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.

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.

Yes, You Can Get Charged With DUI / DWI While Using CBD Oil

CBD OilMarijuana is a drug that comes from the cannabis plant – also referred to as weed or pot.  Marijuana is well-known for its psychoactive effects, due to a chemical compound that naturally occurs in the plant called tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.  Here, at the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog, we frequently discuss marijuana and driving, because if a police officer pulls you over and finds that you are impaired as the result of weed or pot, you can lose your license, be required to pay considerable fines, and even go to jail.

Nonetheless, as recreational and medicinal marijuana use increases, there has also been growing interest in another marijuana extract known as cannabidiol or CBD.   Some are calling CBD a “hot new product,” and with the increasing popularity of items like CBD oil, there has also been an increase in misinformation and rumors. Many people claim that that you can’t get high if you use CBD.  Based on this, others have suggested that you cannot get a DUI or DWI if you have been using CBD.  Today, we at the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog are going to take a more in-depth look at the buzz around CBD.

What is CBD?

There are approximately 483 known compounds in a marijuana plant.  THC is the main psychoactive component, meaning it is the main compound that gets users high.  CBD (which stands for Cannabidiol as stated) includes approximately 65 other compounds.

Since CBD should not include THC, pure CBD is marketed as non-intoxicating – meaning it should not get you high or make you impaired or stoned.  Instead, some people refer to CBD as the medical part of cannabis or the good part of cannabis, because it can provide pain relief and has anti-inflammatory effects. At the same time, it can also bring about a sense of relief or relaxation.

How Is CBD Oil Used?

CBD must be delivered with the help of a carrier oil, like grapeseed, coconut, or hemp oil.  Generally, anything that can incorporate oil can be combined with CBD oil, so it can be taken as drops, soft-gel capsules, tinctures, under-the-tongue sprays, used in cooking, or even absorbed through the skin as a lotion or cream.

Can CBD Get You High?  Can You Get a DUI or DWI?

CBD oil containing products should not get you high – but that does not mean that it won’t get you high.  In fact, there is no guarantee that a police officer will not charge you if you are pulled over after using a CBD product.  Here’s why:

  • First, there is no guarantee that your source of CBD is pure. Studies show that CBD works better when it is taken at the same time as THC, so it is possible that any product that provides CBD will include some amount of THC.
  • Second, even though pure CBD is marketed as non-intoxicating, all resources state that even the purest CBD oil will still contain trace amounts of THC. Consumed in a high enough quantity, CBD is known to cause users to fail a drug test.
  • Third, since CBD can cause persons to be more relaxed, calm, or comfortable, and since there is some amount of THC in CBD oil, using CBD oil can still make a person appear impaired or intoxicated.

Taken all together, if a police officer pulls you over after you have been using CBD oil, he or she may think you are intoxicated because of your relaxed appearance and possibly slowed reaction times – even if you aren’t impaired.  A subsequent blood or urine test might show positive for marijuana use.  If both of these pieces of evidence are presented, a Court may be convinced to convict you of driving while high, even though you weren’t intoxicated.

If you or someone you know has been charged as the result of CBD oil use, you will need an experienced marijuana driving defense attorney to represent you.  Only a lawyer familiar with these issues will be able to present the complicated evidence to refute the charges against you.  The reality is that the laws regarding marijuana remain flawed, and an experienced DUI attorney will be best suited to present the best defense possible in your case.

New Jersey Marijuana Driving Defense Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help if You’ve Been Wrongly Accused

There are more and more marijuana prosecutions related to driving while high every day.  If you or someone you know is charged with driving while impaired or intoxicated, you need an attorney whose expertise is in the area of DUI and DWI defense.  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.

NJ Man Found Not Guilty of Driving While High Although Found with THC in His Blood

Blood testA recent New Jersey case demonstrated why it is so important to get a good DUI / DWI defense attorney if you or someone you know is ever charged with driving under the influence of marijuana.  A South Jersey man, Patrick Miller, was charged with driving while intoxicated in addition to two counts of vehicular homicide in a 2015 accident that took two lives.  Miller was subsequently tested and found to have THC in his blood.  THC is the active ingredient in marijuana.

Based on the results of the blood test, multiple charges were brought and Miller faced up to 20 years in state prison.  Prosecutors recommended a sentence of 12 years if he agreed to plead guilty.  Instead, Miller plead not guilty, sought legal counsel, and went to trial to fight the charges against him.  This past week, he was acquitted, meaning a jury of twelve of his peers agreed that he was not guilty.

The Accident

Patrick Miller’s accident was highlighted in the news after the 28-year-old handyman lost control of his pickup truck and struck a jogger and local teacher, Allison McGinnis.  Miller’s truck then struck a tree, flipped over, and killed his passenger, David Eldridge.

The Blood Test

Miller was airlifted from the crash.  Accordingly, he was given a blood test while receiving medical treatment – blood tests are very common when a driver who is suspected of DUI or DWI is injured.  Because a breathalyzer or breath test cannot be given to a seriously injured driver, police officers will often request a warrant and get a court-ordered blood test to determine if a driver is under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants.

In this case, police officers administered a blood test to see if Miller was under the influence of any substances.  4 nanograms per milliliter of THC were found in Miller’s blood sample.  Accordingly, prosecutors blamed the accident on intoxication and decided to bring charges including Driving While Intoxicated and vehicular manslaughter, based on the theory that Miller drove his truck recklessly while intoxicated causing two deaths.

The Defense in the Case

Instead of accepting the plea deal, Miller chose to fight the charges against him.  The law requires the state to prove that a driver is actually intoxicated or impaired while operating a motor vehicle.  Experts were presented by both the prosecution and the defense to argue that the blood test results were unreliable in establishing intoxication.  In fact, Miller’s results – the THC reading of 4 nanograms per milliliter of blood – was below the level set as a standard in many of the states that have legal marijuana — 5 nanograms of THC concentration.

Furthermore, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has cautioned against using blood tests to determine cannabis impairment, and many lawyers and politicians are concerned that this arbitrary standard could lead to false accusations and flawed charges being brought against marijuana users.  One  of the major problems in prosecuting driving while high cases is that marijuana can remain in the blood stream long after a person is no longer impaired or under the influence.

In Miller’s case, other defenses included witness testimony that helped show that he was not driving erratically shortly before the accident, nor was he impaired while performing handyman work 20 minutes before the accident occurred.  Ultimately, a jury agreed with Miller and his attorney that there was not enough evidence to show that Miller was actually intoxicated or impaired while operating his vehicle.

New Jersey Marijuana Driving Defense Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Defend You if You’re Charged

The consequences for driving while high are serious.  If you or someone you know is arrested, charged or convicted, an experienced attorney will know how to defend you in a court of law before a judge and jury.  Hiring the right attorney matters. A good 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.