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.

The Effects of Blood Alcohol Concentration

An alcoholic drink and car keys

Alcohol functions by slowing down the body, including slowing down the function of the brain, how the brain thinks, and how the body reacts.  As a person drinks, alcohol is absorbed into the body and into the blood, increasing blood alcohol concentration or BAC.  BAC is measured by the weight of the alcohol in a certain volume of blood. As BAC increases, the negative effects of the blood in slowing down the body and reaction times also increases.  As previously discussed on the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog, the legal limit in New Jersey and across the country for BAC is .08 grams of alcohol per deciliter (g/dL) of blood or .08%.

However, .08% is not a magic number that marks the border between intoxication and sobriety.  It is just an arbitrary number set by legislators.  What this means is that a person can appear drunk before he or she has a BAC of .08%.  In fact, for this very reason, the legal BAC used to be higher at .10%., and it was recently reduced to .05% in Utah.  Other states, such as California, are also considering reducing the legal limit.  On the other hand, many people appear perfectly fine with a BAC over .08% and you cannot tell that they would be legally drunk.

What this means is that every person is different, and alcohol will affect every person differently.  A recent report by the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) attempts to discuss and define how people will act depending on their current BAC.  However, these descriptions are just based on averages.  Again, a person may act more or less intoxicated than described in the report.

The Effects of Blood Alcohol Concentration

Although every person is different, all people can be affected by alcohol in sufficient quantities – and the higher the amount of alcohol in the blood, the more noticeable the effects.

BACTypical EffectsPredictable Effects on Driving
.02Some loss of judgment; relaxation, slight body warmth, altered moodDecline in visual functions (rapid tracking of a moving target), decline in ability to perform two tasks at the same time (divided attention)
.05Exaggerated behavior, may have loss of small-muscle control (e.g., focusing your eyes), impaired judgment, usually good feeling, lowered alertness, release of inhibitionReduced coordination, reduced ability to track moving objects, difficulty steering, reduced response to emergency driving situations
.08Muscle coordination becomes poor (e.g., balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing), harder to detect danger; judgment, self-control, reasoning, and memory are impairedConcentration, short-term memory loss, speed control, reduced information processing capability (e.g., signal detection, visual search), impaired perception
.10Clear deterioration of reaction time and control, slurred speech, poor coordination, and slowed thinkingReduced ability to maintain lane position and brake appropriately
.15Far less muscle control than normal, vomiting may occur (unless this level is reached slowly or a person has developed a tolerance for alcohol), major loss of balanceSubstantial impairment in vehicle control, attention to driving task, and in necessary visual and auditory information processing

Why Timing is Important – And Why It Is So Difficult to Estimate BAC

Unfortunately, this chart may not help you decide whether or not you are too drunk to drive or whether or not you can drive legally.  First, alcohol does not enter the blood stream and take effect immediately.  If you drink a shot or two of hard liquor, you won’t immediately feel its effects.  If you get in a car and drive right away, you may become slowly more intoxicated after you start driving.  If you are pulled over, you will continue to get more drunk as you are tested, and you may be actually register as even more intoxicated when you take a breathalyzer test than when you were actually driving.  Second, because every person handles alcohol differently, you may not feel the effects of alcohol at all, even if you are over the legal limit.  This won’t matter under the law.  If you are tested and your BAC is over .08%, it is considered a per se violation, meaning you can be convicted of drunk driving even if your reaction time is perfect.

NJ Driving While Drunk Defense Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help if You’ve Been Charged

If you or someone you know is arrested, charged, or convicted of drunk driving, you will need to contact a seasoned DUI or DWI defense attorney immediately.  A good lawyer understands how alcohol works and affects people differently.  An experienced attorney will be able to use this information to present the best defense in your case.  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.

Drinking in a Parked Vehicle and the Glove Box Defense

Drunk Driver being pulled over by police copsIt is common knowledge that it is illegal to drive while intoxicated in New Jersey.  However, in order to be convicted, a state prosecutor must prove that a driver actually operated the vehicle while he or she was intoxicated, not before he or she got drunk.  Therefore, a defendant should not be charged for being intoxicated in a parked car if there is no proof that he or she drove the vehicle after becoming drunk.   Nonetheless, defendants are charged on a regular basis with DUI or DWI, despite never driving drunk, because the police officer discovered the driver drinking or sleeping in a parked vehicle.

If you, or someone you know, is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after drinking in a parked vehicle, contact an attorney as soon as possible.  You may be entitled to something known as the “glove box” defense.  Based on this defense, a driver may be able to demonstrate that he or she is not guilty if he or she can show that consumption of alcohol occurred after the vehicle was parked.  This is a complicated defense, however, and it will be very difficult to assert your innocence without an attorney who understands all of the factors involved with asserting the defense and is willing to convince a Court that the defense applies.

State v. Snyder, 337 N.J. Super. 59, 61 (App. Div. 2001).

The “glove box” defense is most popularly associated with the case of State v. Snyder, a 2001 case from the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division.  It has been revisited on several occasions, including most recently in State v. Langan, in 2016.

According to Snyder, in establishing the “glove box” defense, there are several important factors.

  1. Whether or not he or she drank at some location prior to drinking in the parked vehicle.
  2. Whether or not he or she was driving erratically prior to parking the vehicle.
  3. Whether or not he or she can prove that drinking occurred in the vehicle, including that he or she had access to alcohol while in the vehicle.
  4. How long the vehicle had been parked.

The first factor is important because evidence of drinking somewhere else before parking the vehicle could establish that the driver drove drunk before parking.

The second factor could be considered evidence of drunk driving, particularly if a police officer, witness, or camera captures erratic driving or an accident.

The third factor is important because a driver cannot take advantage of the “glove box” defense if he or she cannot demonstrate access to a source of alcohol in the parked vehicle.

The fourth and final factor is important to showing how much time the driver had to drink and become intoxicated while in the parked vehicle.

NJ Drunk Driving Defense Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Determine What Defenses Exist in Your Case

Defending against charges for driving while intoxicated is not easy.  An experienced attorney will be able to determine what defenses do and do not apply in your case, as well as what evidence you need to prove that defense.  Convincing a court that a defense applies can be extremely complicated.  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.

Drunk Driving in a Self-Driving Car

Drunk Driving in a Self Driving CarThese days, there isn’t a lot that a car can’t do. They can parallel park for you, help you stay in your lane, apply the brakes and, amazingly, even drive for you.  Self-driving cars, also known as autonomous vehicles, are famously made by Google and Tesla, but all major manufacturers have plans to roll out with driver-less vehicles in the next few years.  These vehicles of the future are expected to increase fuel efficiency and decrease the number of car accidents, since studies show that most motor vehicle accidents are due to human error.

In theory, many people stand to benefit from this technology, including anyone who might otherwise plan to get behind the wheel while distracted.  For instance, one of the first things that many people think is that this technology will eliminate the need to worry about drinking and driving.  It would be natural to assume that you can go out to your favorite bar, have a few beers, summon your vehicle to pick you up at the door step, and get home without doing anything more than tell the vehicle, “take me home.”  Unfortunately, this might just be a fantasy.  In reality, things are much more complicated.

With new developments in the self-driving car industry over the last few years, lawmakers and citizens alike have started asking whether someone can be convicted of a DUI/DWI if he or she is behind the ‘wheel’ of a self-driving car. Unfortunately, there is not a clear legal answer to that question yet in New Jersey. There are very few truly self-driving cars on the roads right now in the country, so a case involving a self-driving car and a DUI/DWI conviction simply has not yet come up in court.  However, based upon pending legislation and news, the answer seems to be pointing toward “yes,” you will be able to be convicted of a DUI/DWI while operating a self-driving car if you are pulled-over and found to be intoxicated while behind the wheel in this State.

Driver Assistance Technology vs. Autopilot

First, it is important to recognize that many cars on the road already include some of the technology that is in a self-driving car – including automatic parallel parking, automatic braking, and the ability to match speeds with other vehicles in cruise control. These features, by themselves, do not make a car fully-autonomous.  For the most part, the person behind the wheel in one of these vehicles is still in control and is considered “driving.”  Such a driver could definitely be convicted of drunk driving.

Tesla is one of the few manufacturers that includes an auto-pilot feature, which is one of the closest things to self-driving currently available.  However, even Tesla Motors specifically states that its auto-steer feature is currently still in testing, and that it should only be used on highways where there are clear lane markings or where there is another vehicle that can be directly followed.  The feature also requires the driver to periodically touch the wheel or else the feature will turn off.  Therefore, a person behind the wheel of a Tesla is still driving and is still expected to control the vehicle in certain situations and take over when the car’s computers cannot do so.  Therefore, a court will likely find that someone operating a car in autopilot could still be convicted for driving while intoxicated.

Laws Requiring Ignition Interlock Devices on All Self-Driving Cars

At some point, cars will become even smarter than they are now.  For that reason, legislators are already preparing to address those people who will want to drink and get behind the wheel of a self-driving car.  A new bill that was introduced in 2016 wants to make it a requirement for all self-driving cars sold in New Jersey to have an ignition interlock device installed in order to prevent drivers from starting the vehicle while intoxicated and evading state statutes that prohibit drunk driving. The bill, which was introduced by Assemblywoman Nancy J. Pinkin, is currently still making its way through legislative committees.

Self-Driving Vehicles and Driving Drunk

Whether or not laws like the ignition interlock requirement pass, legislators across the country are leaning towards considering any person who is behind the wheel of a vehicle to be driving, whether the car is self-driving or autonomous or completely manual.  This is because drivers in autonomous vehicles will still be seated in the driver’s seat, and will be expected to monitor the car and be available to take control in case of an emergency.  Regardless of whether a vehicle is in auto-steer or autopilot mode, the person behind the wheel will still be able to use the brake pedal and the accelerator if necessary.  This person could also take over from the computer if he or she wanted.

For that reason, the International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety, considers driving to include the actions that require a person to start the car, enter destination instructions and put the car into self-driving mode.

When it comes to DUIs and DWIs, what this means is that anyone who is behind the wheel of a self-driving vehicle can be considered the driver and in actual control of the car.  If you are pulled over and found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a court will be able to say that you are still in actual, physical control of the car.  Therefore, you could still be found guilty of DUI.  If you find yourself charged with driving under the influence at any time, no matter what technology is available in your vehicle, it is important to contact an experienced DUI attorney who can review the complicated facts of your case and explain to you what your rights.

New Jersey DWI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help Persons Suspected of Driving Drunk

If you have been arrested, charged or convicted of DWI/DUI, refusal to submit to a breath test, or driving with a restricted license, you could be facing serious penalties – jail time, heavy fines, and loss of license – that can seriously affect your ability to care and provide for yourself or your loved ones.  No matter the charges, it is extremely important to contact an experienced attorney who can explain what rights you have and is prepared to present the best defense in your case.  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.

Vince Vaughn Charged Over Weekend with DUI at Checkpoint

DUI Checkpoint

Actor and Hollywood Celebrity Vince Vaughn was charged on Friday with driving under the influence of alcohol. The charges were announced by Los Angeles County prosecutors arising from a June 10 stop at a DUI checkpoint in Manhattan Beach, California. He received three charges: misdemeanor driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, misdemeanor driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher, and misdemeanor refusing to comply with police.

Although New Jersey’s intoxicated driving law is different than California’s, the nationwide legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is the same at .08% BAC. If you are caught driving with a .08% BAC or higher anywhere in the state, you will likely face charges for driving under the influence under the state’s laws, which do not include different charges for driving under the influence of alcohol and driving while intoxicated as a result of any other substance.

If you or someone you know is arrested, charged, or convicted of DUI or DWI in the state, it is important to consult an experienced lawyer as soon as possible, because establishing a good defense can be complicated and time sensitive.

Vince Vaughn’s Arrest at a DUI Checkpoint

Vince Vaugh, the actor and comedian well-known for his roles in such films as Wedding Crashers and Dodgeball, apparently refused to get out of his vehicle when he arrived as sobriety checkpoint this summer. He subsequently failed a field sobriety test, and the results of the test were captured on a police officer’s body camera. Vaughn then also failed a blood alcohol content test showing that his BAC was .08% or higher.

The fact that he was caught on camera failing his sobriety test is important. As previously discussed on the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog, the standard field sobriety tests in New Jersey can include walking-and-turning in a straight line, standing on one foot, and performing a horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Failing these tests can provide an independent basis for the charges of drunk driving. This is in addition to failing the blood alcohol test, which was likely a breathalyzer test.

Misdemeanor DUI

On Friday, Vaughn was charged with misdemeanor DUI based on this incident. Misdemeanor DUI is charged in California for first, second, or third incidents of drunk driving wherein there is no accident or injury. Fourth or subsequent incidents, or incidents wherein there is an accident or injury may be charged as a Felony DUI.

In New Jersey, the law does not differentiate between misdemeanor (disorderly persons) or felony DUI, as drunk driving is considered a quasi-criminal offense in the state. Nonetheless, the penalties remain extremely serious and can include jail time, as well as severe fines and lengthy loss of driving privileges. Because it is considered quasi-criminal, a DUI conviction will also remain on a person’s permanent driver’s record. At the same time, a drunk driving that results in an accident or injury in New Jersey can result in additional charges depending on the specific circumstances.

If you or someone you know has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you should contact a knowledgeable attorney immediately. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, you could be facing significant charges and consequences. A good lawyer will be able to review your situation, identify the best defenses, and may even be able to have the charges against you dismissed completely.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Fight Your DUI Charges

Every person is different and every DUI or DWI case is different. If you or someone you know is charged with drunk driving or driving under the influence of any substance in New Jersey, you will want an attorney who gives you individual attention and advice that can help. A good lawyer can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

Uber Partners with New Jersey Small Towns to Combat Drunk Driving

Person using ride sharing app

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

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

How the New Program Works

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

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

Program Success

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

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

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

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

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

A conviction for drinking and driving can have serious effects on your family and livelihood. If you have already been arrested, charged, or convicted of driving while intoxicated, you will need an experienced attorney to help fight or appeal the charges against you. A good lawyer can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the State of New Jersey.

Post-Conviction Relief in DUI Cases

Man with drink and keys getting in a car.

In New Jersey, a conviction for driving while intoxicated is serious. No matter where you live, how old you are, or your current circumstances, charges for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can carry life-changing consequences. Drivers are often arrested for DUI/DWI, subsequently charged, and then can be found guilty after trial or can plead guilty to the charges, resulting in a conviction.

If you have recently been convicted of DWI it may feel hopeless and like you have no other options. However, that is where we, at the law firm of Edward M. Janzekovich come in. In certain circumstances, you may actually be able to get some relief from your drunk driving conviction, even if the trial is over or if you have already plead guilty. As a trained and experienced DUI/DWI attorney, Edward M. Janzekovich is well-versed in the area of Post-Conviction Relief and may be able to help you.

What is Post-Conviction Relief?

An application for post-conviction relief (PCR) is an attempt by a driver who has been convicted for DUI/DWI to ask the court to have that conviction erased. This generally returns a defendant to his/her respective pre-conviction position in the eyes of the court. There are few applications that can be made in municipal court that have as much usefulness in the defense of a drunk driving case as an application for PCR. Frequently, a PCR application is the only possible way of saving a defendant from a long jail term or the loss of driving privileges that may last for decades.

When are Applications for Post-Conviction Relief Made?

Generally speaking, PCR applications in drunk driving cases arise in two types of cases. First, when a defendant has been charged with a drunk driving offense that constitutes a second or third offense for sentencing purposes, a successful PCR application may permit the sentencing judge to ignore one of the defendant’s prior offense. This means that a third-time offender may be sentenced as only a second-time offender and a second-time offender may be sentenced as a first-time offender. The difference in sentencing can extremely important under the law, as subsequent offenses carry much harsher penalties.

The second type of case where a PCR application is helpful occurs when the defendant has been charged with driving on the revoked list in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40. Typically, when the underlying reason for a defendant’s license suspension stems from a drunk driving or refusal to take a breathalyzer test conviction, he or she is subject to enhanced penalties like additional license suspension and a mandatory jail term. A defendant facing such consequences can use a PCR application in an effort to vacate the underlying drunk driving conviction, and therefore avoid those additional sentencing enhancements.

Additionally, an application for PCR can also be used when trying to re-license a defendant who cannot afford to pay the motor vehicle surcharges required by a DUI/DWI conviction. A defendant who can successfully vacate a drunk driving conviction through a PCR application will be excused from paying those surcharges to the Motor Vehicle Commission.

How to File an Application for Post-Conviction Relief

The rules for filing an application for PCR can be extremely confusing. For that reason, we always advise that you contact an experienced drunk driving lawyer as soon as you can if you or a loved one has been arrested, charged, or convicted of DUI/DWI. An attorney will know if there are grounds for filing a PCR application in your case or if there are other options that can be used to appeal your case first.

Furthermore, there are strict time limitations and procedural requirements that must be followed in order to have a chance at having a PCR application granted. Typically, an application for post-conviction relief must be filed within five years after the entry of judgment of conviction or the imposition of the defendant’s sentence, although the five-year deadline can be relaxed in two circumstances. First, when the application is made based upon the assertion that the defendant’s sentence was illegal. In this scenario, there is no deadline for when you can file a PCR application. Second, if the defendant can show that the reason he/she did not file the application within the five-year deadline was based on excusable neglect (things like if the defendant was not represented at trial or was unaware of his/her rights at trial) then the court can still hear the application.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help Even if You Have Already Been Convicted

If you have been charged or convicted of DWI/DUI, refusal to submit to a breath test, or driving with a restricted license, you could be facing serious penalties – jail time, heavy fines, and loss of license – that can seriously affect your ability to care and provide for yourself or your loved ones. Whether you have just been arrested or if you have already plead guilty, it is extremely important to contact an experienced 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 in Ocean County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Union County and Somerset County.

Hunterdon County’s New Central Booking Program for Those Arrested on Suspicion of Drunk Driving

empty beer bottle and car key behind bars

Here at the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog, we make it our job to pay attention to all new developments in New Jersey drunk driving news. One of those changes set to occur in the near future could drastically affect anyone arrested in Hunterdon County on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances.

Beginning next month, those arrested in Hunterdon County for driving while intoxicated will automatically be taken to the Hunterdon County Justice Center. This means that if you are arrested for DUI or DWI in New Jersey, the process may soon change depending on where you live. The days of going to the local police department nearby, it seems, could be a thing of the past.

The New Program

Developed by the Hunterdon Sheriff Fred Brown and the county’s Police Chiefs Association with guidance from Hunterdon Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns, III, the Hunterdon County will soon be pioneering a new type of program, creating a central booking system for all drunk driving arrestees at the county Justice Center. The county indicated on February 6th that the program and location should be up and running in about a month.

This new booking program is simultaneously aimed at getting drunk drivers off the road and putting more cops on the streets. Essentially, the program allows local officers around the county to transport suspected drunk drivers to the central location for testing, rather than to each municipality’s local police department.

More Officers Patrolling the Roads

Importantly, the program sets up corrections officers that will be available to secure those who have been identified as drunk until someone picks them up at the county Justice Center. New Jersey’s John’s Law currently mandates that police impound a drunk driver’s car for 12 hours, meaning someone else needs to pick up the drunk driver from the station. Notably, John’s law also establishes potential criminal liability for anyone who picks up an arrested drunk driver, and then allows them to drive again while still intoxicated. With these corrections officers on duty, the local police officers who make the arrest will be able to quickly resume their patrols, rather than staying with the arrestee, meaning it may become more difficult for anyone on New Jersey’s roads to get away with drunk driving.

Only Two Alcotest Machines for the Whole County

Alcotest machines are the breath test machines New Jersey uses to measure the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in someone’s blood. According to the county, two new Alcotest machines will be placed at central booking. The dedicated machines and central booking will be available to all Hunterdon police departments and State Police. They may use central booking as their primary test machine, or as a backup should their machine be made unavailable.

What This May Mean for Those Arrested on Suspicion of Drunk Driving

The new program will likely eliminate the need for the county to purchase new, updated versions of Alcotest machines for each town or city, when the technology is upgraded. This is expected to occur in the near future, as the New Jersey State Government has directed that the current Drager Alcotest 7110 machines be replaced by local Police Departments some time before 2019. This update is an important change that will take place in the near future, and it is something we have been following closely here on the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog.

Moreover, New Jersey has strict laws and guidelines regarding Alcotest machines and the processing of those suspected of drunk driving, whether it is at a local police station or a central booking location. This new program will make it easier for the state to maintain its systems and keep all machines calibrated and in working order. For anyone suspected of drinking and driving, this means it will become even more difficult to defend against those charges or have those charges dismissed.

For these reasons, we always say it is important to consult an experienced DUI/DWI attorney to understand the rights and the options available to you, as soon as you or someone you know is charged with driving under the influence.

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

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

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

Drunk Driver being pulled over by police cops

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

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

Final List of Police Agencies Receiving Grants

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

CountyPolice DepartmentGrant Amount
AtlanticAtlantic Highlands PD$5,500.00
AtlanticEgg Harbor Twp PD$5,500.00
AtlanticGalloway PD$5,500.00
AtlanticHamilton PD$5,500.00
AtlanticHammonton PD$5,500.00
AtlanticMullica PD$5,500.00
AtlanticPleasantville PD$5,500.00
BergenBergenfield PD$5,500.00
BergenEdgewater PD$5,500.00
BergenEmerson PD$5,500.00
BergenFort Lee PD$5,500.00
BergenGarfield PD$5,500.00
BergenHackensack PD$5,500.00
BergenHillsdale PD$5,500.00
BergenHo-Ho-Kus PD$5,500.00
BergenLyndhurst PD$5,500.00
BergenMahwah PD$5,500.00
BergenMaywood PD$5,500.00
BergenNorth Arlington PD$5,500.00
BergenOradell PD$5,500.00
BergenPalisades Interstate Parkway PD$5,500.00
BergenParamus PD$5,500.00
BergenRidgefield Park PD$5,500.00
BergenRidgewood PD$5,500.00
BergenRiver Vale PD$5,500.00
BergenSaddle River PD$5,500.00
BergenSouth Hackensack PD$5,500.00
BergenTeaneck PD$5,500.00
BergenWyckoff PD$5,500.00
BurlingtonBurlington Twp PD$5,500.00
BurlingtonCinnaminson PD$5,500.00
BurlingtonEvesham PD$5,500.00
BurlingtonMedford PD$5,500.00
BurlingtonNew Hanover PD$5,500.00
BurlingtonRiverside PD$5,500.00
BurlingtonWestampton PD$5,500.00
CamdenBarrington PD$5,500.00
CamdenBrooklawn PD$5,500.00
CamdenCherry Hill PD$5,500.00
CamdenDelaware River and Port Authority$5,500.00
CamdenGloucester Twp PD$5,500.00
CamdenHaddon Heights PD$5,500.00
CamdenPine Hill PD$5,500.00
Cape MayLower PD$5,500.00
CumberlandMillville PD$5,500.00
CumberlandVineland PD$5,500.00
EssexBelleville PD$5,500.00
EssexBloomfield PD$5,500.00
EssexEssex County Sheriff$5,500.00
EssexGlen Ridge PD$5,500.00
GloucesterClayton PD$1,100.00
GloucesterDeptford PD$6,820.00
GloucesterGlassboro PD$6,820.00
GloucesterGreenwich PD$1,100.00
GloucesterHarrison PD$1,980.00
GloucesterLogan PD$1,100.00
GloucesterMantua PD$4,840.00
GloucesterMonroe PD$4,840.00
GloucesterPitman PD$1,100.00
GloucesterWashington PD$6,820.00
GloucesterWestville PD$1,980.00
GloucesterWoodbury Heights PD$1,100.00
GloucesterWoodbury PD$6,820.00
GloucesterWoolwich PD$2,640.00
HudsonGuttenberg PD$5,500.00
HudsonHarrison PD$5,500.00
HudsonHoboken PD$5,500.00
HudsonHudson County Sheriff$5,500.00
HudsonNorth Bergen Twp PD$5,500.00
HudsonSecaucus PD$5,500.00
HudsonUnion City PD$5,500.00
HudsonWest New York PD$5,500.00
HunterdonClinton PD$4,400.00
HunterdonClinton Twp PD$5,500.00
HunterdonFlemington PD$4,950.00
MercerEast Windsor PD$5,500.00
MercerEwing PD$5,500.00
MercerHamilton PD$5,500.00
MercerHightstown PD$5,500.00
MercerLawrence PD$5,500.00
MiddlesexCarteret PD$5,500.00
MiddlesexDunellen PD$5,500.00
MiddlesexEast Brunswick PD$5,500.00
MiddlesexEdison PD$5,500.00
MiddlesexMonroe PD$5,500.00
MiddlesexNew Brunswick PD$5,500.00
MiddlesexNorth Brunswick PD$5,500.00
MiddlesexOld Bridge PD$5,500.00
MiddlesexPiscataway PD$5,500.00
MiddlesexPlainsboro PD$5,500.00
MiddlesexSouth Brunswick PD$5,500.00
MiddlesexSouth River PD$5,500.00
MiddlesexSpotswood PD$5,500.00
MiddlesexWoodbridge PD$5,500.00
MonmouthAllentown PD$5,500.00
MonmouthDeal PD$5,500.00
MonmouthEatontown PD$5,500.00
MonmouthHolmdel PD$5,500.00
MonmouthKeansburg PD$5,500.00
MonmouthKeyport PD$5,500.00
MonmouthMiddletown PD$5,500.00
MonmouthMonmouth County Sheriff$5,500.00
MonmouthNeptune PD$5,500.00
MonmouthOcean PD$5,500.00
MonmouthSea Bright PD$5,500.00
MonmouthSea Girt PD$5,500.00
MonmouthSpring Lake Heights PD$5,500.00
MonmouthUnion Beach PD$5,500.00
MorrisBoonton PD$5,500.00
MorrisDenville PD$5,500.00
MorrisFlorham Park PD$5,500.00
MorrisHanover PD$5,500.00
MorrisJefferson PD$5,500.00
MorrisMorris County Park Police$5,500.00
MorrisMorris Plains PD$5,500.00
MorrisMorris Twp PD$5,500.00
MorrisMount Olive PD$5,500.00
MorrisRandolph PD$5,500.00
MorrisRockaway PD$5,500.00
OceanBarnegat PD$5,500.00
OceanBay Head PD$5,500.00
OceanJackson PD$5,500.00
OceanLakehurst PD$5,500.00
OceanManchester PD$5,500.00
OceanMantoloking PD$5,500.00
OceanGate PD$5,500.00
OceanPoint Pleasant Beach PD$5,500.00
OceanPoint Pleasant PD$5,500.00
PassaicBloomingdale PD$5,500.00
PassaicClifton PD$5,500.00
PassaicHawthorne PD$5,500.00
PassaicPassaic PD$5,500.00
SalemPenns Grove PD$5,500.00
SomersetBedminster PD$1,980.00
SomersetBernards PD$5,500.00
SomersetBernardsville PD$1,650.00
SomersetBound Brook PD$5,500.00
SomersetBranchburg PD$5,500.00
SomersetBridgewater PD$1,100.00
SomersetFar Hills PD$5,500.00
SomersetFranklin PD$5,500.00
SomersetGreen Brook PD$5,500.00
SomersetHillsborough PD$4,400.00
SomersetManville PD$5,500.00
SomersetMontgomery PD$5,500.00
SomersetNorth Plainfield PD$3,300.00
SomersetPeapack Gladstone PD$5,500.00
SomersetSomerset County Sheriff$5,500.00
SomersetSomerville PD$1,870.00
SomersetSouth Bound Brook PD$880.00
SomersetWarren PD$5,500.00
SomersetWatchung PD$5,500.00
SussexHopatcong PD$5,500.00
SussexSparta PD$5,500.00
SussexVernon PD$5,500.00
UnionCranford PD$5,500.00
UnionLinden PD$5,500.00
UnionRahway PD$5,500.00
UnionRoselle Park PD$5,500.00
UnionUnion PD$5,500.00
WarrenHackettstown PD$5,500.00
WarrenWashington Twp PD$770.00

What To Expect Because of the National Campaign

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

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

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

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

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

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

Close up shot of an alcohol tester

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

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

The Elements of Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test

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

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

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

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

Punishments for Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test

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

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

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

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

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

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