New Jersey Drunk Driving Attorney Examines Proposed Law Making Ignition Interlock Devices Mandatory for All DWI Convictions

DWI Convictions

A new bill introduced before the state legislature last year by State Senator Nicholas Scutari may drastically change the way drivers convicted of DUI in the state are convicted.  The proposed changes to the State’s Driving While Intoxicated law, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, seek to lessen some penalties for first time drunk drivers while making others more universal –  such as making Ignition Interlock Devices mandatory for all drivers convicted of DUI/DWI, even first time offenders.

Similar to the other proposed Senate Bill 404, discussed here earlier this year, it is important to recognize that there is no guarantee that this proposed bill will ever pass.  Also like that bill, the goal of Senator Scutari’s introduced legislation is to provide an alternative to drivers convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, showing some added leniency to such drivers while simultaneously making the roads safer.

Which Parts of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 Might Be Affected?

In New Jersey, the legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit for drunk driving in the state is .08%.  Under current law, someone convicted of DWI for the first time can have their license suspended for either 3 months (if his or her blood alcohol content is between .08% and .099%) or 7 to 12 months (if his or her blood alcohol content is .10% or greater). A judge has a lot of flexibility in deciding how long to suspend a driver’s license in those circumstances.

At the same time, a first time offender who is convicted with a blood alcohol content of .15% or greater must have an ignition interlock device installed on his or her vehicle during the period of license suspension until between 6 months to 1 year following license restoration.  An ignition interlock device is a device put on a car that requires a driver to provide a clean, alcohol breath sample before he or she can start the car.

How Will These Parts of the Law Change If the Proposed Bill is Passed?

Under Senator Scutari’s introduced legislation, a first time drunk driver who is convicted of driving with a BAC of between .08% and .099% will only have his or her license suspended for 30 days – a significant reduction from 3 months.  Similarly, a driver who is convicted of driving with a BAC of between .10% up to just less than .15% will have his or her license suspended for 45 days, while a driver who is convicted of driving with a BAC of .15% or higher will have his or her license suspended for 90 days.

At the same time, the proposed legislation hopes to make installation of an ignition interlock device mandatory for ALL drivers convicted under the DWI law.  The device must remain on the driver’s vehicle for the period of license suspension as well as an additional period of time between 3 months and 18 months after the driver gets his or her driving privileges reinstated.

What These Changes Would Mean if You Are Convicted

Losing one’s driving privileges is often the most severe penalty that first time drunk drivers face, because the penalty often means that a driver also loses his or her ability to go to work or otherwise provide for his or her family.  Reducing the period of license suspension for first time offenders recognizes this reality and tries to address the way the law punishes more than just the drunk driver.

At the same time, recent reports have estimated that ignition interlock devices have prevented more than 39,000 instances of drunk driving in New Jersey since 2010.  Therefore, requiring drivers to install an ignition interlock device attempts to make the roads safer for everyone.  The proposed law would not prevent a driver from being able to use his or her vehicle – for instance, to drive to work or buy groceries if necessary – but it would guarantee that the car could only be operated after a clean, alcohol-free breath sample is provided. 

The largest downside to the proposed law is that New Jersey requires the driver to pay for his or her own ignition interlock device, including the installation.  In addition to the nearly $1000 in fines that first time drunk drivers must already pay, an ignition interlock device could cost $70-150 to install and about $60-80 per month for additional monitoring and calibration.

Regardless of whether or not this bill becomes law, a person charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs should always contact an experienced drunk driving attorney, who will be able to provide the best advice or possibly defend the case and get the charges dismissed completely.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Is Looking Out for You

A charge for driving under the influence of alcohol can carry extremely serious penalties that affect you as well as your family and loved ones.  At the same time, new laws, rules, and regulations take effect all the time. For that reason, it is important to consult a drunk driving lawyer knows what to look for in your specific situation.  If you or someone you know is charged with drunk driving or driving under the influence of any substance in New Jersey, an experienced DWI/DUI attorney will know the best way to help and can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey DWI – DUI Lawyer – Boating Under the Influence (BUI)

Memorial Day is just around the corner, and many people in New Jersey will be celebrating the unofficial kick off to summer by doing some recreational boating or other activities on the water.  New Jersey is becoming increasingly crowded, meaning residents and tourists are flocking to our waterways in record numbers, increasing the chances of boating incidents.

The New Jersey State Police and the United States Coast Guard are the two law enforcement agencies that combat intoxicated boating in New Jersey.  If you are stopped for suspicion of BUI, law enforcement will require the boat captain to take the same sobriety test as someone who has been stopped in their car.  The captain may also have to submit to a Breathalyzer test to see if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is above the legal limit.  When the operator of a vessel is asked to take a Breathalyzer test, they are presumed to have consented to the test by accepting their boating license.  This is known as implied consent.  Refusing to take the Breathalyzer test will result in an additional charge for refusing the test, and you may still be charged with a BUI.

The law that governs intoxicated boating in New Jersey, N.J.S.A. 12:7-46, was enacted in 1995.  Prior to that time, careless, reckless, or intoxicated boaters could be re-licensed by simply paying a fine and servicing a period of license suspension.  Under the new law, offenders must also take a boating safety course as a condition of re-licensure.

The Legislature modeled the intoxicated boating laws on the existing drunk driving statutes.  In order to be convicted of a boating DWI, the prosecutor must prove three elements:

  • The suspect must have been operating a “vessel” (a water vessel that is 12 feet or more);
  • They must have been operating it in New Jersey waters; and
  • They must have been operating it under the influence of an intoxicating liquor, a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug; this is often proven by establishing that the vessel’s operator had a BAC of .08 percent or greater.

In addition, a person can be convicted of a BUI if they permit another person who is under the influence of drugs or has a BAC of .08 percent or greater to operate a vessel.  If an individual is operating a commercial vessel, the lower BAC of .04 percent is considered the legal limit.

Penalties for BUI

If you are convicted of a BUI, not only will you lose your boating license, but you will also lose your regular driver’s license.  The first time an individual is convicted of boating while intoxicated, their boating license will be revoked for one year, their driver’s license will be suspended for three months, and they will face a fine of between $250 and $400.  Court costs of $33 may be imposed, as well as a $50 assessment for the Victims of Crime Compensation Board (VCCB).  These fines will be even greater if a person had a BAC of .10 percent or higher.  First time offenders must also complete a program of alcohol education at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC), and take a boating safety course

For a second BUI offense, a person will lose their boating license for two years, and their driver’s license for six months.  They will also face two to 90 days in jail, a fine of between $500 and $1000, and costs and fees.  Convicted defendants must also serve 30 days of community service, and complete a rehabilitation program at the IDRC.

For third and subsequent offenses, a person will lose their boating license for ten years and their driver’s license for two full years.  In addition, a third BUI will result in a mandatory 180-day jail term.  Community service may be substituted for part of this term.  Third time offenders must pay a $1000 fine plus costs and fees, complete a boating safety course and a rehabilitation program at the IDRC.

New Jersey Boating While Intoxicated Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Defends Individuals Charged With a BUI

Getting a BUI is a serious matter that can result in crippling fines and potential jail time.  A conviction for BUI will also count as a prior offense if you are subsequently charged with additional DWI offenses.  At the Law Office of Edward M. Janzekovich, our goal is always to help our clients avoid a conviction.  To discuss your case, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today.  We represent clients throughout New Jersey, including Ocean County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Union County and Somerset County.

New Jersey DUI – DWI Lawyer – Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

It is illegal to drive while high on marijuana (weed, pot, etc.) in New Jersey.  Although New Jersey does not have a specific law that addresses driving under the influence of marijuana, the same law that prohibits drunk driving (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, titled “Driving While Intoxicated”) applies to drugged driving offenses as well.  This law prohibits driving under the influence of any intoxicating substance, including narcotics, hallucinogens or even some over the counter medications.

How Do the Authorities Prove a Person is Under the Influence of Marijuana?

When a person is pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, they are given a breathalyzer test to determine their blood alcohol content.  So how does a police officer know whether a driver is under the influence of marijuana?  Usually, a driver will be asked to take a blood or urine test.  However, a positive drug test only indicates that there is marijuana in a person’s system at the time of the traffic stop—and marijuana can stay in a person’s system weeks after using it.  Therefore, if you are arrested for drugged driving, additional evidence is generally relied upon to prove the DUI in court.

If you go to trial for your DUI charge, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana.  This requires some expert testimony to establish that the drugs found in your system were not just residual, but actually rendered you impaired and unable to safely operate a motor vehicle.

In drugged driving cases, the general rule is that the accused must have been tested at the time of their arrest by a specially trained police officer referred to as a Drug Recognition Expert (“DRE”).  However, for marijuana cases, the prosecutor can establish intoxication through testimony of any police officer who has been trained in field sobriety and who has experience in identifying marijuana intoxication.  In such cases, an officer will testify that there was objective evidence that a driver’s physical or mental capabilities were impaired by the drug.  This testimony can be the State’s Achilles heel.  An experienced DWI lawyer may be able to have your charges either dismissed or downgraded by discrediting this testimony.

No Implied Consent for Blood or Urine Testing

In New Jersey, as a condition of receiving your driver’s license, you have agreed to take a breath test to determine the content of alcohol in your system if you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving.  This is known as “implied consent.”  If you refuse to take the test, you are subject to punishment including a loss of driving privileges.  But this law does not extend to drivers who are suspected of being under the influence of marijuana or other substances.  If you are pulled over and the police suspect that you are high on marijuana or some other substance, there are no penalties or sanctions if you refuse to submit to a blood or urine test.  Chemical testing for marijuana or any other substance is only performed on a voluntary basis or if a warrant has been issued by a judge.  First, the investigating officer would ask you for your consent to provide a urine or blood sample.  If you refuse, then the officer can attempt to obtain a warrant from a judge, based upon probable cause.  If a warrant is issued, then you have to comply.  It is amazing just how many people, knowing full well they have a substance in their system, agree to voluntarily submit to a blood or urine test.  Most people just don’t know they can say no.

Penalties for Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

Penalty for a conviction will vary depending on whether you have ever been convicted of drugged driving in the past.

  • For a first conviction, drivers face a fine of between $300 and $500, up to 30 days in jail, and between seven months and one-year license suspension.
  • For a second conviction, drivers face a fine of between $500 and $1,000, 30 days community service, 2 to 90 days in jail, and a two-year license suspension.
  • For a third (or subsequent) conviction, drivers face fines up to $1,000, 180 days in jail, and a ten-year license suspension.

If you have been charged with drugged driving, you may also face additional penalties for related charges such as possession of a controlled dangerous substance.

What About Medical Marijuana?

Although New Jersey allows certain individuals to use medical marijuana, just like any other legally prescribed medication, it is still a crime to drive if one’s ability to safely drive a car is impaired by the drug.

Edward M. Janzekovich Defends People Charged with Marijuana DWI/DUI

If you were arrested for driving while impaired by marijuana, we can help.  Trusted New Jersey DWI lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich is available to answer your questions and discuss your best defense.  Call us today at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today.  We serve clients throughout New Jersey, including Ocean County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Union County and Somerset County.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Lawyer – Truck Drivers and DUI

If your family relies on your New Jersey commercial driver’s license (CDL) for income, the consequences of a DUI conviction can be devastating.  Even if you are not on the job and just driving your own personal vehicle, a DUI conviction or refusal offense will result in a one-year mandatory CDL suspension (three years if the violation occurred in a HAZMAT truck).  You will also lose your basic license for three to 12 months.  Commercial truckers convicted of a DUI are unlikely to ever find work driving a truck again.  And if you are convicted of drunk driving a second time, your CDL will be permanently revoked and you will lose your basic drivers license for two years.  At the Law Office of Edward M. Janzekovich, our goal is always to avoid a conviction for our clients.

Driving a Commercial Truck Under the Influence

As you can see, New Jersey law is harsh when it comes to truckers who drive while intoxicated in their own cars.  So you can imagine how the law treats drivers who drink before getting behind the wheel of a large commercial vehicle.  In 1990, the New Jersey Legislature cracked down on trucking safety and enacted the New Jersey Commercial Driver License Act.  Pursuant to the Act, it is illegal to operate a commercial motor vehicle in New Jersey with an alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or more.  The legal limit for driving a passenger car in New Jersey is 0.08 percent.  This law aims to discourage truckers from consuming even small amounts of alcohol in an effort to reduce accidents and fatalities.

What is a “Commercial Motor Vehicle?”

So, it is illegal operate a commercial motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than 0.04 percent.  What if you are pulled over your RV while on vacation with a BAC of 0.05 percent, will you be charged with drunk driving?  Although RVs are large enough to constitute a “commercial motor vehicle,” the law makes an exception for certain privately owned recreational vehicles.  The following vehicles, however, will all trigger the lower 0.04 percent BAC threshold:

  • School buses
  • Passenger buses (If used to transport passengers to and from places of employment on a daily basis, even a bus with seven passenger seats will qualify as a commercial vehicle. If used less frequently, any bus designed to transport 16 or more passengers will trigger the lower BAC threshold).
  • Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more
  • Trucks displaying hazardous material placards

“Operation” of a Commercial Motor Vehicle

Trucking is a more a lifestyle than a job.  In covering long distances, drivers often sleep in their cabs at truck stops.  In New Jersey, “operation” of a motor vehicle does not require that the truck actually be moving.  The prosecutor only needs to prove that a driver intended to put the vehicle in motion, and that it was possible that the truck could be moved.  Therefore, it is possible to be charged with a DUI in a truck stop parking lot even if you never leave your cab.

Out of State Convictions

If you have been convicted of driving while intoxicated in another state, either in a truck or your personal vehicle, your New Jersey CDL will be suspended for one year.  If you are convicted a second time, your CDL will be permanently revoked.

New Jersey Commercial DWI Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Fights for Truck Drivers

If you are a commercial driver and you have been charged with a DUI, we understand the fear and anxiety you may be feeling.  Getting a DUI is a frightening experience for anyone, but for truckers, the stakes are even higher.  At the Law Office of Edward M. Janzekovich, we make it a priority to communicate with our clients.  We will explain what you can expect throughout the legal process and what your options are.  To speak to an experienced New Jersey DUI lawyer, call the Law Office of Edward M. Janzekovich at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today.  We represent clients throughout New Jersey, including Ocean County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Union County and Somerset County.

New Jersey DWI – DUI Lawyer – When Your Guests Drink and Drive

Imagine you have a small get together with your friends at your beach house rental, and you serve your guests alcohol.  Then imagine that one of your guests drinks a little too much, and continues to help herself to drinks even after you have observed her stumbling and slurring her words.  Later that night, she attempts to drive herself home, but collides with another car, severely injuring the other driver.  In New Jersey, the injured victim can collect damages from both you, the social host, and from your intoxicated guest who caused the accident.

This is because under New Jersey law, social hosts that serve alcoholic beverages to adult guests, knowing that they are intoxicated and will be driving, can be held liable for any injuries inflicted upon an innocent third party.  A social host is any person who invites another into their home and provides them with alcohol.  In order to be considered a social host, you need not give an express invitation—an implied invitation will suffice.  Social hosts can be held liable even when guests serve themselves at a party.  So-called “social host” laws are intended to prevent drunk driving and minimize fatalities.

Social host liability laws are derived from “dram shop” laws.  Dram shop laws enable injured victims to sue the bar when a visibly intoxicated patron was served prior to causing injury to a third party.  Many years ago, judges were exposing tavern owners to ever increasing liability by broadening the applicability of these laws on a case-by-case basis.  As a result, insurance premiums for bar owners skyrocketed.  In response, the New Jersey legislature enacted the Licensed Alcoholic Beverage Server Fair Liability Act in order to protect the rights of those who suffered losses as a result of the negligent serving of drinks.

Both social hosts and bar owners can be held liable for third party injuries, but the drunk driver can also be held liable.  This is because courts apply something called “comparative negligence” in apportioning liability.  This means that a jury will decide how much the social host (or bar owner) is to blame relative to the intoxicated driver.  One of the most hotly contested issues in these cases is how much the guest was able to appreciate the risk of harm while consuming alcohol at the party.  For example, if a host served his guests straight vodka, but described the drinks as light cocktails, the host may be responsible for paying a greater share of the compensation to any injured victims.

Social hosts that serve visibly intoxicated guests can be held liable for an injured third party’s:

  • Medical bills
  • Costs for rehabilitation and therapy
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Value of household and childcare services the person otherwise would have performed had they not been injured
  • Loss of consortium to the injured party’s spouse

In New Jersey, those injured as a result of negligent serving of alcohol are also entitled to punitive damages.  Punitive damages are very high damage awards designed to punish particularly egregious behavior.

If you are planning a party, it is important to consider that your guests will need to get home safely.  If you see that one of your guests is visibly intoxicated, you should either invite them to spend the night, arrange for someone to drive them home, or as a last resort, involve the authorities.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Provides Experienced DWI – DUI Defense

If you have been charged with drunk driving, there are many issues to consider.  Not only will you need a skilled lawyer to defend you against criminal drunk driving charges, but you may also be facing civil liability if anyone has been injured.  Edward M. Janzekovich has vast experience defending people just like you who have been charged with DUI.  He understands the fear and anxiety you may be feeling, and strives to give each and every client peace of mind by explaining what to expect in simple terms.  To schedule a free consultation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today.  We serve clients throughout New Jersey, including Ocean County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Union County and Somerset County.

 

New Jersey Drunk Driving Lawyer – What is the Intoxicated Driving Program (IDP)?

If you are convicted of a drug or alcohol related traffic offense in New Jersey, not only will you face fines, fees, surcharges, a loss of driving privileges, and installation of an ignition interlock device, but you will also be required to participate in a program at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC).  This program consists of a series of classes intended to educate drivers and identify individuals who are at risk for drug addiction and alcoholism.  This mandatory program is called the Intoxicated Driving Program (IDP).

Where Is The Program Held?

The court will notify you when and where you need to go to report for your IDRC session.  New Jersey has an IDRC in every county for first and third-time offenders, and three regional centers for second-time offenders.  You will probably be required to attend IDRC classes in the county where you were convicted, and in the same town where the county court is located.

How Much Does the Program Cost?

When you are notified that your license has been suspended, you will owe additional fees to the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) and the IDRC for the classes, including the following charges:

  • $100 attendance fee (paid to the MVC)
  • $230 first-time offender fee (paid to the IDRC)
  • $280 second-time offender fee (paid to the IDRC)
  • $100 license restoration fee (paid to the MVC)

To check the latest information about IDRC fees and locations, see the State of New Jersey’s website here: http://www.state.nj.us/mvc/Violations/dui_Intoxicated.htm

How Long Does the Program Take?

If you are a first-time offender, you will be required to complete a 12-hour course.  Classes are usually held on weekdays.

If you are a second-time offender, you must attend a 48-hour session.  The session is usually held while you are being detained overnight on the weekend.

If you are a third-time offender, you must take a 12-48 hour class while being detained.  During the course of your detainment, you will be assessed and referred for additional treatment to be completed when you have finished the IDRC program.

The IDRC has discretion to send any driver who requires additional treatment to a 16-week-long program.

What Will I Do in the IDP?

When beginning the IDP, you will first complete a questionnaire.  Then, you will attend a series of educational classes about drunk driving.  During these classes, you may have to watch graphic video of car accidents caused by drunk drivers.  The educational component also includes active discussion periods.  Topics include social drinking and problem drinking, the stages of alcoholism, how alcohol affects our families, jobs and relationships, and basics of New Jersey drunk driving law.

You will also be assigned to a counselor, who will assess your personal situation and determine whether you need additional assistance.  Depending on the outcome of your assessment, you may be referred for counseling, an addiction treatment program or mandatory support group attendance to address the problems that lead to your DWI conviction.

The IDRC may require monitored treatment or self-help group attendance for up to one year.  If you are referred for treatment, it will be for a minimum of sixteen weeks.  These treatment programs become a part of the mandatory sentence for your DWI conviction.  Individuals are encouraged to supplement any referred treatment with his or her own meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Your driving privileges will only be restored after serving all your court and MVC-imposed suspensions, and when you have successfully completed all the IDP and IDRC requirements.

Individuals are responsible for the costs of all additional recommended services and treatment.

What If I Need to Reschedule my IDRC Appointment?

The IDRC will only accept four justifications for rescheduling appointments, each of which must be supported by appropriate documentation such as an obituary, doctor’s note or letter from your employer.  The four justifications include:

  • A personal or family health emergency;
  • Death in the family within ten days prior to the scheduled appointment;
  • A documented emergency; or
  • A family emergency.

What If I Don’t Show Up for IDRC?

If you fail to show up for IDRC without having an excused absence, fail to pay, or fail to complete the prescribed programs, you will be deemed non-compliant.  You will then be referred to the original sentencing court and the MVC for appropriate action.  You may face an extended period of license suspension, and two days in jail for failure to comply.  You will still need to complete the IDP/IDRC program.

What If I Do Not Reside in New Jersey?

Even if you live out of state, you must still comply with the IDRC requirements.  If you live within driving distance of a New Jersey IDRC, you will be scheduled to appear there.  If not, you may be given an opportunity to complete the requirements in your home state.

Take Charge of Your Future – Start Preparing Your DWI Defense Today

Respected New Jersey DWI lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich has a unique advantage over many DWI lawyers, having served over 23 years in law enforcement.  If you have been charged with drunk driving, we can use our extensive experience to your advantage.  To discuss your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today.  We serve clients throughout New Jersey, including Ocean County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Union County and Somerset County.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Lawyer – When Your Car Is Impounded After a DWI-DUI

Key Facts About Vehicle Impoundment in New Jersey

If you are arrested for driving while intoxicated or for refusing to submit to a breath test, the police must impound the vehicle you were driving.  State law requires that your car be impounded for at least 12 hours.  After the 12-hour mandatory impoundment period, you can reclaim your car, or send someone to reclaim it on your behalf.  You are responsible for paying a reasonable fee for towing and storage, and your car will remain in the impound lot until you can pay the fee in full.

If you do not own the car you were arrested in, the lawful owner can reclaim their car prior to the 12-hour period provided that they can:

  • Present a valid license, proof of ownership, proof of lawful authority to operate the vehicle, and proof of current car insurance.
  • Proof that they are capable of operating the car in a safe manner and would not be in violation of any motor vehicle code.
  • Proof that the person receiving the car can comply with any other conditions for release of the vehicle established by the arresting law enforcement agency.

DWI Car Hold – John’s Law

The law that authorizes police to hold cars for up to 12 hours after a DWI is referred to as “John’s Law.”  Tragically, a young man named John R. Elliot was killed on July 22, 2000 in a head-on collision with a driver who had been charged with drunk driving earlier that evening.  John was a promising midshipman from the United States Naval Academy. John’s father persuaded lawmakers to adopt the 12-hour mandatory minimum holding period to prevent others from suffering the same fate as his late son.

The drunk driver who caused the crash, Michael Pangle, had been arrested with a blood-alcohol content of 0.21 percent earlier that night and was taken to the state police barracks.  He was released when a friend came to get him.  Just three hours after his release, he was driving the same SUV that he had been arrested in earlier that evening.  Both Pangle and Elliot were killed instantly in the crash.

The friend who picked Pangle up was charged with manslaughter, vehicular homicide and aggravated assault as an accomplice to the drunk driving accident, even though he was not in the car at the time.  His trial ended in a hung jury.

Can the Police Search Your Car While it is Impounded?

Whether the police may conduct a search of the interior of your car while it is impounded depends on the facts of your case.  Under certain circumstances, police may perform an “inventory” search of your car’s content so that your property can be accounted for and safeguarded.  If law enforcement stumble upon contraband (including drugs or weapons) during the process you may be charged with a crime.  Police cannot automatically conduct an inventory search when your car is impounded: the owner of the vehicle must first be given the opportunity to remove their property from the car.

Police can also search your impounded car if they had probable cause to conduct a warrantless search at the spot where the officers encountered the car.  For example, if police saw drugs lying on your seat when they pulled you over for swerving and arrested you for drunk driving, they can bring your car back to impound and search it there.

Officers can also search your impounded car if a judge has issued a warrant based on probable cause that evidence of a crime is located inside the vehicle.

New Jersey DWI Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Defends Against Drunk Driving Charges and Illegal Searches

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, you need an experienced lawyer in your corner.  New Jersey DUI lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich has a successful track record of defending against drunk driving charges and illegal searches, such as purported “inventory” searches.  To learn more about how we can help you, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today.  We represent clients throughout New Jersey, including Ocean County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Union County and Somerset County.

New Jersey DWI/DUI Lawyer: What Happens If I Am Convicted of Drunk Driving in Another State?

Getting arrested and facing charges for drunk driving can be a very frightening and intimidating experience. You do not know what to expect. These feelings of anxiety may increase if you are arrested out-of-state and far from your home and family. If you are a New Jersey resident, in addition to having to deal with the charges in the state where you were convicted you will also face serious consequences in New Jersey.

Once your out-of-state DUI has been reported, you will probably have your license suspended in New Jersey and face expensive surcharges from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC). In addition, if you are convicted of drunk driving in New Jersey any time during the ten years following your out-of-state conviction, you will face enhanced penalties in New Jersey as a repeat offender.

Suspension of Your Drivers License

Once you are convicted of DUI out-of-state, the record of your conviction will be reported to the Chief Administrator of the MVC through the Interstate Drivers License Compact (the Compact). The Compact is an interstate agreement between 45 states to exchange information about license suspensions and traffic violations, including DUI offenses. The Compact’s motto is “One Driver, One License, One Record.” The only five states that do not participate in the Compact are Massachusetts, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia and Tennessee; all other states, including the District of Columbia, participate.

When you are convicted in a state that participates in the Compact, your driving record will be affected just as if you had committed the offense in New Jersey. Out-of-state non-moving violations like parking tickets, tinted windows or a loud exhaust pipe will not be reported to the New Jersey MVC. But serious charges like a DWI/DUI will be reported.

For example, if you are convicted of a DWI/DUI in New York or Pennsylvania, your license will be suspended in New Jersey for:

  • 180 days if it is your first DWI/DUI offense
  • 2 years if it is your second DWI/DUI offense
  • 10 years if it is your third (or greater) DWI/DUI offense

All prior convictions (whether out-of-state or in New Jersey) count as prior offenses for determining how long your license will be administratively suspended.

Motor Vehicle Surcharges

Surcharges are fines assessed by the New Jersey Surcharge Violation System. If you have too many points on your license for moving violations, or if you are convicted of a DWI, you are liable for a surcharge in addition to any court fines and penalties you have to pay in the state where you were convicted. Once your out-of-state conviction is reported to the MVC, you will have to pay $1000 per year for the next three years. If the conviction is your second within three years, or your third offense, you will have to pay $1500 per year for the next three years.

Sentencing Enhancements

Violation of any law that is “substantially similar” to New Jersey’s own DWI statute will constitute a prior conviction if you are later convicted of a DWI in New Jersey. This is true even if the state where you were convicted is not a signatory to the Compact.

New Jersey DWI – DUI Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Represents People With Prior Drunk Driving Convictions

If you have been convicted of drunk driving in another state, and are facing new charges in New Jersey, trusted DWI lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich is prepared to defend you. We have a successful track record of defending clients in Ocean County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Union County and Somerset County, including Union, Dover, Brick, Jackson, Wall, Woodbridge, East Brunswick, Evesham, Howell, Robbinsville, Bound Brook, Neptune, Hamilton, Linden City, Bridgewater and Tinton Falls. To take charge of your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today.

New Jersey DWI – DUI Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich – Mixing Prescription Drugs and Alcohol—A Dangerous Combination

When an individual is arrested for driving under the influence, law enforcement may opt to charge them with driving under the influence of alcohol, a drug, or a combination of both. A person can be found guilty even if the amount of alcohol consumed would be less than the legal limit of .08 percent. This is because the combined effect of drugs and alcohol can produce a synergistic effect—such that even if either substance alone might not impair the driver, their combined effect renders a driver profoundly impaired.

In New Jersey, you can be charged with a DWI even if you are under the influence of over-the-counter drugs or prescription medication that has been legally prescribed to you. Many recent studies demonstrate that common medications, particularly allergy medications, may impair a person’s driving even more than alcohol.

Common medications that can result in a drug-impaired driving charge include:

  • Sleeping pills, such as Ambien
  • Allergy medication, such as Benadryl
  • Cough syrup, such as Nyquil or Codeine-based syrups
  • Prescription painkillers, including Tylenol 3, Vicodin and OxyContin
  • Anti-anxiety medications, such as Ativan, Xanax and other benzodiazepines
  • Antidepressants
  • Muscle relaxers

In the typical scenario where both drugs and alcohol are involved, police will first arrest a motorist for driving under the influence of alcohol. Then, after administering field sobriety tests and a breathalyzer test, if the breathalyzer results and field sobriety test results do not correlate (because the driver appears to be more impaired than the breathalyzer results indicate), police may seek blood or urine samples to determine whether the driver is under the influence of drugs.

Many drugs stay in a person’s system for long periods of time, and can be detected in a person’s blood or urine long after the impairing effects have worn off. Therefore, to be convicted of a DWI in New Jersey for drug use, a driver will most likely be subject to a series of tests conducted by a drug recognition expert. If such an expert is not available at the police station when the driver is tested, the test results may become inadmissible in court.

New Jersey DWI – DUI Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Defends Motorists Accused of Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and Alcohol

Respected New Jersey DUI lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich has a vast knowledge of the technicalities of DWI law and has successfully defended countless clients against DWI charges. If you have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, you have rights. To discuss 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, including Union, Dover, Brick, Jackson, Wall, Woodbridge, East Brunswick, Evesham, Howell, Robbinsville, Bound Brook, Neptune, Hamilton, Linden City, Bridgewater and Tinton Falls.

 

New Jersey DWI – DUI Lawyer Edward Janzekovich – DUI – DWI Checkpoints

In general, police officers in New Jersey can only stop a vehicle if they have a reasonable suspicion that an offense has been committed. They must also be able to specifically describe the grounds for their suspicion. Despite this constitutional protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, police may randomly stop drivers at sobriety checkpoints (also called roadblocks) even if they have no reason to believe that anyone in the vehicle committed an offense. Because random checkpoint stops are such an intrusive law enforcement technique, the police must be able to show a rational basis for establishing the roadblock. There are strict requirements for both setting up and executing roadblocks.

What To Expect At A Sobriety Checkpoint

As you approach a road block, you should see signs and lighting designating the checkpoint area. You will be required to slow down and wait for your turn to be processed through the checkpoint. Police officers will detain drivers in a pre-selected pattern (for example, every driver or every fifth driver). Drivers cannot be stopped on their appearance alone.

If you are stopped, you will be detained for a brief period of time. Police may ask basic questions, request documentation and look for signs that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you exhibit these signs, you will be asked to move your car to a separate area where you will be asked to undergo a field sobriety test.

Roadblock Requirements

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. This means that if police do not follow the proper procedures for setting up and executing a roadblock, any evidence obtained may be inadmissible in court—including breathalyzer or blood test results. Courts will consider various factors in determining whether a roadblock was proper, including:

  • Whether notice of the time, date and location of the roadblock was published in advance
  • Whether advance warning was given to individual approaching motorists (use of lights, signs, etc.)
  • Whether statistical data demonstrates that the roadblock was set up in a particularly problematic location for drinking and driving
  • Whether public safety and awareness are fostered by the checkpoint
  • The time of day when the roadblock is conducted
  • Average length each motorist is detained
  • Whether less intrusive measures could have been used to combat drunk driving in the area

Police officers and state troopers do not have the authority to select a DUI checkpoint location or time. They must first receive a directive from their commanding officer.

What Happens if I Attempt to Evade a Roadblock?

If you are intoxicated and attempt to evade a properly established road block, this may give police sufficient reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle.

New Jersey DUI Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Represents Drivers Who Have Been Charged With DWI at Police Roadblocks

State and federal laws carefully protect the rights of citizens to be free from unlawful searches and seizures. If you were stopped at a sobriety checkpoint and arrested for driving under the influence, New Jersey DWI lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich will obtain all documents relating to the establishment of the road block, and analyze it to determine whether it was legal. I will also look at the circumstances surrounding your stop to determine whether police followed proper procedures and detained you for a reasonable amount of time. Unreasonable detentions raise different constitutional issues and may provide you with additional defenses.

We proudly serve clients in Ocean County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Union County and Somerset County. To discuss your case, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today.