When a Drunk Driving Offense Can Turn into a Criminal Prosecution in New Jersey

When a Drunk Driving Offense Can Turn into a Criminal Prosecution in New JerseyAs a general rule, a charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI) will not be the basis for a criminal prosecution in the state of New Jersey. In most situations, it will be booked as a motor vehicle offense, with proceedings in municipal court, much like other traffic infractions, such as speeding or reckless driving.

There are, however, circumstances where you can face criminal prosecution as a result of an arrest for drinking and driving. New Jersey law allows prosecutors to file criminal charges against anyone booked for DWI if there was a minor in the vehicle at the time of the traffic stop and arrest. The offense may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor-like offense, or may be an indictable offense, such as endangering the welfare of a child (EWC).

There is no language in the EWC statute that expressly indicates that driving under the influence with a minor in the car constitutes child endangerment, but prosecutors in New Jersey have successfully made that connection in the past.

It’s important to understand that, should you be pulled over and taken into custody for drinking and driving, while you have minors in the car, the court will have to find you guilty of drunk driving before it can find you guilty of DWI with a minor, including child endangerment. The two offenses are separate and one is contingent on the other. If you are not convicted of a DWI, you cannot be prosecuted for a DWI with a minor or for endangering the welfare of a child.

Be aware, though, that if you are detained for drunk driving and there are minors in the car, you can be charged with both DWI with a minor and with endangering the welfare of a child.

Contact Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich

To schedule a free initial consultation, contact my office online or call me at 732-257-1137. Evening and weekend consultations are available by appointment. I accept all major credit cards.

What Happens If a Pennsylvania Resident Gets a DUI in New Jersey

Unrecognizable blurry police car lights and police force officer on night road background, crime scene, night patrolling the city.

Many Pennsylvania residents find themselves driving in New Jersey every day. As one of the six states that border Pennsylvania, New Jersey is a popular destination to travel for business, daytrips, dinner, or vacation. If a Pennsylvania resident is driving on New Jersey roads, this means that he or she will be subject to New Jersey’s driving laws during that time, including New Jersey’s strict laws against and penalties for driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or marijuana.

If you are a Pennsylvania resident that is arrested, charged, or convicted of DUI or DWI in New Jersey, it is important to contact an experienced drunk driving attorney who is licensed in New Jersey and who regularly practices in New Jersey courts as soon as possible. An NJ attorney will be more familiar with the local court systems and how to defend your case, and you may be able to have the charges against you dismissed completely.

If you are convicted of drunk driving, drugged driving, or driving while high in the Garden State, the consequences could be severe and even result in you losing your out-of-state Pennsylvania driver’s license.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Driver Licenses Compact (DLC)

The state of Pennsylvania is technically part of the Drivers License Compact (or DLC), which was created to provide uniformity amongst participating states regarding documentation and record keeping for licenses, suspensions, convictions and other information related to driving privileges in the United States. The only states that are not members are Georgia, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Tennessee.

However, it is important to recognize that Pennsylvania includes some exceptions to its participation in the DLC – specifically that Pennsylvania does not assess points for minor offenses and will only transfer points from another state under certain conditions.

What This Means if You are a PA Resident Who Gets a DUI or DWI in New Jersey

First, if you are convicted in New Jersey, you will be subject to all penalties under New Jersey law, including fines and potential jail time. Furthermore, Pennsylvania does recognize out-of-state drunk driving convictions. This means that if you are convicted in New Jersey, the New Jersey state motor vehicle commission will report the conviction to the Pennsylvania Division of Motor Vehicles (PennDOT), and it will become a part of your driving record. If you are in a position where this could affect your job, employment prospects, parole, or other status, you will want to contact a New Jersey licensed attorney to defend against the charges before you are convicted – especially if you have a CDL or commercial driver’s license.

At the same time, Pennsylvania will not suspend a resident’s Pennsylvania driver’s license because of an out-of-state DUI conviction if it is the person’s first actual DUI or DWI conviction – meaning there are no previous DUI/DWIs including one that was resolved through the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program.

Pennsylvania will treat the out-of-state conviction as a violation of Section 3802(a)(2) prohibiting the operation of a motor vehicle with the blood content of at least .08 but less than .10. Therefore, it is possible that you could lose your driving privileges on New Jersey roads under New Jersey’s laws, but still be allowed to drive elsewhere under your Pennsylvania license.

Nonetheless, if you are convicted in New Jersey (or another state), it is important that you divulge this information if you ever apply or re-apply for a Pennsylvania driver’s license. Failure to answer license application questions truthfully could result in your license being canceled, suspended, or otherwise voided.

New Jersey DUI Defense Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help Residents from Another State who are Arrested in this State

Whether you live in New Jersey or you are just visiting, a charge for driving under the influence is a serious matter. If you or someone you know is arrested or charged with drunk driving, drugged driving, or driving while high, only a good defense can help get the charges dismissed. A good attorney can make a big difference. To speak with an experienced 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 Jersey Statewide Drunk Driving Crackdown

A police officer holds the breath test machine for a suspect

The semi-annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement initiative begins this week, and the crackdown will last until Tuesday, September 3, 2019 – the day after Labor Day.

During the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign time-frame, which happens twice a year, police departments across the Garden State are permitted additional funding to pay officers overtime in order to better patrol New Jersey streets, roads, and highways to catch drivers who might be driving while intoxicated.  If you choose to get behind the wheel and drive drunk, drive high, or drive drugged, there is a higher chance that you will be caught and arrested from now until Labor Day is over.

“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Campaign

This year, New Jersey’s Division of Highway Traffic Safety has set aside $540,000 in funds to give to 110 different law enforcement agencies around the state.  Those police departments are expected to use the money to pay extra police officers to work overtime to monitor for signs of intoxicated driving and other traffic violations.  Additionally, around 300 other police departments are expected to participate in the program, despite not receiving any additional funding.

During last year’s campaign, nearly 1,200 DUI arrests were made, 20 DUI/DWI checkpoints were established, and 6,200 overtime hours were paid to law enforcement officers on patrol.  Additional tickets were also issued for traffic violations, including nearly 5,000 additional speeding tickets, 3,200 seat belt violations, and 1,500 tickets for texting and driving.

List of Towns and Departments Receiving Additional Funding During the 2019 Summer Initiative

Between now and September 3, 2019, you can expect increased police presence from the following departments, as well as in other towns, to be on high alert for any signs of suspicious or erratic driving that could be a sign of drunk driving, drugged driving, or driving while high.

Atlantic County

  • Atlantic City Police Department
  • Egg Harbor Township Police Department
  • Galloway Police Department
  • Hamilton Police Department
  • Hammonton Police Department
  • Mullica Police Department

Bergen County

  • Bergenfield Police Department
  • Fort Lee Police Department
  • Garfield Police Department
  • Hillsdale Police Department
  • Lyndhurst Police Department
  • Mahwah Police Department
  • Maywood Police Department
  • New Milford Police Department
  • Paramus Police Department
  • Teaneck Police Department

Burlington County

  • Bordentown Township Police Department
  • Cinnaminson Police Department
  • Delran Police Department
  • Evesham Police Department
  • Medford Lakes Police Department
  • Mount Laurel Police Department
  • New Hanover Police Department
  • Palmyra Police Department
  • Riverside Police Department

Camden County

  • Camden County Police Department
  • Gloucester Township Police Department
  • Haddon Heights Police Department
  • Pennsauken Police Department
  • Pine Hill Police Department
  • Stratford Police Department

Cape May County

  • Lower Township Police Department
  • Middle Township Police Department
  • North Wildwood Police Department

Cumberland County

  • Bridgeton Police Department
  • Vineland Police Department

Essex County

  • Bloomfield Police Department
  • Essex County Sheriff’s Department

Gloucester County

  • Deptford Police Department
  • East Greenwich Police Department
  • Elk Police Department
  • Glassboro Police Department
  • Greenwich Police Department
  • Harrison Police Department
  • Logan Police Department
  • Mantua Police Department
  • Monroe Police Department
  • Pitman Police Department
  • Rowan University
  • Washington Police Department
  • Westville Police Department
  • Woolwich Police Department

Hudson County

  • Guttenberg Police Department
  • Hoboken Police Department
  • Hudson County Sheriff’s Department
  • Jersey City Police Department
  • Kearny Police Department
  • Union City Police Department

Hunterdon County

  • Clinton Police Department
  • Lebanon Police Department
  • West Amwell Police Department

Mercer County

  • Ewing Police Department
  • Hamilton Police Department
  • Hightstown Police Department
  • Trenton Police Department

Middlesex County

  • Dunellen Police Department
  • Edison Police Department
  • Monroe Police Department
  • North Brunswick Police Department
  • Old Bridge Police Department
  • Sayreville Police Department

Monmouth County

  • Allentown Police Department
  • Brielle Police Department
  • Eatontown Police Department
  • Howell Police Department
  • Middletown Police Department

Morris County

  • Chester Township Police Department
  • Hanover Police Department
  • Jefferson Police Department
  • Morris County Park Police
  • Morristown Police Department
  • Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Department
  • Rockaway Borough Police Department
  • Rockaway Township Police Department

Ocean County

  • Berkeley Police Department
  • Jackson Police Department
  • Seaside Heights Police Department

Passaic County

  • Bloomingdale Police Department
  • Clifton Police Department
  • City of Passaic Police Department
  • Passaic County Sheriff’s Department
  • Paterson Police Department
  • Pompton Lakes Police Department
  • Woodland Park Police Department

Salem County

  • Carneys Point Police Department

Somerset County

  • Bedminster Police Department
  • Branchburg Police Department
  • Green Brook Police Department
  • Hillsborough Police Department
  • Manville Police Department
  • Montgomery Police Department
  • Somerville Police Department
  • South Bound Brook Police Department
  • Warren Police Department

Sussex County

  • Franklin Borough Police Department
  • Hopatcong Police Department
  • Sparta Police Department
  • Vernon Police Department

Union County

  • Linden Police Department
  • Union Township Police Department

Warren County

  • Hackettstown Police Department

New Jersey DUI / DWI Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Is Ready to Help

Whether it’s a holiday or any other day, there’s not good time to be pulled over for drunk driving.  But if you or someone you know IS arrested, an experienced attorney should be the first person you call. A good lawyer can make all the difference.  To speak with an experienced 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.

Anonymous 911 Calls and Tips Can Be the Basis for a DWI Car Stop

Person driving and making a phone callYou swerve around a curve just a little and someone anonymously reports to the police that you are driving recklessly or dangerously. All of a sudden, you are pulled over by a police officer who as far as you know, did not see you violate any traffic laws. You are subsequently given field sobriety tests, or your car is searched. Before you know it, you are arrested and charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or possession of CDS. Is this legal in New Jersey? Unfortunately, yes.

Legal Basis for Initial Stop

The general rule is that a police officer must have a legal reason to stop your vehicle.  For the majority of drivers who are eventually charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the driver is not originally pulled over for drunk driving.  Usually, the driver is pulled over for another reason – some type of traffic violation or breaking a motor vehicle code law – such as speeding, a broken headlight or taillight, swerving over the double yellow lines in the middle of the road, or having an expired license.

A police officer must have at least a “reasonable suspicion” that a crime or traffic violation happened to allow for the stop until the officer confirms or dispels the suspicion.  This is lower than the standard needed to arrest a driver for DUI/DWI and ask them to submit to a breathalyzer test – known as “probable cause.” It is not unusual for a stop based on “reasonable suspicion” to turn into “probable cause.”  If the initial stop is not sufficient to meet the standard of “reasonable suspicion,” a good lawyer may be able to challenge the reason for the stop and have the entire DWI or DUI case thrown out.

The best way to avoid getting pulled over in the first place is to obey all traffic laws and never drive with an expired license of registration.  If a driver does something obvious, like speeds or runs a red light, then it will be difficult to challenge the reason for the initial stop that could eventually lead to an arrest for drunk driving.  The one big exception to this rule is that police officers are permitted to randomly stop vehicles at established DUI checkpoints, which we have previously discussed here at the Edward M. Janzekovich Law Blog.

Anonymous Tip is Sufficient for a Stop

When it comes to anonymous tips, the situation is a little bit different because the police officer did not actually observe the driver do anything wrong such as drive recklessly or drive carelessly.  Nonetheless, both New Jersey courts and the Supreme Court have found that a police officer can pull a car over – conduct an investigative stop – based upon an anonymous tip through the 9-1-1 system. Specifically, in the case of State v. Golotta, the New Jersey Supreme Court explained that such an anonymous call is reliable enough to permit a legal stop because the person who calls 911 places his anonymity at risk by virtue of using the 9-1-1 system, which can be traced.  A 911 tip call is reliable, as long as the caller provides enough information, such as an adequate description of the vehicle, the road and direction it is going, and other similar information, so that the officer, and the court, can be sure that the vehicle stopped is the same as the one identified by the caller.

How an Experienced Attorney Can Help

Importantly, just because a caller gives this information, it doesn’t mean that the caller’s information is correct. A DUI/DWI attorney with the knowledge and experience to review the evidence in a case may be able to challenge the anonymous call or take every step to ensure that what was reported and said in the 911 call was sufficient for the police to stop the vehicle. As previously discussed, if the initial stop is illegal, a court may be required to dismiss the entire case.  For this reason, we always recommend that you contact a knowledgeable drunk driving lawyer as soon as you or someone you know is pulled over or charged with driving while intoxicated.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help Drivers Facing DUI/DWI Charges

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. An experienced drunk driving attorney will be able to take the time, sit down with you and review your case, explain what consequences you are facing, and any possible defenses you may have.  If you are charged with DUI/DWI in New Jersey, 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.

How Your Driving Record Can Affect Your Employment as a Bus Driver Under “Miranda’s Law”

Miranda's Law

As we have frequently discussed on the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog, a conviction for drunk driving is something that can become part of your permanent record. Unlike in some other states, there is no way to expunge, dismiss, clear, or hide a past DUI or DWI conviction on your record in New Jersey. Even though you can expunge certain disorderly persons or even indictable crimes from your record after a period of years, there is no means to do so for a drunk driving, drugged driving, or driving while high conviction in this state, because the DWI statute is governed by a completely different section of the law than standard crimes.

When it comes time to apply for a new job, this means that any past conviction could easily come back to haunt you. A new bill based on a New Jersey incident seeks to add bus driver to the list of jobs that may be impossible to get if you’ve ever gotten a DUI, DWI, or Refusal conviction anywhere in the country.

“Miranda’s Law”

In May of 2018, 10-year-old Miranda Vargas, of East Brook Middle School in Paramus, and her teacher were killed in a collision with a dump truck on Interstate 80 in Mt. Olive, NJ. The crash occurred when the driver made an illegal U-turn on the highway, and was broadsided by a dump truck as a result. The crash made headlines, when it was discovered that the bus driver had had his driver’s license suspended 14 times since 1975, most recently from December 2017 to January 2018.

Since then, local and federal have worked to create a new law – the Miranda Vargas School Bus Driver Red Flag law or “Miranda’s Law” – that will create a system to keep unsafe individuals from driving a school bus.

Currently, many school districts run background checks on drivers before they are hired, but these checks can be flawed in a number of ways. For instance, once a driver is hired, future violations will not be automatically reported, and the driver can continue in his or her employment if he or she does not self-report. “Miranda’s Law” would require automatic alerts be given to school districts and bus companies with 24 hours of any violation by a driver, in order for the driver to be suspended and taken off the road.

What This Means If You Are or Intend to be a Bus Driver

If “Miranda’s Law” becomes law, the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) could implement a nationwide employer notification service, and employers would automatically be notified in real-time when a bus driver’s license status changes because he or she received a moving violation or had his or her license suspended or revoked, for instance, due to receiving a DUI or DWI.

Based on this, it could mean that if you receive or have ever received a drunk driving, drugged driving, or driving while high conviction or conviction for refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test, you will be unable to get a job as a bus driver or transporting children in the future. Furthermore, because the reporting requirements are nationwide, a DUI/DWI in New Jersey could affect your job prospects in another state even if you move – and a license suspension in another state will be reported to any employer or school district in New Jersey.

Accordingly, if you or someone you know is ever arrested, charged, or convicted of driving while intoxicated, you should contact a lawyer who specializes in DUI defense immediately. For
many public employees, such as bus drivers, a DUI or DWI conviction can have long-standing consequences, becoming an issue that could cost the driver a job, a promotion, raise, or
eligibility in the future.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Understands How a DUI or DWI Can Affect Your Job

The penalties for drunk driving are severe. It can affect your ability to work and earn a living for your family and loved ones. If you or someone you know is charged with DUI or DWI, an experienced lawyer can also make sure you get the best result possible. A good attorney can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI/DUI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

Suspended License Jail Terms Must be Served Continuously

Man in jail cellAs previously discussed, if you are convicted of drunk driving, drugged driving, or driving high in New Jersey, one of the most serious penalties you can face is having your license suspended.  If you are subsequently convicted for driving with a suspended or revoked license, it becomes a felony offense and the Court will sentence you to jail.  This sentence could be 180 days or more!  Also, when you serve this 180-day jail sentence, there is absolutely no parole under the law.

In the past, some judges have chosen to be lenient or forgiving to defendants by letting them serve these terms intermittently, meaning that the jail sentence could be served just on certain weeknights or on weekends with breaks in between.  In the recent case of State v. Rodriguez, decided at the end of May, the New Jersey Supreme Court made it very clear that this kind of intermittent service was no longer allowed.

Intermittent Service of a Jail Term

In certain cases, New Jersey law allows a judge to issue a sentence with certain considerations, like being permitted to just serve time in jail at night or on weekends so that the defendant can continue to work and provide for his or her family or participate in training or educational programs.  Under N.J.S.A. 2C:43-2(b)(7), a judge is permitted to break up a jail term, as long as the defendant serves his or her entire sentence.  This is because periodic release during an intermittent sentence does not reduce the total time of confinement but only interrupts the days of custody.

State v. Rodriguez

In State v. Rodriguez, the Supreme Court considered five different defendants in a consolidated matter.  In all of those cases, defendants had previous DUIs/DWIs and had their licenses revoked.  They were subsequently arrested and convicted of driving on a suspended license, resulting in 180-day jail terms under N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26.  During sentencing, the trial court judge allowed three of the defendants to serve their jail sentences on the weekends, while two others served their sentences four nights per week.

State prosecutors appealed the trial judge’s decision and argued that intermittent sentencing was forbidden by the law for defendants convicted of driving with a suspended license.  The defendants countered, arguing that intermittent release for driving on a suspended license is no different than how it could be applied for any other crime under N.J.S.A. 2C:43-2(b)(7), pursuant to the judge’s discretion.  The defendants also argued that periodic service was not barred under the prohibition against early release or parole, since defendants were still required to serve all 180 days of the prison term.

The Supreme Court ultimately sided with the state prosecutors, deciding that the Drunk Driving Suspended License law requires a convicted defendant to serve his entire sentence in one continuous period.  Ultimately, this makes the penalties for drunk driving and driving on a restricted license even stricter, and makes it even more important for you to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible if you or someone you know gets arrested, charged, or convicted of DUI, DWI or driving on a restricted license.

New Jersey Defense Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help If You’ve Been Caught Driving With a Suspended or Restricted License

If you or someone you know is arrested, charged, or convicted of driving on a restricted license as the result of a DWI or refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test, the consequences are dire.  You won’t want just any attorney to represent you.  An experienced DUI/DWI 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.

Your Case Could Be Dismissed if You’ve Been Arrested or Charged with DUI or DWI Due to Drugs

Woman pulled over by policeAs we have frequently discussed here on the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog, you can be arrested, charged, or convicted of driving while intoxicated as the result of drugs or marijuana in the same way you can be charged for drunk driving.  New Jersey’s DUI and DWI laws include any form of intoxication – even from prescription medications or other legal drugs.

At the same time, as we have also discussed before on the Edward M. Janzekovich DUI/DWI blog, there are few, if any, reliable methods of testing for drug intoxication.  Unlike drunk driving, which can be tested with a state mandated and prescribed breathalyzer test that follows strict rules, there are no magic tests that can detect drugged driving or current intoxication due to marijuana or other drugs.

Accordingly, the government is often forced to rely on a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) to determine if someone is actually legally impaired after he or she has been arrested.  The state must then use circumstantial or observational evidence – as opposed to scientific evidence – to support their case that the driver was actually intoxicated AT THE TIME that he or she was operating the vehicle.  This type of evidence can be extremely unreliable.  A good attorney will know how to attack and defend against any use of this evidence.  In the end, a good attorney may even be able to get the case dismissed completely.

Many believe that the work of good attorneys in pointing out the flaws in prosecuting drugged driving cases is leading to more and more DUI/DWI cases being dismissed every year.

Why Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) are Unreliable

Since there is currently no technology that would allow a police officer to quickly determine whether or not a driver has been driving under the influence of many drugs, local police departments must rely on DREs.  According to recent statistic, New Jersey has more than 500 drug recognition experts— more than any other state except California.

A DRE is a police officer who has special training in identifying if someone is intoxicated or impaired.  No blood, urine, or breath tests are involved.  The DRE may also receive training to determine what kind of drugs the person is on.

Since DREs rely on mostly subjective observations, their abilities are increasingly being called into question. Some of the things a DRE looks for may include droopy eyelids, dilated pupils, a racing pulse, red eyes, or slowed involuntary responses to stimuli.  However, no two DREs are exactly the same.  What one DRE might think is slow may not be considered slow by another DRE.

For example, one part of the DRE standard evaluation includes observations regarding muscle tone – whether a driver’s muscles appear loose, tight, rigid, or flaccid.  Defense attorneys and experts have called into question this test, because there is no clear distinction between these muscle states and any differences in muscle tone can be caused by more than drugs.

Challenges in Court Have Resulted in Dismissals

For the reasons stated above, as well as for many other reasons, the reliability of DREs is being called into question – in New Jersey courts and in other places around the country.  As previously discussed on this blog, there has even been a federal court case challenging the reliability of DREs.  Many defendants have been wrongfully accused of driving under the influence of drugs, based on DRE evidence, even though subsequent blood tests showed no drugs in the system whatsoever.

Accordingly, if you or someone you know is ever arrested or charged with drugged driving, you have a constitutional right to challenge the evidence against you.  A good lawyer will be able to review the circumstances of your case and determine if the police officers acted appropriately, including whether a DRE’s testimony is reliable.  A good attorney may be able to have your case dismissed or thrown out of court completely.

New Jersey Drugged Driving Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Will Fight for Your Rights

In order to win its case, the police and prosecutor must be able to prove that you took drugs or alcohol AND that the drugs or alcohol actually impaired your ability to drive when you were actually behind the wheel.  If you or someone you know is charged with DUI or DWI, it is important to speak to an experienced attorney right away.  A good lawyer can present the best defense in your case and 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.

Suspended License Exception and Hardship Licenses in New Jersey for Medical, Work or Familial Reasons

A form from the DMV suspending a driver's license.

As you probably know, if you are convicted of drunk driving in this state, one of the harshest penalties you could face is losing your license. First time offenders can lose their license for 3 months or more, while repeat offenders can lose their license for up to 10 years! During that time, you cannot drive yourself to work, you cannot drive to the store to get groceries, you cannot even drive to provide for your family members.

Here on the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog, we have previously discussed that there are NO EXCEPTIONS in the Garden State for drivers who have had their license suspended or revoked – no matter what the circumstances. A person who has lost his or her license in New Jersey CANNOT legally drive for any reason, and getting caught driving with a suspended license can make things even worse! Recent legislation being considered may offer a small exception to this rule, but it is unlikely to apply in all circumstances.

Hardship Licenses in New Jersey

First, as noted above, New Jersey does not currently offer a suspended license exception. In some other states, a special restricted license exists for persons who have had their driving privileges revoked – usually referred to as a hardship license. A hardship license can allow drivers to get to work and back, or to go to medical appointments, or to care for children.

In New Jersey, a person can lose his or her license for many reasons, including amassing too many parking tickets. The minimum license suspension period is 3 months for anyone convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, depending on a drivers’ blood alcohol content at the time of the arrest.

Since New Jersey does not have a hardship license exception, someone who loses his or her license may need to depend on others in order to continue to work or provide for his or her family. This may require having a family or friend do the driving, carpooling with coworkers, or using expensive services like Uber or Lyft.

Even when a driver’s period of license suspension is over, the person cannot drive until he or she takes all the necessary steps to have the license restored.

Proposed Hardship License Legislation

Last year, Ocean County Assemblyman Ron Dancer introduced legislation seeking to create a special license option for drivers with a suspended license. This occurred based on a recommendation from the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee Report on Municipal Operations, Fines, and Fees last summer.
Since introduction, this issue has been discussed in the media and has faced some opposition. Similar legislation has been proposed before, but was not successful at the time. It is unclear if this proposal stands a better chance of success now.

As proposed, the bill would not create an exception for all persons. Only persons with non-point suspensions would be considered for a hardship license – such as persons who lost their license for unpaid parking tickets. The special license holders would be permitted to drive between home and work or school between specific hours. Anyone who received a restricted license as the result of DUI or DWI would not be eligible.

For that reason, if you or someone you know is charged with drunk driving, it is best to first consult with an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as possible to fight the charges against you. If you lose your license due to a drunk driving conviction, there is no exception for your suspension penalty in New Jersey.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Understands What is At Stake if You are Convicted

If you are found guilty of drunk driving in the Garden State, the penalties can affect your ability to work and provide for your family or loved ones. If you or someone you know is charged with DUI or DWI, it is important to speak to an experienced attorney right away. 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.

Immigration Enforcement and 123 Person ICE Arrest Update Related to Driving Under Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

Police car on the street

Here on the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog, we regularly warn our readers that an arrest or conviction for driving while intoxicated can carry extremely heavy consequences that extend beyond monetary fines, loss of driving privileges, or jail time.  Depending on who you are, if you are convicted, it could mean losing your job, losing future employment opportunities, or even losing your ability to be with your loved ones.

As previously discussed here on the law blog, another exceptional consequence that may affect some individuals is the risk of deportation.  Last month, reports indicated that United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in New Jersey arrested 123 individuals after targeting persons with prior arrests or convictions for DUI or DWI.

123 Foreign Nationals Arrested by ICE in New Jersey in April

In April, 123 foreign nationals were arrested by ICE by the federal immigration agents of the Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Newark Field Office.  This was the culmination of  a month-long operation.  90% of the individuals arrested had prior criminal convictions and/or pending criminal charges.

Government officials investigated people who were arrested on criminal and quasi-criminal charges in New Jersey courts – many of these included charges for driving while intoxicated as the result of alcohol or drugs.  Once someone is convicted of a quasi-crime like drunk driving, their immigration status becomes part of the public record and can be used to locate the person. ICE officials were able to target, arrest, and schedule individuals for deportation after these persons were identified in public court proceedings.

Notably, some of these immigration arrests were related to pending criminal charges, which means that the individuals were not yet even convicted of the alleged crimes.  The immigration arrests came regardless of if the person was found innocent of the charge.

Statistics show that the persons arrested by ICE were citizens of multiple other countries including Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Poland, Spain, and Trinidad.  These persons were originally arrested in 14 of the 21 counties across the state, including: Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, and Union County.  One person was also arrested in Pennsylvania.

This is not the first time that this has happened.  As discussed previously on the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog, similar arrests were made last summer, when 37 persons were arrested by ICE and ERO officials.

A DUI Arrest Can Affect Immigrants and Lead to Deportation

A conviction for driving under the influence will become part of your permanent record, unless it is successfully appealed or dismissed.  Typically, anyone who is convicted will face penalties such as fines, loss of driving privileges, and jail time.  In certain cases, drivers may face additional consequences detailed under other parts of state or federal law.  For instance, commercial drivers (persons with a CDL) may lose their CDL privileges completely.  Others may lose their job or their right to work in public or private positions.

For non-citizens, New Jersey Courts generally warn any defendant that a conviction could also result in additional consequences such as deportation, especially for persons in violation of federal immigration laws.  Non-citizens are always advised to contact an attorney to fully discuss potential consequences.

For that reason, if you or someone you know is charged with drunk driving, it is best to first consult with a knowledgeable DUI attorney before going to court to make sure you fully understand your rights and options.   In those special cases where you believe a conviction might result in your deportation or the deportation of someone you know, it becomes absolutely essential to contact a skilled New Jersey DUI/DWI attorney as soon as possible, in order to present the best possible defense before it is too late.  In certain cases, an experienced drunk driving defense attorney will also work with an immigration attorney to get the best result in your situation.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich that the Penalties You Are Facing Could be Life-Changing

If you plead guilty or are found guilty of drunk driving, the consequences could change your life.  If you or someone you know is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is important to speak to an experienced attorney right away.  A good lawyer 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.

Actor Vince Vaughn Found Guilty After Drunk Driving Arrest at Sobriety Checkpoint

Lit up police car lights at night

Well-known Hollywood celebrity, actor, and comedian, Vince Vaughn, was convicted on charges of reckless driving this week, stemming from his arrest for at a DUI checkpoint in Manhattan Beach, California last June.  Because the arrest occurred in California, Mr. Vaughn’s attorney was able to negotiate a plea deal on his behalf to reduced charges and no jail time.  The arrest occurred after Mr. Vaughn was stopped at a DUI check point, also known as a sobriety checkpoint.

If the arrest had occurred in New Jersey, Mr. Vaughn would have likely been subject to increased charges and consequences.  This news comes at a particularly relevant time as some Central Jersey and North Jersey towns and counties are preparing to increase DWI checkpoint usage.

Vince Vaughn’s Arrest

Vince Vaughn is an American actor, producer, screenwriter, and comedian who is most well-known for his roles in the films Old School, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, and Wedding Crashers, as well as in the second season of the HBO series True Detective.

Last June, Vaughn was pulled over a DUI checkpoint in Manhattan Beach, California at 4 a.m.  Reports indicated that, at the time of the arrest, Mr. Vaughn refused to exit his vehicle repeatedly when asked to do so.  When he finally did exit the vehicle, he reportedly failed a sobriety test and a subsequent blood alcohol test.

Vaughn originally faced serious charges for driving under the influence.  His attorney was able to negotiate a plea on his behalf and he plead “no contest” to alcohol-related reckless driving with three years of probation and attendance in a three-month program.

New Jersey Checkpoints

In New Jersey, police officers are permitted to establish sobriety checkpoints as long as the checkpoint was created based on certain legal requirements, including that the checkpoint must be clearly identified and publicly identified.  Cars must be randomly or neutrally selected for stops and inspection (meaning all cars must be stopped or every third car must be stopped, but police officers cannot single out certain vehicles).  Once a car is stopped, the length of the stop must be reasonable.

Unlike a traffic stop, police officers do not need reasonable suspicion to stop a car at a DUI checkpoint.

However, a police officer will still need consent or probably cause to further detain or search a vehicle beyond a preliminary stop and investigation.  That means that a driver must consent to have his or her vehicle searched, or the officer will need to have seen signs of intoxication.

South Brunswick and Middlesex County Checkpoints

The South Brunswick Police Department and Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office have already indicated that officers in these areas will increase drunk driving patrol efforts over the following weeks, in light of prom and graduation season.  Without a doubt, other counties and police departments across the state will follow suit as summer draws near.

One of the tools used by these law enforcement agencies will be DWI checks.  The South Brunswick Police have indicated that they will even begin to place these on major roadways like Rt. 1.  Since the beginning of 2019, South Brunswick Township reports show that 32 people were arrested for driving while impaired and eight motor vehicle crashes have been attributed to impaired driving in that town alone.

New Jersey DUI / DWI Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Can help if You’ve Been Arrested

Here at the Edward M. Janzekovich law offices, we know that an arrest for drunk driving could change your life.  If you or someone you know has been charged, arrested, or convicted of DUI or DWI related to drugs or alcohol, it is important to have an experienced attorney review your case as soon as possible.  Hiring the right 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.