The alcotest and DWI

In New Jersey, an arrest for Driving While Intoxicated, or Driving Under the Influence, which are the same, meaning drunk driving, will subject the individual to an alcotest.

The alcotest is a machine that can determine the users blood alcohol level, BAC. In New Jersey a reading of .08 and above is a per se violation, even if you feel “fine” your guilty of DWI.

However the machine must be in proper working order and it must be operated properly. We have encountered numerous situations where there were problems with the machine or the operation. Fro failing to wait the requisite time before taking breath samples, to calibration issues, thee are problems with the alcotest.

We had a case dismissed this week because the operator failed to follow protocol in requesting a breath sample, and the alcotest was thrown out in another case where procedures were not correct.

If your charged with DWI in New Jersey, and an alcotest is involved, there are possible defenses that can be asserted in your defense.

Please call Jay Weinberg for an informative consultation.

Marijuana usage and driving – DWI?

Interesting New York Times article as States consider legalizing marijuana. How much marijuana in the blood, and therefore in the brain, constitutes impairment to safely operate a vehicle?

United States Supreme Court refuses to hear marijuana related lawsuit filed by Nebraska and Oklahoma against Colorado.

The Supreme Court on Monday threw out a lawsuit filed by the states of Nebraska and Oklahoma against their neighbor Colorado over a law approved as a ballot initiative by Colorado voters in 2012 that allows the recreational use of marijuana.

Nebraska and Oklahoma asserted that marijuana laws in Nebraska negatively impacted their States, while Colorado countered, in part, legalize pot too and focus on more serious crime.

Family Court, temporary and permanent restraints, assault and trial.

A few months ago, I was hired by a woman who had suffered physical abuse, assault, from her husband. The Police had come to their home and arrested her husband, but she was getting a lot of pressure from certain individuals to drop the charges, which included an upcoming hearing for permanent restraints. A temporary restraining order would be converted into a permanent restraining order and he would not be allowed to have contact with her.

Even though she was the victim, her daughter felt she needed me as her lawyer at trial in Middlesex County, NJ Court. It is often difficult to satisfy the test necessary to get permanent restraints – and for good reason. A person benefitting from a permanent restraining order can have the restrained person arrested somewhat easily by calling in a violation. (In fact last year I represented a defendant mired down in a complex case where her ex boyfriend, clearly versed in this area of the law, was able to persuade a desk officer at the local police department to write a domestic violence complaint, which a judge then signed, which the ex then used to have my client arrested numerous times, until we went to trial and had the restraining order dismissed.)

I obtained all the evidence in the Case, including computer aided dispatch reports from the police dispatcher to the on duty patrol officer, photographs and a taped interview with my client. I met with three police officers involved in the Case prior to trial, and reviewed evidence including photos that depicted my client’s injuries.

At trial this past Friday I had two of the police officers and my client testify. The defendant’s lawyer called two witnesses who were at the scene and the defendant, her husband. With careful cross examination, referring to the photographs and exhibits, we were able in closing to point out inconsistencies in the defendant’s story. Some were seemingly innocuous points – he testified he hid a cord under a blanket so his wife wouldn’t wield it, but I reminded the Judge in closing argument the first officer on the scene testified she saw the cord, which the defendant used to choke my client, on the floor when she arrived at the scene. The Judge nodded in approval – often times in “he said -she said” situations, if we find inconsistencies that render witnesses testimony incredible, the Judge, or Jury, don’t have to believe anything they say.

The Judge referenced the points I made in my closing argument in concluding the defendant’s version of the events was not credible, and provided my client permanent restraints against her abusive husband.
Domestic Violence is a very emotional and traumatic area of the law. It’s often difficult for victims to really feel they are getting the help they need, for a number of reasons, including their diminished self esteem from the confused trauma of abuse. I don’t tolerate bullies; I abhor physical violence to impose ones’ will on another. I saw the photos and knew I had to help my client feel protected from her abusive husband. The criminal case is still pending, if he has any contact with my client he will be arrested, and we are prepared to assist the State prosecutor in the criminal action as needed. For now, the prosecutor’s office can order the transcript of testimony from our trial as they build their case against the husband.