actually watching the driver for signs of intoxication long before the officer says, “begin.” This means that the real test begins with the officer’s observations long before the driver takes his or her first step.

The officer is specifically looking to see if the driver:

  1. Keeps his or her balance at all times;
  2. Remains in the “Instruction Position” while listening to the instructions, and does not begin until instructed;
  3. Does not stop in the middle of the test;
  4. Touches heel to toe for each step;
  5. Stays on the line for all of the test;
  6. Uses his or her arms for balance, which is not permitted to be raised beyond six inches;
  7. Does the turn as instructed; and
  8. Takes the correct number of steps.

If the driver misses heel to toe once with a gap greater than 1/2 inch, the officer will check off one clue of possible intoxication for the heel-to-toe requirement.

How a Lawyer May Challenge the Walk and Turn Test

Because officers are trained to analyze a driver’s behavior, appearance, and how he or she performs on any SFST, a good lawyer can also use this same information to help in defending against a DUI/DWI conviction. Because these tests are not perfect and subject to human error, it is important to always consult an experienced lawyer if you or someone you know is charged with drunk driving. A DUI attorney may be able to fight the charges against you or have the charges dismissed completely.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Is Ready to Help Drivers Charged with Drunk Driving

An arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is extremely serious, and the penalties can include fines, loss of driving privileges, and even jail time. Defending against drunk driving charges can also involve complicated evidentiary issues, especially when specific tests or scientific evidence is involved. If you are charged with drunk driving or driving under the influence of any substance 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.

Doubts About Over 20,000 Past DWI Cases Means Convictions Could Be Reversed or Thrown Out

Doubts About Over 20,000 Past DWI Cases Means Convictions Could Reversed

Here, at the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog, we have been following an important story that could affect over 20k different past drunk driving cases and/or convictions that occurred between 2008 and 2016. Specifically, in 2016, charges were filed against a State Police Sergeant after it was discovered that he may have been lying about whether or not breathalyzer machines used to measure the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of drivers arrested for drunk driving were properly calibrated. A recent 200-page report released by the state judiciary restated the possibility that the sergeant’s actions could have affected DWI/DUI cases during that time, raising substantial doubts about the reliability of the tests conducted in five New Jersey counties.

If you or someone you know submitted to a breathalyzer test in New Jersey during that time period, you could be affected. If you pleaded guilty or were convicted of DUI/DWI based on the results of a breath test taken during that time in the state, you will want to talk to a knowledgeable DWI defense attorney as soon as possible. A conviction could be withdrawn or dismissed, the conviction could be removed from a permanent record, and/or future drunk driving penalties could be decreased.

Breathalyzer Calibration Misconduct

A BAC test in New Jersey must be performed using a Alcotest 7110 MK-IIIC machine that is calibrated according to strict guidelines. When it was discovered in 2016 that State Police Sgt. Marc Dennis may have lied about following the state-mandated guidelines for 8 years, he was officially indicted on second-degree official misconduct, third-degree tampering with public records, and fourth-degree falsifying records charges, because he deliberately skipped the temperature check portion of recalibration procedures.

Since a BAC result of .08% or higher taken during that time could have resulted in an inaccurate DWI/DUI conviction, a class action lawsuit was subsequently filed arguing that anyone who was convicted based on a close BAC result should have their guilty finding thrown out.

New 200-Page Report

The official report issued by the New Jersey state judiciary last week, written by Judge Joseph Lisa, is the latest development in this continuing saga. The report looked at many issues in the case, including the evidence against Sergeant Dennis and the importance of the legally required Alcotest calibration procedures. The report specifically found that all experts considered by the court agreed that accurate temperate calibration was important for scientific reliability.

Although Judge Lisa noted that it was not likely that Sergeant Dennis’s actions resulted in false convictions in 20,000 cases, Judge Lisa noted that it is “reasonably plausible” or possible that some defendants were affected. In particular, any driver who had a very close BAC reading, taken on an improperly calibrated machine, may have had a legal rather than illegal BAC.

Notification Letters

If you were charged and found guilty, or if you pleaded guilty, to driving while intoxicated between 2008 and 2016, you may have received a letter from prosecutors, municipalities, and government officials informing you of your rights. The Notification Letter that was sent out to defendants and drivers varied from county to county, but generally followed this format:

New Jersey DWI Notification Letter

Click to view larger version

If you have any question about what your rights are, the letter advises you to consult an attorney immediately.

If you received a letter and have any question about your rights, or if you did not receive a letter but believe you should have, you should contact an experienced drunk driving lawyer immediately. A good lawyer will also be able to review your past cases or contact the town or city where you were convicted and see if there are grounds to overturn your conviction.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Stays Up to Date on DUI News that Could Affect You

If you or someone you know is arrested for drunk driving, or was previously convicted of driving while intoxicated, it is extremely important to contact an experienced DUI/DWI attorney who will make it his job to care about your case. If you go to court, a great attorney can also help you get the best results in your situation. Having a knowledgeable 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.

New “Layer Cake” Chip is a Breathalyzer for Cocaine

A man pulled over by the police

When it comes to DUI and DWI, driving while intoxicated is illegal regardless of whether you are impaired as the result of alcohol, prescription medications, or illegal narcotics. In the past, however, it was extremely difficult for police officers to specifically prove that a person was driving under the influence of something other than alcohol, because there are no legally admissible portable tests to show drug or marijuana intoxication. If drug impairment is suspected, a police officer will typically need to obtain a warrant for a blood draw or urine sample, and the results of those tests can often be challenged in court by an experienced attorney.

Soon, that may not be the case – at least when it comes to cocaine detection. A new technology being developed by the University of Buffalo may bring police officers one step closer to having a “cocaine breathalyzer.” This device will be portable, so investigating officers will supposedly be able to quickly and reliably determine if someone is driving under the influence of cocaine.

Cocaine Breathalyzer Technology

The new technology will take the form of a chip comprised of different layers performing different functions in the form of drug analysis, leading to it being called an optical layer cake. The layers would include silver, aluminum oxide, and gold nanoparticles.

The chip would be built into a handheld device that would be used to extract any existing cocaine molecules from a biological sample, such as saliva in a breath sample, that would then get deposited on top of the chip. By then exposing the chip to a laser, the handheld computer would be able to determine if the particles on the chip are a match for cocaine. The creators of the technology believe that the same principles could be applied to other drugs, such as marijuana.
Current tests show that the chip is capable of detecting cocaine within minutes of exposure – much faster than a blood or urine test – and it is also inexpensive.

When Will We See the Technology?

The paper detailing the success of the technology was only published last week, so it will be some time before police officers will be using any type of drug breathalyzer based on layer cake technology in the field. That being said, more and more companies are working on similar technology all the time – including some technologies previously covered here on the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog. In order for any new device to be implemented in New Jersey, it will need to pass rigorous testing standards. The State will also need to determine that the technology is reliable and affordable.

What This Means if You are Charged with Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

Since no drug breathalyzer exists currently, police officers in New Jersey will still be relying on blood tests and urine samples for the foreseeable future. If you or someone you know is charged with driving while intoxicated due to drugs, a good lawyer will be able to analyze the evidence against you and determine if police were justified to administering the test, if the test was properly conducted within an allowable time frame, and if the results are reliable based on numerous factors. Regardless of whether the evidence against you takes the form of old technology or new technology, an experienced attorney knows that nothing is reliable 100% of the time, and proving this in court could result in the charges against you being dismissed completely.

New Jersey DWI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Is Always Ready to Defend You

When it comes to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the law and technology are always changing. If you or someone you know is arrested, you will want to talk to a who is prepared to review the evidence against you and get any inadmissible evidence thrown out. A good attorney can make a big 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.

Uber Partners with New Jersey Small Towns to Combat Drunk Driving

Person using ride sharing app

Several small South Jersey towns have come up with a novel new idea to help reduce drunk driving – they have partnered with Uber to provide free rides home from select bars to destinations within the town. It has yet to be seen how successful the programs will be, but town officials believe that if the program can even save one life, it can be considered a huge success.

Unfortunately, as of the writing of this article, the program has only been rolled out in Washington Township, Evesham, and Voorhees, in Gloucester County, Burlington County, and Camden County, respectively. Since there are over 560 other municipalities in the state of New Jersey that do no participate in any such program, other drivers in the state will need to continue to be careful when drinking in public, because even one drink can be the difference between driving legally and being convicted with driving while intoxicated. As always, we at the Edward M. Janzekovich believe that the best advice is to never drink and drive. However, if you or someone you know is arrested, charged, or convicted of DUI or DWI, you should contact a good attorney as soon as possible.

How the New Program Works

The new programs involve a partnership between the towns, Uber – a ridesharing program similar to a taxi service, and local bars enrolled in the program. For instance, in Washington Township, any resident who goes to one of the sixteen restaurants and bars involved in the program can use the Uber app to call a car and get a free ride to any location in town. The rides must originate at one of those bars and riders can only travel within city or town limits, so the program primarily benefits the residents of those towns. The free rides also are restricted to certain times and days of the week, and riders must request an UberX. When a person wants to take advantage of the program, and he or she opens up the app in one of the available locations, the upfront fare will display as $0, and the app may list the option as part of the safe rides program.

Washington Township started the program this past St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, while Evesham and Voorhees started the programs in late 2015. The programs are completely funded through private donations and local contributions, as opposed to taxpayer money.

Program Success

So far, the programs in Voorhees and Evesham have been considered a success. According to the Evesham Township Mayor, Randy Brown, over 6,000 riders have taken advantage of the program, and there has been an 80 percent decrease in the number of drunken driving arrests.

While “free taxi” programs have previously existed in some form or other in many states including New Jersey, the programs generally took advantage of travel vouchers that worked with local taxi companies. The new programs in Voorhees, Evesham, and Washington Township are considered the first of their kind to partner with Uber – the ridesharing company that was founded in 2009 and has taken the country by storm.

Washington Township, which had 114 DUI arrests in 2017, is hoping for similar results to Evesham and Voorhees.

If these programs continue to be successful in South Jersey, you can expect that other townships will soon follow suit across the state and the country. Until that time however, the best advice is to always plan to have a way home from bars and restaurants where you plan to be drinking. If you cannot find a designated driver, the expense of getting a cab, Uber, or Lyft can be significantly less than the fines, penalties, and possible jail time associated with a conviction for drunk driving.

New Jersey DWI/ DUI Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Is Always Ready to Help Those Arrest for Drunk Driving

A conviction for drinking and driving can have serious effects on your family and livelihood. If you have already been arrested, charged, or convicted of driving while intoxicated, you will need an experienced attorney to help fight or appeal the charges against you. A good lawyer 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.