New Jersey DUI/DWI Lawyer: Two New Cases Discuss Ineffective Assistance of Counsel and Drunk Driving Convictions

Drunk Driving ConvictionsHere, on the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog, we often remind our readers that a good lawyer can often help even after a driver has been convicted of DUI or DWI. Although most drivers believe that, once you have pled guilty to drunk driving, drugged driving, or driving while high, the matter is final, this isn’t true. In some situations, you can actually go back and revisit a past DWI or DUI conviction and have it dismissed.

But why would you want to?

Well, the reason this is important is because when you are convicted in New Jersey of drunk driving for a second or third time (or more), penalties get worse and worse – including increased fines, longer jail time, extended loss of driving privileges, and longer periods of driving with a Ignition Interlock Device. Successfully reopening and dismissing a past conviction – referred to as Post-Conviction Relief (PCR) – can sometimes lessen penalties for pending or future convictions.

Two recent cases passed last week and earlier this year discuss PCR, especially when the former conviction occurred as the result of not having an attorney or having a bad attorney who made a mistake or missed something during your case.

State v. Patel

In State v. Patel, which was decided on August 7, 2019, the New Jersey Supreme Court reaffirmed that every driver who is charged with DWI in the state is guaranteed a right to retain counsel or have counsel appointed.  Therefore, if a court fails to advise a defendant of his right to get a lawyer or have one appointed, then any subsequent conviction under those circumstances could deemed illegal.

In State v. Patel, the Court allowed the defendant to challenge a 1994 DWI conviction in Piscataway Municipal Court, because, at the time, he did not have an attorney and was not properly informed of his rights.   At the time, the defendant had not been able to afford an attorney, and he certified in a sworn affidavit that he was not informed that he could obtain a public defender.  The defendant was also permitted to challenge the 1994 conviction, even though over 15 years had passed since the conviction.

Based on these details, the Supreme Court determined that the 1994 conviction should not be considered by the municipal court when sentencing Mr. Patel under new charges of drunk driving.

State v. Walton

On November 1, 2019, the New Jersey Appellate Division decided the case of State v. Walton.  In this case, the Court revisited State v. Patel and considered whether or not it should apply retroactively.  The Court determined that it should, particularly to cases being appealed at the time that State v. Patel was decided.  However, the Court did not address whether it would be applied retroactively in all cases – for instance, whether it would apply to appeals or requests for PCR that had already been decided.

Ultimately, both State v. Patel and State v. Walton suggest that a past conviction, even a very old one, can be challenged.  If you or someone you know has been convicted in the past for DUI or DWI, it may not be too late to challenge that conviction.  A good lawyer may be able to reopen a past case or obtain post-conviction relief so that any future penalties will be decreased or made less severe.

New Jersey Defense Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help with Post Conviction Relief

Whether you are facing drunk driving charges now, in the future, or have already pled guilty to charges that you are now looking to appeal, a good attorney will be able to advise you of your rights. An experienced drunk driving lawyer can make all the difference.  To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI/DUI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 contact us online today.  We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Defense Blog – As Cars Become Smarter, Intoxication Detection Built In?

A new program funded by the federal government – the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety Program – seeks to install passive blood-alcohol concentration detectors in all vehicles. Supporters of the program believe the new technology can follow in the footsteps of past proposed safety measures like seatbelts, airbags, or blind-spot detection. There is even a push to make such devices mandatory for all new cars and trucks by the 2024.

How the New Technology Would Function

Unlike an ignition interlock device, the proposed alcohol detection system would work passively, meaning, a driver would not need to blow into any type of tube in order for it to work. Instead, two combined technologies would work together: a breath-based system and a touch-based system.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Defense Blog – As Cars Become Smarter, Intoxication Detection Built In?The breath-based system would pull the driver’s exhaled breath into a vent sensor on or near the steering wheel or driver’s side door. The driver would be able to breath normally and would not need to take any additional steps. The system would also be able to target only the driver’s breath, ensuring that the breath of other passengers are not captured. If an illegal blood-alcohol content (above the legal limit of .08%) is detected, the car would be rendered inoperable.

The touch-based system would be placed on the ignition button or on the steering column and would be able to measure a person’s blood alcohol content through the skin. Again, if an illegal blood alcohol concentration is detected, the vehicle would be rendered inoperable.

Congressional Attempts to Make the Technology into Law

United States Senators Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Rick Scott, R-Fla., introduced legislation last week in Congress to make this new technology a requirement for all new cars and trucks by 2024. The bill is named the “Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019,” called the RIDE Act. Part of the act will direct funding to researching the new sensors, in order to make sure the technology can work quickly and reliably with no effort on the part of the driver. The proposed law would also reserve $25 million for testing in government-owned vehicles.

Since 2008, the program has received $50 Million in funding in collaboration with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety – a group of automakers.

The hope is that, by making the technology available, people will push to have it in their vehicles, similar to current technologies like back-up cameras, blind-spot monitoring, or even self-driving vehicles.

How DWI Arrests and Convictions Could Be Affected by the Technology

If the technology is able to render a vehicle inoperable, it could reduce the number of DUIs and DWIs. However, until the technology receives better testing, there will be no way to determine its accuracy.

If a driver uses a technology to test his or her own BAC, and the technology is wrong, it will not be a defense against a DWI or DUI charge. For instance, if a driver has a BAC of .08%, but the car allows him or her to drive anyway, the driver could still be pulled over, arrested, and convicted of drunk driving.

NJ DUI/DWI Defense Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Understands How to Help

Because technology is constantly changing and improving, DUI and DWI law is constantly changing, too. If you or someone you know is arrested or charged with drunk driving, it important to consult an attorney with both a history of experience and the most up-to-date information. 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.

NJ DUI Defense Attorney Warns that Insurance Premiums Could Increase as Much as 250% After a DWI Conviction

Insurance Premiums Could IncreaseHere on the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog, we regularly discuss what can happen to you if you are convicted of drunk driving, drugged driving, or driving while high. Most people are aware that consequences include jail time, loss of driving privileges, and excessive fines. However, this does not even begin to approximate the real cost of a DUI. One thing many people forget is that a conviction will also result in increased car insurance premiums.

A new report summarizes just how much your annual car insurance premium can increase after a DUI or DWI. The average car insurance premium increase in the United States is 80% for the first year after a DUI, although this can vary greatly from state-to-state. For instance, the average increase is highest in Michigan, where most drivers who are convicted of drunk driving experience a 249% increase in car insurance premiums.

New Jersey Car Insurance Increases After DUI/DWI

New Jersey already has one of the highest car insurance costs in the country with an average annual premium cost of $1,520-$1,679. According to one report, New Jersey drivers pay an average of 132% more in the year immediately following the conviction. Moreover, because the DUI conviction becomes a permanent part of your driving record, the average convicted driver will continue to pay increased premium rates long after he or she is convicted.

In New Jersey, the average convicted driver will continue to pay 75% more on car insurance – or an average of $1,273 more. This means, instead of paying $1679 for car insurance, a person who was previously convicted will pay $2,951 per year for car insurance.

High Risk Drivers Can Expect to Pay Even More

Car insurance companies classify people into different risk categories in order to determine car insurance premium costs. With regard to most factors, recent history is the most important factor. Accidents, tickets, or convictions in the most recent year will count more than something that happened five years ago.

If you are already categorized as high risk, getting a DUI or DWI increase the cost of your insurance premiums even more. For instance, a driver under the age of 25 with a DUI may pay three times as much for insurance as someone older who had a DUI 10 years ago.

Some car insurance companies may even refuse to give you insurance, in which case you will be required to obtain high risk insurance elsewhere.

Auto Insurance Costs After DUI

If you live in New Jersey, you are probably already familiar with shopping for car insurance. The amount you pay for car insurance after a DUI/ DWI can vary greatly from company to company.

A recent survey found that the following popular companies offered these average insurance rates for drivers after a drunk driving conviction.

Insurance company

Avg. rate after DUI

New Jersey Manufacturers








State Farm


However, these numbers can change quickly and will vary from person to person based on many factors. The only guarantee is that your car insurance premium will go up if you are convicted of driving while intoxicated in this state. For that reason, if you or someone you know is charged with DUI or DWI, it is important to hire an experienced attorney as soon as you can.

New Jersey Drunk Driver Defense Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help

If you or someone you know is charged with drunk driving or driving under the influence in New Jersey, it is important to speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation. You want someone who understands the real costs and penalties you are facing. A good lawyer can make all the difference. 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.

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.