Avoid the HORROR of a DUI Charge This Halloween

Car Keys and Alcoholic Drink

When you think of Halloween, do you think of kids and candy and costumes? Or, like many adults, has Halloween also become a time for mature fun, partying, and maybe one too many drinks?

If you are part of the latter, you might not be surprised to hear that over a third of adults plan to attend a party at the end of this month, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. It is also well-known in the restaurant/bar industry that Halloween is the second-best holiday, behind only Christmas, in terms of dollars spent on drinking out.

Of course, if both the retail and food-service industries are aware of these facts, then so are the police departments and government agencies patrolling the roads to keep them safe at the end of October. Expect officers and patrolmen to be on high-alert for anyone showing signs of intoxicated driving for the rest of the month – and for good reason, too, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that more than half (51%) of all national fatalities occurring on Halloween night from 2008-2012 occurred as a result of a drunk driving-related crash.

What Nights Should You Be Most Aware Of?

This year, Halloween falls on Tuesday, October 31. For all the reasons stated above, there will be many drunk drivers on the road, particularly after the trick-or-treaters finish making their rounds. At the same time, the Friday and Saturday nights before and after the holiday are also well-known nationwide for being a particularly deadly time, because those are the nights when parties, bar crawls, and other festivities are most likely to occur. Towns and municipalities across the state will be strictly enforcing all driving laws and looking out for suspicious activity for the rest of the month, but especially on those days.

Where Will Heightened DUI and DWI Enforcement Occur?

Expect police officers to be on the look-out across the state, but especially in places where there will be many teenagers and young-adults. Bars and neighborhoods in or around where colleges will be the most likely settings for a drunk driving arrest. This is because Halloween parties that include excessive drinking are especially popular amongst young adults in their 20s and early 30s – and males ages 21-34 are the most likely demographic to be involved in a fatal, intoxication-related accident around Halloween.

Other popular locations include near any large bars or locations where a known Halloween party will be occurring. Although this might seem obvious, municipalities purposely create DUI checkpoints near known drinking establishments – in the hopes of deterring drinking and driving as well as in order to catch anyone who might be too intoxicated to drive.

What Precautions Should You Take

If you plan on going our drinking or partying this Halloween season, the best thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones is to have a plan to get home safe. If you cannot designate a reliable or sober driver, be prepared to call a taxi, Uber, or Lyft to get home. If you drive to the bar, most bars will have no problem with you leaving the car in the parking lot overnight if you are too drunk to drive home. Remember, if you are found sleeping in your car in the bar parking lot, a police officer may think that you were preparing to drive drunk, even if your plan was to sleep it off.

The most important thing to remember is that, even if you think you can get home safely, if you are pulled over or stopped at a police checkpoint with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or greater, or if a police officer smells alcohol on your breath and thinks you are showing visible signs of intoxication, you could lose your license, be fined, go to jail, and otherwise lose your ability to provide for you family and loved ones. These are extremely serious consequences that could affect you for a lifetime.

If you or someone you know is arrested or charged with drunk driving, you should contact an experienced lawyer immediately. A drunk driving attorney will be able to review your case and may even be able to have the charges dropped completely.

New Jersey DUI-DWI Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help if You’ve Been Charged with Drunk Driving

When you or someone you know gets arrested or charged with driving while intoxicated, things could feel extremely scary. You probably won’t know what to do or even what consequences you might be facing. An experienced DUI/DWI attorney can help by reviewing your case, explaining the potential penalties, and presenting the best case in your defense. A good 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.

Forced Blood Draws for Drunk Driving Suspects

Miniature car with alcohol bottle, handcuffs and legal scales

The topic of forced blood draws has recently been in the headlines after video was released of a Utah hospital nurse who was placed in handcuffs and threatened with arrest after refusing a police officer’s request to take a blood sample from an unconscious patient.

A few weeks ago, Salt Lake City Detective Jeff Payne handcuffed and dragged Nurse Alex Wubbels out of a hospital for refusing to obtain a blood sample from an unconscious patient. Nurse Wubbels refused to get the blood sample, because she knew that the law required the officer to obtain either consent from the patient for the blood draw or obtain a warrant from a judge. When Ms. Wubbels insisted on obeying the law, Payne used force on her in an attempt to get her to comply – all of which was caught on video and has been repeatedly seen in the news.
Salt Lake City’s mayor has since apologized to the nurse. Detective Payne was placed on administrative leave as a result of the incident and fired from his part-time position as a paramedic. A second Utah police officer, Lt. James Tracy, has also been placed on administrative leave.

Although the case didn’t occur in New Jersey, a lot of the same rules and policies would apply if it had taken place at a New Jersey hospital instead. In fact, police officers, nurses, prosecutors, judges, and attorneys are regularly prepared to deal with the situation of a request for a blood sample for an unconscious patient in this state. If the rules are not followed exactly, it is possible that any evidence obtained from an illegal blood sample could be excluded from court. For that reason, it is extremely important to contact an attorney as soon as you or anyone you know is arrested, charged, or convicted of drunk driving or driving under the influence. An experienced attorney may be able to challenge the evidence against you or get the charges thrown out completely.

Why are Blood Samples Used in DUI/DWI Cases?

When somebody is charged with drunk driving, one of the ways the state can prove its case is by introducing evidence that the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was above the legal limit of .08% or higher. Most people are familiar with the breathalyzer test used to measure BAC, but a breathalyzer cannot be used in all situations. For instance, a driver who is involved in a car accident may be unconscious or too injured to provide a breath sample. In those cases, the investigating officer may want to get the driver’s blood sample tested for alcohol concentration.

When Can Police Officers Get a Blood Sample?

After a motor vehicle accident, wherein a driver is injured, the driver will probably be taken to a hospital for treatment. At the hospital, a police officer will only be able to get the driver’s blood sample under two circumstances: 1) with the driver’s consent, or 2) with a warrant. If a driver is capable of providing consent, then he or she may allow a police officer to take a blood sample. Obviously, a driver can only give consent if he or she is conscious. A driver also cannot give consent if he or she is being sedated or otherwise treated in a way that renders him or her incompetent.

In order to get a warrant, the police officer must apply to a judge for a warrant for the blood sample. If the request is being made after regular business hours, an emergency on-duty prosecutor and emergency on-duty judge will need to be contacted. Regardless of the timing, the prosecutor and the officer will need to demonstrate to a judge that they have probable cause to obtain the blood sample: meaning that the officer has well-grounded suspicion based in citable evidence that the driver had been operating the vehicle while intoxicated – such as smelling alcohol on the driver’s breath. The judge will need to agree, and a warrant will need to be issued and signed. Only after a warrant is issued will the officer be able to order the hospital to get the patient’s blood sample.

How an Attorney Can Help

Although there are numerous ways to challenge a blood sample, one of the ways to challenge blood BAC evidence is to demonstrate that the blood draw was impermissible. This can be because a driver failed to give proper consent, because the police officer failed to obtain a warrant, or because the police officer did not have sufficient probable cause to justify the warrant. If you or someone you know is charged with driving while intoxicated, an experienced lawyer be able to review the evidence against you and put up the best defense on your behalf. An attorney may even be able to have the case dismissed completely.

New Jersey DUI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Will Be There if You’ve Been Charged with Drunk Driving

DWI / DUI cases can often involve complicated issues of evidence, and successfully challenging that evidence requires knowledge and experience about the law. If you or someone you know is facing a DWI charge, a knowledgeable drunk driving 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.

DUI / DWI History and What It Means for Uber and Lyft Drivers

Man with an alcoholic drink and keys in his hand next to a car.

Becoming a driver for Uber or Lyft is an increasingly common profession. Some people do it as a full-time job, while others do it to make a little extra money on the side. Either way, people are drawn to the independence and simplicity of the job – you get to decide when you work, you get to decide how much you want to work, and you even get to do it from the comfort of your own vehicle.

There is one thing a lot of would-be-drivers do not know, however. You may not be approved to become an Uber or Lyft driver if you have even one drunk driving charge or conviction on your driving history. Both Uber and Lyft have strict background check guidelines as part of the process for individuals to get approved to drive for the company.

Uber and Lyft Background Checks

When you apply to become an Uber or Lyft driver, you must consent to allow the companies to run a background check and driving record check.

Uber states that, after you fill out the basic online application, you will be asked to complete a consent form that allows Uber to use a company called Checkr to perform the background check. The background check will include your driver’s history for at least 7 to 10 years.
Lyft advertises that its background checks are also performed by a third-party and include national and county-level databases, and, when necessary, local courthouse record checks going back a minimum of seven years or more.

Your driver’s abstract will let these companies know if you have ever been convicted of any DUI or drug-related driving offense, and your application will automatically be flagged for additional review. A DUI within the last seven years can result in your rejection by either company. Both companies advertise that there are no exceptions to this rule.

Moreover, if you’ve ever been convicted of a felony DUI in any state, even if it was more than 10 years ago, this could result in your application being denied.

What About Ongoing DWI Charges or Expungements?

New Jersey does not provide for the expungement of drunk driving convictions, although some other states might. Both Uber and Lyft advertise that they conduct national background checks, so if you have ever been convicted of DUI in any state and wish to drive for one of these companies, it will be helpful to contact an attorney.

If you have a current or ongoing charge for driving while intoxicated, it is extremely important that you contact a lawyer if you hope to become a commercial driver in the future. Both Uber and Lyft state that they will consider all ongoing charges, and if you are in the middle of proceedings regarding a charge for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you can expect to have your application denied or flagged for further consideration.

At this time, your best chance to be able to drive for Uber, or keep driving, if you’re already a driver, is to win your case or have the charges against you dropped completely.

How an Attorney Can Help

Man with an alcoholic drink and keys in his hand next to a car., if you refuse to submit to a blood-alcohol test, or if you are convicted of a DUI/DWI offense in New Jersey or any other state. If you are charged with driving while intoxicated, you should always contact a lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced DWI attorney could make a world of difference.

New Jersey DUI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help if Your Job is On the Line Due to a Drunk Driving Charge

If you or someone you know is being charged with a DUI/DWI, knowing the potential consequences of that conviction is important. The difference between guilty and innocent could mean the difference between being able to provide for your family and loved ones or losing your right to drive. If you or someone you know is facing a DWI charge, a knowledgeable drunk driving 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.

License Suspension Rules When Your Case is Being Appealed

Suspended License

If you are arrested and charged for a DUI or DWI, you should consult an attorney as soon as you can. An experienced drunk driving lawyer will be able to review your case, request evidence that may be time sensitive, explain to you the penalties you may be facing, and help fight the charges against you even get the charges dismissed completely.

If you have already been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, an attorney can still help. Although it may feel like your case is already over, an attorney may still be able to have your sentence changed or have the charges against you dismissed by filing an appeal – especially, if the municipal court committed a miscarriage of justice, meaning it did something wrong or against the rules.

Importantly, one of the most difficult penalties faced by convicted drivers is the loss of driving privileges that can cause you to miss work and not be able to provide for your family or loved ones. While your case is being appealed, an attorney can argue on your behalf so that you do not lose your license, while you are waiting to see if your conviction is overturned.

Loss of Driving Privileges

The first time you are convicted of drunk driving, you can have your license suspended for either 3 months (if your blood alcohol content is between .08% and .09%) or 7 to 12 months (if your blood alcohol content is .10% or greater). If this is the first offense, a judge has a lot of flexibility in deciding how long to suspend a driver’s license, and other factors can increase the punishment, such as if the violation occurred in a school zone or caused an injury. For a second offense, the law requires you to lose your license for 2 years or longer, while you can lose your license for 10 years or more on a third conviction for DUI/DWI.

How Appeals Work

The majority of DUI/DWI convictions occur in Municipal Court. If you are appealing your initial conviction in the Municipal Court, you are asking to have a higher court, the Law Division in your county, review the lower court proceedings to make sure that there is no miscarriage of justice. The Law Division can reverse the conviction or affirm it. If it is affirmed, you may have the opportunity to appeal the case again to the Appellate Division of New Jersey or even the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Postponing License Suspension on Appeal

Last month, the New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed certain guidelines that can help drivers appealing their drunk driving convictions. Specifically, if you are convicted, the Court allows you to have the period of time you are losing your license suspended while you request to have a higher court review your case.

Postponing, or “staying,” your license suspension does not happen automatically, but if you make an application to the Law Division to stay your license suspension pending your first appeal, the Court should presumptively grant the request. The guidelines, however, provide that you will most likely not be able to stay your period of license suspension if you appeal from the Law Division to the Appellate Division or higher court. If all the higher courts affirm your conviction, you will then be required to carry out the period of license suspension.

The Courts will also look at a number of factors to determine if you are entitled to a stay of your license suspension. The government or prosecutor may argue to the court that you should lose your license immediately if you present a serious threat to the safety of any person or the community. The Court will also look at your entire criminal past and history of motor vehicle offenses, and it may limit your license while the appeal is pending. For instance, the Court may be able to restrict when you drive your car – to or from work only – or require you have an ignition interlock device installed on the vehicle. Finally, if this is not your first conviction for driving under the influence, the Court may be less likely to grant your request for a stay.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help If You’ve Been Charged or Convicted of DUI/DWI

Losing your license because you have been driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be devastating. If you or someone you know is charged for any DUI/DWI crime, it is extremely important to contact an experienced attorney who can explain what rights you have in your specific situation. If you are charged with drunk driving or driving under the influence of any substance in New Jersey, an experienced 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.

New Jersey DUI Attorney Discusses Multiple Simultaneous Convictions for DUI/DWI

New Jersey DUI-DWIAlthough it is unlikely, there are rare times when a driver must face charges for multiple drunk driving offenses at the same time. This can result from a variety of circumstances. As a law firm specializing in drunk driving defense, we here at the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog are prepared to help regardless of how unlikely the situation. Successfully defending against DWI charges may result in a reduction of the penalties or can result in having the charges dismissed altogether.

When Multiple Simultaneous Convictions for Drunk Driving Can Occur

First, if a driver drives continuously through various towns and municipalities, he or she may be charged independently in each one of them with a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 – Driving While Intoxicated. A driver in this situations should immediately seek the advice of counsel, because the State of New Jersey treats “one continuous uninterrupted episode of driving while intoxicated” as a single offense, not multiple offenses. Therefore, if an individual receives multiple charges of DUI/DWI during one continuous course of conduct, it is properly addressed as sentenced as a single offense in court, and an experienced attorney may be able to have some of the charges dismissed.

A second set of circumstances that might lead to simultaneous convictions for drunk driving arises when a driver is arrested twice for drunk driving in a very short period of time. This is typically within the same day or night, but it can sometimes occur over a longer period of time. Usually, the picture looks something like this. A driver is arrested a first time for drunk driving, then processed and released. Following his or her release, the driver is still drunk and tries to get behind the wheel of another vehicle. Once again, the driver is found driving under the influence and re-arrested and charged a second time later that same day. This should not happen because drivers are typically not allowed to immediately operate their vehicles after being arrested for driving under the influence. However, there have been numerous reported cases of this happening in just the last year.

Sentencing on Multiple Simultaneous Convictions for Drunk Driving

If you or someone you know is charged with any driving while intoxicated related charge, it is important to seek the advice of a good lawyer as soon as possible. If a driver decides to plead guilty to multiple drunk driving offenses at the same time, sentencing consequences can be complicated and in some cases, severe. In other areas of the law, defendants are typically able to argue to a Judge that they should receive identical treatment on both offenses if they are pleading guilty to two offenses at the same time. This, however, is not true specifically for drunk driving convictions. Unlike other areas of the law, the New Jersey Supreme Court has specifically stated that New Jersey’s drunk driving statutes are primarily punishment oriented, rather than concerned with rehabilitation. Moreover, statutes that are punishment oriented do not require the same type of sentencing treatment as other statutes, meaning defendants can receive different sentences on each of the offenses despite pleading to both at the same time.

For example, if a defendant is pleading guilty to both his first and second DUI offenses simultaneously, he or she can be punished as a second-time offender on one of the DUI offenses, even though he or she had no previous DUI convictions before the court date. The same would be true of an individual pleading to his second and third DUI offenses; he would be sentenced as a third-time offender on one of the offenses. This is extremely important as the differences in sentencing between a first, second, and third time offender is substantial. A second, third, or fourth time offender faces much greater potential fines, mandatory jail sentences and terms of mandatory loss of driving privileges. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the penalties you may be facing.

How an Attorney Can Help

If you are facing multiple DUI/DWI charges, an experienced DUI attorney can help you understand your rights and the potential consequences of multiple charges, especially when it comes to sentencing. A good lawyer will also be able to present the best defense in your favor and may even be able to have the charges against you dropped. Whether you are sentenced as a first, second or third time offender can make a huge difference in terms of jail time, period of license suspension, and fines.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Is Ready, No Matter How Rare the Circumstances

A DUI/DWI conviction means serious penalties that will affect you and your loved ones. For that reason, it is important to consult a drunk driving lawyer who knows how to help. If you or someone you know is 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 in Ocean County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Union County and Somerset County.

The Jersey Shore Towns with the Most Drunk Driving Arrests

Shot glass with car keys and handcuffs

Although the summer is winding down, there are still a few weeks left to enjoy the warm weather. Labor Day is also around the corner, signifying the symbolic end of the season and a return to school for many children. As with all holidays, however, Labor Day also brings with it parties and celebrations that usually include liquor, beer, and wine. We here at the Edward M. Janzekovich Law Blog always recommend that you drink responsibly – don’t drink and drive – and be careful if you get on the road at all over the holiday weekend.

Additionally, we know that many individuals and families will be heading to the Jersey Shore over the next few weeks to enjoy a little more sun and fun before the cold weather season starts. A recent report ranked 44 Jersey Shore towns in order of the least to most DWI arrests per square mile based on data from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. This list also shows the total number of arrests over that time period.

This list is informative because it helps to show both where there are the fewest incidents of drunk driving as well as where local police departments are willing to crack down on any suspicious driving activity.

Towns Ranked from Lowest to Highest Rate of DWI Arrests

Ranking Town Name Arrests Per Square Mile Total DWI Arrests
1. Seaside Heights, NJ 191.68 143
2. Wildwood, NJ 116.92 163
3. Loch Arbour, NJ 106.38 15
4. Allenhurst, NJ 53 15
5. Bradley Beach, NJ 39.49 25
6. North Wildwood, NJ 35.59 76
7. Ship Bottom, NJ 34.96 35
8. Mantoloking, NJ 31.1 20
9. Deal, NJ 28.83 38
10. Asbury Park, NJ 21.83 35
11. Seaside Park, NJ 20.83 16
12. Belmar, NJ 20.64 20.62
13. Wildwood Crest, NJ 20.62 27
14. Sea Bright, NJ 19.42 25
15. Sea Girt, NJ 18.62 27
16. Sea Isle City, NJ 15.8 40
17. Neptune, NJ 14.29 124
18. Bay Head, NJ 14.28 10
19. Ventnor, NJ 12.77 45
20. Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 12.71 53
21. Margate, NJ 11.64 19
22. Atlantic City, NJ 9.45 161
23. Avon-by-the-sea, NJ 9.24 5
24. Long Branch, NJ 9.23 58
25. Stone Harbor, NJ 8.15 16
26. Manasquan, NJ 7.50 19
27. Brick, NJ 6.71 217
28. Surf City, NJ 6.54 6
29. Longport, NJ 6.41 10
30. Lavalette, NJ 6.28 6
31. Cape May City, NJ 5.83 16
32. Spring Lake, NJ 5.78 10
33. Monmouth Beach, NJ 5.31 11
34. Ocean City, NJ 4.44 48
35. Beach Haven, NJ 3.87 9
36. Cape May Point, NJ 3.17 1
37. Toms River, NJ 2.84 389
38. Brigantine, NJ 2.6 27
39. Harvey Cedars, NJ 2.53 3
40. Long Beach, NJ 2.35 52
41. Avalon, NJ 2.02 10
42. Berkeley Twp., NJ 1.76 99
43. Barnegat Light, NJ 1.17 1
44. Upper Township, NJ 1.16 80

It is important to recognize that this list does not provide a definitive ranking of the safest or most dangerous Shore Towns in NJ regarding drunk driving, not does it represent a ranking of towns based on the likelihood you will be pulled over for drunk driving. The information provided, however, does show that all towns in New Jersey are aware and on the look-out for drunk drivers.

Especially over holidays, police officers will be on the look-out for anyone driving erratically or showing signs of intoxication. There may also be DUI check-point locations set up areas known for drunk driving. If you go out again this year and have anything to drink, the best advice is to call an Uber or a taxi for a ride home. Your car will still be there the next day, but if you are convicted of DWI, then you may quickly lose you license, be fined, or even face time in jail. The consequences for drunk driving are no laughing matter.

New Jersey DWI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help If You Are Pulled Over This Holiday

If you or someone you know is charged for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is extremely important to contact an experienced DUI/DWI attorney who will explain what consequences you are facing in your specific situation. A knowledgeable drunk driving lawyer can also review the evidence against you and present the best case in your defense. 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 in Ocean County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Union County and Somerset County.

Refusal, Breath Sample Size, and Women Over Sixty

Breathalyzer test being given by a policeman

If you are pulled over in the state of New Jersey, and a police officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that you have been driving while intoxicated, there is a good chance that you will eventually be asked to provide a breath sample so the police officer can determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). There are actually two breath tests that the police officer may use on you. The first is the roadside breath test, which is actually an unofficial test, also known as a portable breath test (PBT). The second, official test, and the only one admissible in court, is much more accurate, but there are also many more rules that come with how the test is conducted.

The law actually requires that you provide an official sample if a police officer requests that you provide the sample based on probable cause. You do not have the right to refuse to comply with the test, known as the Implied Consent statute – although you are not required to comply with a PBT. If you do not provide a breath sample, you might be charged with drunk driving, as well as charged and possibly convicted of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2, Refusal to Take a Breath Test, which could carry equally heavy penalties. What most people do not know is that you can be charged under the Refusal law even if you do provide a breath sample, but you do not follow directions and give breath samples that are large enough.

Sufficient Breath Sample Size

In New Jersey, official breathalyzer tests must be conducted on a Draeger Alcotest 7110. Since the case of State v. Chun in 2008, the state has ruled that drivers are required to provide a breath sample that is sufficiently large. The minimum volume for a breath sample is at least 1.5 liters of air. If a driver does not provide a sample that is large enough, he or she can be convicted of Refusal to Take a Breath Test, as if he or she did not attempt to provide a sample at all. It is not a defense to the law if a driver is too drunk to provide a complete breath sample, but there may be other defenses if a driver has a health condition or some other legitimate reason why he or she cannot provide a sample.

Number of Breath Samples

Moreover, the Implied Consent law not only requires that you submit to a sufficiently large breathalyzer sample if you are asked by a police officer with probable cause. The law also requires that you provide breath samples – meaning the police usually require a minimum of two complete samples for you to be in compliance with the law. This is also to ensure accuracy in BAC test results. If one test result is over the legal limit of .08% BAC, and one is under the legal limit of .08% BAC, the discrepancy can be used in favor of the driver, since the police will use the lower result. In the case of State v. White, the Court ruled that the failure to provide at least two breath samples could constitute Refusal to Take a Breath Test.

What if You’re a Woman Over 60 Years Old?

If you are a woman over 60 years old, there are actually different rules that apply to you when it comes to breath sample size. After studying the scientific reliability of Alcotest breath results, the New Jersey Supreme Court actually decided to adopt separate rules on breath volume size, because women over the age of 60 may have difficulty in providing a sample consisting of 1.5 liters of air within the required time period. Specifically, the study found that women from age sixty to sixty-nine have an average breath volume of 1.4 liters, women seventy and over have an average of 1.3 liters, and women eighty and over have an average volume of 1.2 liters.   At the same time, the Court found that men, regardless of age, were capable of producing a sample of 1.5 liters.

Accordingly, the Supreme Court directed that Alcotest 7110 machines be reprogrammed so that smaller breath sample sizes could be taken and used to get BAC results for those individuals. The Supreme Court also decided in Chun that it would be unfair to prosecute women over the age of sixty under the Refusal to Take a Breath Test law if they could not provide an adequate sample of 1.5 liters of air. At the same time, if a woman over the age of 60 does provide at least one sample of 1.5 liters of air, but failed to do so on subsequent attempts, that fact could be used by the prosecutor as evidence to support a charge of refusing to submit to a breath test.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Knows How To Help if You are Charged with Drunk Driving

A conviction on DWI/DUI and refusal charges can mean serious penalties – jail time, heavy fines, and loss of license. Defending against these charges can also involve extremely complicated evidentiary issues. If you or someone you know is arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, 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 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

Aaron Carter’s Arrest and Driving Under the Influence of THC and Other Forms of Marijuana

On July 17, singer Aaron Carter, 29, was arrested in Habersham County, Georgia on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs and possession of marijuana. He was arrested at approximately 9pm in the rural county north of Atlanta. According to Habersham County Captain Floyd Canup, Carter is currently facing several charges including DUI, possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana and possession of drug related objects. Carter was in a vehicle with his photographer girlfriend, Madison Parker. She was also arrested and charged with obstruction and two drug-related charges.

Interestingly, authorities did not find Carter with green or leafy marijuana. Carter has tweeted that he holds a medical license for medical marijuana. Georgia’s medical marijuana program only provides for low-concentration THC oil and official statements have responded that Georgia law does not allow for the type of marijuana found during the arrest. It is unclear from reports what other form of marijuana Carter had – whether it was marijuana edibles, high concentration THC oil, a THC inhaler, or some other product.

New Jersey and Medical Marijuana

If Carter had been found driving while intoxicated due to marijuana in New Jersey, he still could have been charged under New Jersey’s laws. New Jersey, like Georgia, has a medical marijuana program. Earlier this year, the number of enrollees in the program surpassed 10,000 active members for the first time.

Importantly, New Jersey law does not allow any driver to drive while intoxicated, regardless of whether or not he or she is intoxicated due to a legally prescribed or obtained medication. This means that it may not be a defense that a driver is part of the medical marijuana program if it can be shown that the driver was intoxicated and the driver’s impairment was such that he or she posed a danger to him or herself or others on the road.

Furthermore, unlike some other states, New Jersey’s medical marijuana law does not allow persons with an out-of-state medical marijuana license to possess marijuana in the state without also having a New Jersey medical marijuana license.

DUI/DWI and Marijuana or THC in Other Forms

Similarly, New Jersey does not allow a driver to drive while high due to marijuana regardless of the form the marijuana takes – including “pot brownies” or vapor pens or any other form of THC that can be ingested or absorbed by. Indeed, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical compound in marijuana, comes in many forms now than it ever has before. Gummy bears, soda, flowers (buds), dabs, concentrates, vapor pens, salves, just to name a few.

Although driving under the influence of marijuana was traditionally due to driver’s smoking marijuana before or while getting behind the wheel, Aaron Carter’s arrest mirrors a common arrest scenario that is happening across the United States every day. More and more commonly, the basis for the intoxication is use of marijuana in non-smoked form. An officer will not be able to provide grounds for the arrest based on smelling burnt or raw marijuana inside of a vehicle. Instead, the officer will need to determine whether or not a driver is intoxicated based on other observable reasons, and will require a legal reason to pull the driver over in the first place that does not include smelling marijuana.

Because the field of driving under the influence of marijuana is constantly changing, it is more important than ever to contact an experienced DUI/DWI lawyer if you or anyone you know is ever arrested or charged with driving while high. A good attorney will be able to take the time to sit down with you and review your case, explain what consequences you are facing, and determine any possible defenses you may have, particular in light of laws that can change at any time.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help Those Charged with Driving While High

A charge for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can result in serious and complicated penalties that affect you and your loved ones. 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. 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.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Discusses the Unreliability of Urine Test Results to Prove Blood Alcohol Content

blood-testWhen somebody is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, the government is responsible for proving all elements of the offense based on clear and convincing evidence. In New Jersey, this can be proved in various ways, but the most common is through the use of blood alcohol evidence to show that the driver was operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher.

Most people are familiar with the common breathalyzer test, which is used to measure BAC based on a driver’s breath sample. In most cases, the breathalyzer results will make up the only evidence of BAC in a prosecutor’s case. Other times, however, the state may also be able to rely on blood or urine samples to satisfy the government’s burden of proving that a driver had a BAC of .08% or higher when he or she was operating the vehicle.

While the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog has previously discussed the unreliability of urine testing to determine marijuana use, many experts now also believe that urine testing is the least reliable way to determine a driver’s BAC when it comes to proving charges for driving while intoxicated with alcohol.

When Is Urine Testing Used?

Due to the fact that many substances other than alcohol will not be detected by a breathalyzer, police officers may sometimes ask for or get a warrant for a driver’s urine sample if the officer suspects the driver is under the influence of drugs. For example, the presence of marijuana may be in someone’s urine, but there is no currently reliable breath test for marijuana.

Other times, a driver suspected for DUI/DWI may be involved in a motor vehicle accident. If certain injuries occur, such as an injury to the face or nose, or if the driver is hospitalized, a breathalyzer test may not be possible. At those times, a blood or urine test may be requested.

Regardless of why a urine test is obtained, once the state has legal access to a urine sample, the prosecution may seek to use the urine sample as evidence of the driver’s BAC.

The Unreliability of Urine Tests

Importantly, urine tests are considered the least reliable form of chemical test, and can often be effectively challenged in court. In fact, the National Institute of Drug Abuse has found that more than 20 percent of the labs that process urine tests for the presence of drugs and alcohol have reported “false positives.” This means that about 20 percent of the labs reported the presence of drugs or alcohol in drug-free or alcohol-free urine samples.

Furthermore, errors are quite common in urine testing because the technicians analyze water and not blood. BAC results in urine tests are usually inflated because the concentration of alcohol in urine is approximately 1.33 times the concentration of alcohol in blood. Drug screens of urine also tend to confuse similar chemical compounds and can lead to inaccurate results. Urine tests show only the presence of metabolites – inactive traces of previously ingested substances – not the actual drug or alcohol consumed.

Unsurprisingly, New Jersey courts consider urine testing the least scientifically reliable form of chemical test.

Challenging Urine Test Results

Just because you have incriminating urine results does not automatically mean that the state can use this evidence to convict you of a DUI/DWI. Certain protocols must be observed during the administration of a legal urine test in the state. The driver must be given a certain amount of privacy while still ensuring the accuracy of the sample. Drivers should also be instructed to empty their bladders, wait 20 minutes, and then urinate again. There is also strict storage protocol.

Because urine tests are considered to be extremely unreliable in both drunk driving and driving under the influence of drugs cases, it is possible to successfully challenge the results of such tests. If you or someone you know is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you should contact an experienced DWI attorney immediately. An experienced lawyer will know how to identify the potential flaws in a case based on urine test evidence and can incorporate those methods into a solid defense strategy on your behalf.

New Jersey DUI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help Even When There Is Evidence of Drunk Driving

DWI/DUI cases can often involve complicated issues of scientific evidence, and successfully challenging that evidence requires knowledge and experience. If you or someone you know is facing a DWI charge, a knowledgeable drunk driving 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.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Attorney Examines Proposed Law Making Ignition Interlock Devices Mandatory for All DWI Convictions

DWI Convictions

A new bill introduced before the state legislature last year by State Senator Nicholas Scutari may drastically change the way drivers convicted of DUI in the state are convicted.  The proposed changes to the State’s Driving While Intoxicated law, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, seek to lessen some penalties for first time drunk drivers while making others more universal –  such as making Ignition Interlock Devices mandatory for all drivers convicted of DUI/DWI, even first time offenders.

Similar to the other proposed Senate Bill 404, discussed here earlier this year, it is important to recognize that there is no guarantee that this proposed bill will ever pass.  Also like that bill, the goal of Senator Scutari’s introduced legislation is to provide an alternative to drivers convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, showing some added leniency to such drivers while simultaneously making the roads safer.

Which Parts of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 Might Be Affected?

In New Jersey, the legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit for drunk driving in the state is .08%.  Under current law, someone convicted of DWI for the first time can have their license suspended for either 3 months (if his or her blood alcohol content is between .08% and .099%) or 7 to 12 months (if his or her blood alcohol content is .10% or greater). A judge has a lot of flexibility in deciding how long to suspend a driver’s license in those circumstances.

At the same time, a first time offender who is convicted with a blood alcohol content of .15% or greater must have an ignition interlock device installed on his or her vehicle during the period of license suspension until between 6 months to 1 year following license restoration.  An ignition interlock device is a device put on a car that requires a driver to provide a clean, alcohol breath sample before he or she can start the car.

How Will These Parts of the Law Change If the Proposed Bill is Passed?

Under Senator Scutari’s introduced legislation, a first time drunk driver who is convicted of driving with a BAC of between .08% and .099% will only have his or her license suspended for 30 days – a significant reduction from 3 months.  Similarly, a driver who is convicted of driving with a BAC of between .10% up to just less than .15% will have his or her license suspended for 45 days, while a driver who is convicted of driving with a BAC of .15% or higher will have his or her license suspended for 90 days.

At the same time, the proposed legislation hopes to make installation of an ignition interlock device mandatory for ALL drivers convicted under the DWI law.  The device must remain on the driver’s vehicle for the period of license suspension as well as an additional period of time between 3 months and 18 months after the driver gets his or her driving privileges reinstated.

What These Changes Would Mean if You Are Convicted

Losing one’s driving privileges is often the most severe penalty that first time drunk drivers face, because the penalty often means that a driver also loses his or her ability to go to work or otherwise provide for his or her family.  Reducing the period of license suspension for first time offenders recognizes this reality and tries to address the way the law punishes more than just the drunk driver.

At the same time, recent reports have estimated that ignition interlock devices have prevented more than 39,000 instances of drunk driving in New Jersey since 2010.  Therefore, requiring drivers to install an ignition interlock device attempts to make the roads safer for everyone.  The proposed law would not prevent a driver from being able to use his or her vehicle – for instance, to drive to work or buy groceries if necessary – but it would guarantee that the car could only be operated after a clean, alcohol-free breath sample is provided. 

The largest downside to the proposed law is that New Jersey requires the driver to pay for his or her own ignition interlock device, including the installation.  In addition to the nearly $1000 in fines that first time drunk drivers must already pay, an ignition interlock device could cost $70-150 to install and about $60-80 per month for additional monitoring and calibration.

Regardless of whether or not this bill becomes law, a person charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs should always contact an experienced drunk driving attorney, who will be able to provide the best advice or possibly defend the case and get the charges dismissed completely.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Is Looking Out for You

A charge for driving under the influence of alcohol can carry extremely serious penalties that affect you as well as your family and loved ones.  At the same time, new laws, rules, and regulations take effect all the time. For that reason, it is important to consult a drunk driving lawyer knows what to look for in your specific situation.  If you or someone you know is charged with drunk driving or driving under the influence of any substance in New Jersey, an experienced DWI/DUI attorney will know 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.