New Jersey Drugged Driving Defense Lawyer – New Research Finds Field Drug Identification Tests are Unreliable and Can Easily Result in False Positives

New Research Finds Field Drug Identification Tests are Unreliable and Can Easily Result in False PositivesHeadlines continue to pour in from all over the country with stories of drivers arrested for drugged driving after police officers find “drugs” in the vehicle – except it later turns out that the “drugs” were not really drugs at all and were misidentified by the drug tests used by officers in the field. Now research has backed up these stories, and it turns out many common items – from powdered sugar to baby formula to spearmint – can confuse the common drug tests used by many police departments in New Jersey and across the country.

While testing eventually proved that many of the people who were falsely accused were actually innocent, almost every person was arrested and spent time in jail and then plead guilty or plead to lesser charges before the test results came back. What this means is that, if you or someone you know is charged with DUI, DWI, drugged driving, or driving while high and the police are relying on drugs or marijuana found in the vehicle, you need to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Only a good lawyer will be able to review the evidence against you and determine how to challenge false test results of drugs or marijuana.

The Problem with the Roadside Tests

Many police departments across the country, including in New Jersey, use unreliable field drug identification tests – sometimes call presumptive field tests – to determine quickly if a substance found by a police officer is a drug or marijuana. Many of these tests rely on chemicals called reagents which change colors in the presence of specific drugs or marijuana – except scientists have known that these tests can often result in false positives.

So, why do police departments continue to use these tests?  Because the most common tests cost as little as $2 a test, while reliable tests can cost thousands of dollars.

This is how the tests work: A police officer is given a kit that usually has a variety of different vials or capsules inside. The officer then drops a sample of the suspicious substance into a little pouch and mixes it with the compounds inside the capsule, then waits. The pouch turns a specific color to tell the officer of a positive drug test result.

But depending on the reagent and the substance tested, the test may look like it found drugs, when it really was reacting incorrectly or to something else in the substance. This is known as a false positive, and it could easily lead to an arrest.

Known and Common False Positives with Roadside Tests

Here is a list of some of the more well-known problems with the presumptive field tests:

  • Cobalt thiocyanate, which is commonly used to test for cocaine, can return a false positive in the presence of methadone, Benadryl, pain relievers, acne medication and 80 other substances including household cleaners.
  • The Duquenois-Levine test kit, which is used to identify marijuana, can return a false positive in the presence of patchouli, spearmint, and eucalyptus
  • Extreme cold or extreme heat can cause false positives in some tests
  • Some tests require multiple steps, and, if performed incorrectly, can result in a false positive.
  • Most tests require the police officer to see the color of the test substances and if they have changed.  In poor or uneven lighting, a police officer can easily misinterpret what he sees.
  • No agency regulates the manufacture or sale of the tests and no records are kept on their use.

Once a test results in a false positive, the police officer will believe that he or she has found drugs. Then, the driver will be arrested for DUI/DWI, and the driver’s innocence may not be proven for months when the test results are confirmed or rejected by actual scientists in a laboratory. In the meantime, many drivers plead guilty to the charges – especially ones who are not represented by an attorney.

Because it can take as long as 6 months before results come back, many people simply cannot wait or do not know how to prove their innocence. If you or someone you know is in this situation, the first thing you should do is reach out to an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

New Jersey Drug and Marijuana Driving Defense Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help

Many innocent people are charged every day with DUI and DWI.  If you or someone you know needs help fighting false charges against you, it is important to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.  A good lawyer can make all the difference.  To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today.  We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey 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

$1,392

Progressive

$1,745

GEICO

$1,850

Allstate

$4,872

State Farm

$6,755

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.

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.

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

Police car on the street

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

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

123 Foreign Nationals Arrested by ICE in New Jersey in April

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

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

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

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

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

A DUI Arrest Can Affect Immigrants and Lead to Deportation

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

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

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

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

If you plead guilty or are found guilty of drunk driving, the consequences could change your life.  If you or someone you know is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is important to speak to an experienced attorney right away.  A good lawyer can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 1-732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

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

Lit up police car lights at night

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

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

Vince Vaughn’s Arrest

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

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

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

New Jersey Checkpoints

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

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

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

South Brunswick and Middlesex County Checkpoints

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

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

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

Here at the Edward M. Janzekovich law offices, we know that an arrest for drunk driving could change your life.  If you or someone you know has been charged, arrested, or convicted of DUI or DWI related to drugs or alcohol, it is important to have an experienced attorney review your case as soon as possible.  Hiring the right lawyer can make all the difference.  To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at  732-257-1137 or contact us online today.  We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

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.

College Drinking and Restrictions at One New Jersey College

Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that drunk driving amongst high school and college students under the age of 21 has decreased since the early 1990’s, national reports still consider college drinking to be a serious problem.  In particular, DUI and DWI amongst college students continues to be a serious cause of death and injury and can lead to many other life-altering consequences a permanent quasi-criminal record or loss of future job prospects.

A recent tragedy linked to drinking and driving at the College of New Jersey (TCNJ) highlighted these concerns.  One student died and multiple were injured – and this has also led the institution reconsidering its policies regarding on-campus drinking establishments.

College Drinking Statistics

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that almost 60 percent of college students ages 18–22 drank alcohol in the past month, and almost 2/3rds of those engaged in binge drinking during that same time-frame. Binge drinking is defined as a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL or .08%, which is the national legal limit for drunk driving.  This means that 40% of 18-22 year old college students have drank enough alcohol in one sitting to be legally convicted of drunk driving in the last month if they had also operated a motor vehicle at the same time.

Drinking at The College of New Jersey

On December 2, 2018, two vehicles including eight students were involved in a head-on collision near TCNJ.  One student died, while seven others suffered injuries including severe injuries.  One of the drivers was subsequently charged with drunk driving, seven counts of assault by auto and one count of vehicular homicide.

Subsequently, it was determined that the driver originally departed the Landmark Americana Tap & Grill in Ewing, New Jersey, earlier in the night. The Landmark is currently located on property owned by the university in an area known as “Campustown.”  The New Jersey Division of Alcohol and Business Control and Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal believe that the Landmark’s popularity amongst students, as well as some of its menu items and specials may be contributing to drunk driving and unsafe driving practices. In order to be allowed to continue doing business there, a temporary authorization permit was issued by the state and agreed to by owners of the Landmark.  Under the new rules, the Landmark will stop serving alcohol at 11 pm Thursday through Saturday and at 9:15 pm the rest of the week; discontinue selling mixed-drink “fishbowls,” pitchers and buckets of beer that reduce the bar’s ability to control consumption, and adhere to other rules addressing consumption speed and security.  The goal is to discontinue any business practices that might otherwise contribute to binge drinking.

Why College Drinking is So Serious

Many college students are living away form home for the first time when they go to college.  Furthermore, many college students have had little to no exposure to alcohol before.  Finally, alcohol can often be easily obtained in college settings These factors combine to allow for irresponsible drinking practices and often does lead to drinking and driving.

Unfortunately, the consequences for drinking and driving are no less serious for first time drinkers or college students.  Drinking and driving can cause injury or death at any age.  If you are under the legal drinking age of 21 and are arrested with any alcohol in your blood, the fines and consequences are even more serious.  As previously covered on the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog, a DUI/DWI conviction becomes part of your permanent record.  It will result in significant fines, jail time, and loss of driving privileges.  As a college student, a drunk driving conviction can also affect your future job prospects, your ability to get an internship, work, apply for jobs, or even travel out of the country.  For these reasons, if you or someone you know is arrested, charged, or convicted of drunk driving, it is important to talk to an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

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

The penalties for drunk driving can affect you for the rest of your life.  When it comes to underage drivers or students in college, the consequences can be even more severe.  If you or someone you know is arrested, charged, or convicted of drunk driving, a good lawyer can make all the difference.   To speak with an experienced New Jersey DUI 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.