In New Jersey, drivers who get behind the wheel after using alcohol or drugs place themselves in jeopardy of an arrest with all the potential consequences that accompany a conviction. This is not an issue limited to specific demographics like college students who went out for a night on the town or people who have an issue with drugs or alcohol. It can happen to anyone. If, for example, a professional person went to dinner and had a drink or two, they might be stunned to see the flashing lights of a law enforcement vehicle behind them and suddenly be confronted with the challenges of a DWI arrest. In addition, with the Garden State’s pending legalization of recreational cannabis, people from all walks of life could be arrested for DUI if they are accused of having used marijuana before taking to the road. These charges can be serious and have an extensive impact on a person’s life in myriad ways. Therefore, it is important to craft a viable defense.
New Jersey’s ‘Wheel Risks’ campaign strives to educate drivers
Periodically, when known problems come to the forefront, the state will take steps to educate the public on the dangers of various behaviors and crack down on them. It did just that with its anti-distracted driving campaign in 2021 called “Take Control of Your Destiny” and it is doing that with “Wheel Risks.” This is a multimedia endeavor that will be seen on social media, road signs, through web information, via digital ads and more. The catalyst was the pending legalization of recreational cannabis, but it is also important to remember the possible ramifications of drinking and driving.
It is not just the legalization of marijuana that is a concern. In 2021, the state roadways were especially dangerous with the most fatalities in 14 years. There was also a 20% increase in fatal accidents and total deaths when compared to 2020. For 2020, nearly one in three fatal accidents involved intoxication in some way. Also, an increasing number of people were found to have drugs in their system after a fatal accident. Alcohol-related deaths have remained static. It is understandable that law enforcement, transportation departments and legislators are focusing on this and trying to reduce its frequency via enforcement.
Defense against DUI/DWI charges
The Division of Highway Traffic Safety will be actively looking for drivers who are committing DUI/DWI. Other entities like the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General and the New Jersey Department of Transportation are taking part. Close to $5 million will be spent on enforcement and informing the public. Any arrest can result in financial, personal and professional costs that should be avoided if possible. Testing procedures and results are often the foundation for an arrest. If there are flaws in the process, this could be a useful strategy in criminal defense and reaching a positive outcome. The person could have been wrongfully accused or there might be a reasonable explanation as to why the law enforcement officer believed the driver was under the influence when they were not. Before simply accepting the charges and the consequences – jail time, lost driving privileges, a negative perception in the community – it is wise to have assistance with crafting a defense.