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.

One of the Most Common Days for DUI Arrests – Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday - One of the Most Common Days for DUI ArrestsThis coming Sunday, February 3, 2019, the Los Angeles Rams will be facing off against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.  Many people will start drinking early in the day.  By the time the game ends over 4 hours later, many people will have had at least a few drinks.  When it comes time to leave, remember: Don’t Drink and Drive on Super Bowl Sunday.

When it comes to holidays normally associated with frequent drinking and driving arrests, most people think of New Year’s Eve, Independence Day, or St. Paddy’s Day.  In fact, Super Bowl Sunday also frequently has one of the highest rates of DUI arrests across the United States for drunk driving, intoxicated driving, and impaired operating of a motor vehicle.  Here at the Edward M. Janzekovich Law Blog, we always like to remind our readers to take simple precautions in order to avoid becoming another statistic.

The Numbers: Super Bowl And DUI

  1. A 9-year-long study conducted by the Automobile Club of Southern California found that drunken driving-related crashes resulting in injuries were 41% higher on Super Bowl Sunday than on other Sundays in January or February. New Year’s Eve was the only night that was worse, with a 44% increase. Christmas was ranked the third most dangerous major holiday.
  2. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over one third of all U.S. traffic deaths during the 2016 Super Bowl involved drunk drivers
  3. The legal limit for blood alcohol content in the United States is .08% BAC (or .05% in Utah). According to BACtrack, a company specializing in smartphone-enabled alcohol breath tests, in 2014, its users recorded an average BAC of .091% on Super Bowl Sunday – high enough to convict the average user of driving while intoxicated and just shy of the average .094% associated with New Year’s Eve.
  4. Data from Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS) – which analyzes the drinking behavior of 530,000 repeat DUI offenders – found that drinking violations by repeat drunk drivers increased an average of 22% nationwide on Super Bowl Sunday, compared to the average Sunday.
  5. Residents in Los Angeles and New England may have even more reason to be worried – statistically, residents in areas associated with one of the teams playing in the Super Bowl experience an even bigger spike in DUIs and DWIs.  In 2015, when the Patriots played in the big game, violations in New England were twice as high as the rest of the country as well as compared to the average Sunday in the region.

How to Avoid Getting Convicted for Drunk Driving on Super Bowl Sunday

New Jersey law enforcement officials are aware of the spike in drinking and driving on Super Bowl Sunday, so police officers across the state will be on high alert.  You can guarantee that police officers across New Jersey will be looking for any sign of intoxication or impairment on the roads this weekend.

The best thing you can do to avoid getting a DUI or DWI this Sunday is to have a plan.  If you are leaving your home to watch the game, consider having a reliable designated driver.  If you end up drinking more than you planned on, consider staying where you are overnight.  Alternatively, use a taxi, Uber, Lyft, or other ride share service to get where you are going for the night or to come home.  If you need to, leave your car where it is overnight and get it in the morning.

If you get arrested for DUI or DWI, one of your first steps should be calling an experienced drunk driving lawyer as soon as possible.  A good attorney can take action to protect your rights.  No matter what day of the year it is, a conviction for drunk driving in New Jersey will result in serious fines, penalties, and consequences that can affect yourself, your job, your family, and  your loved ones.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Act to Protect Your Rights

If you or someone you know is arrested, charged or convicted of drunk driving this winter, calling a good lawyer is the most important thing you can do.  An experienced lawyer will work to review your case and defend you in Court. 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.

More New Canadian DWI Laws Including Blood Alcohol Content Extrapolation

DWILast week on the Edward M. Janzekovich Law Blog, we discussed several new laws being enacted in Canada and compared those laws to New Jersey’s statutes on intoxicated driving.  Canada’s new laws against driving impairment are already be called among the toughest in the world, and many would say they are even harsher than New Jersey’s already strict laws that aim to penalize and/or prevent drunk driving.

We previously went over how Canadian police officers are now permitted to pull over a vehicle and ask the driver to submit to a breath test at random without cause, and anyone convicted will be subjected to even harder consequences.

This week, we will discuss Canada’s law that allows police officers to extrapolate or determine a driver’s blood alcohol content at the time the driver was driving, even 10 hours after the person was driving.  This provision for extrapolating BAC is extremely harsh, because a driver can be convicted long after he or she puts down the keys.

Canada’s Provision for Determining a Driver’s Past BAC

Under Canada’s legal system, a police officer may take a driver’s blood sample at any time after he or she was driving and then use a formula to count back and figure out the driver’s past BAC.  This means that law enforcement officials can arrest a driver and take his or her blood sample long after the person is out of the car and no longer driving.  This blood sample can then be tested, and the results can be adjusted based on the formula to approximate the driver’s BAC hours earlier, when he or she was driving.

As long as there is a minimum of 20 milligrams of alcohol in the blood at the time of testing, police officers are entitled to add 10 mg of alcohol for every hour to determine what the person’s BAC was even 10 hours earlier.  The law has no provisions for account for things that could affect the results, like weight, genetics, food intake, drugs, disease, or other factors.

New Jersey’s Law Requiring a Blood Draw Within a Reasonable Time

Previously, Canadian law enforcement were required to obtain blood samples within two hours of the person driving.  This is similar to the current law in New Jersey.

When somebody is charged with drunk driving in the Garden State, one of the ways the New Jersey law enforcement can prove DUI or DWI is by introducing evidence that the driver’s BAC was above the legal limit of .08% or higher.  Because a breathalyzer cannot be used in all situations, police officers are sometimes required to request a blood draw.  For instance, a driver who is involved in a car accident may be unconscious or too injured to provide a breath sample.  In those cases, the investigating officer may attempt to get a blood sample, either by getting a warrant, getting consent, or proving exigent circumstances.

If a blood draw is taken, the general rule in New Jersey is that the blood sample must be taken in a reasonable period of time from when the driver was last driving.  A blood draw taken within a reasonable time period of the encounter is necessary to ensure that the BAC fairly reflects the level of intoxication when the motorist was operating his or her vehicle.

New Jersey has no provision allowing for extrapolating or approximating BAC backwards to the time the driver was driving involving a charge of NJSA 39:4-50. Therefore, unlike under the new Canadian law, a good attorney in New Jersey may be able to have any blood BAC evidence dismissed if he or she can show that there was an unreasonable delay in obtaining the sample or if there was an intervening incident – such as additional drinking, eating, taking medications, etc. – that could affect a driver’s results or condition.

How a Lawyer Can Help if You are Arrested or Charged in NJ

As noted last week, Canada’s new laws have been specifically redesigned to make defending against DUI and DWI charges harder.  In New Jersey, getting a good lawyer as soon as possible can still make a huge difference, and an attorney may even be able to have the case dismissed completely.  If you or someone you know is charged with driving while intoxicated, an experienced lawyer will be able to review the evidence against you and put up the best defense on your behalf.

New Jersey DUI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Is There for You If You’ve Been Charged with Drunk Driving

DWI/DUI cases can often involve complicated issues of evidence, and successfully challenging that evidence requires knowledge and experience about the law.  If you or someone you know is facing a DWI charge, a knowledgeable drunk driving attorney 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.