A Toms River man was found passed out in the driver's seat of a car in the parking lot of a liquor store in Lacey. The police who were called discovered the passed out man and arrested him for allegedly being intoxicated. The man would be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), reckless driving and refusing to submit to a breath sample. Two days later the same man would be arrested once again. The police were called to the same liquor store for a report of an aggressive driver. Upon arrival, the police would find the same Toms River man passed out behind the wheel of his car. He would be arrested once again and was charged for a second time DWI, reckless driving, refusal of a breath test and this time for having an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle.
A drunk driving arrest in New Jersey isn't always straight forward. Many times additional charges also come into play which will need to be addressed by the defendant. Let's take a look at all the charges that this Tom River man is charged with.
Charged With A DWI (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50) In New Jersey
Blood Alcohol Content (or BAC) is used to measure the amount of alcohol found in your blood stream when you've been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol. A person's BAC can be determined by a breath test which will be administered by a police officer after being placed in police custody. If an individual is suspected of drunk driving and given a breath test, they will be found guilty of driving while intoxicated (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50) if they are found to have a blood-alcohol concentration of .08% or greater, which is a “per se” violation. In this case, since there was a refusal, there must be proof that the driver operated his vehicle under the influence of alcohol which impaired his ability to drive by the police officers observations.
What Is A Refusal (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2) Charge in New Jersey?
If you are suspected of driving while intoxicated you will be asked by a police officer to submit to a chemical breath test also known as a Breathalyzer. You may refuse to take the test and can not be forced to do so by the police. However, in New Jersey, if a motorist refuses to submit a breath sample, they will automatically be charged with refusal (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2) and subjected to certain penalties. If you are found guilty of refusing to submit a breath sample in New Jersey , you will be subject to driver's license suspension up to one year. You will also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. With the exception of the potential for a 30-day jail sentence, the penalty for a refusal to submit to a breath test is equivalent to the penalties associated with a DWI conviction where the blood alcohol content (BAC) reading exceeds 0.15%. So while refusing a Breathalyzer may seem like a viable option when you are under the suspicion of DWI, New Jersey motorists need to be aware of the severe penalties they will be subject to in the event they refuse to submit to the test.
Reckless driving (N.J.S.A. 39:4-96) In Toms River
In most cases, drunk driving and reckless driving go hand in hand. Most police officers will observe a reckless driving event which will warrant the probable cause for a traffic stop. Under New Jersey state law, a driver should know or have every reason to believe that their reckless driving is likely to harm other drivers and pedestrians. The Toms River man who was arrested was also charged with reckless driving (N.J.S.A. 39:4-96) because he drove his car “heedlessly, in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others.” This is a serious charge that can include additional time in jail and higher fines in relationship to his drunk driving charges.
Possession of Open Container of Alcohol (N.J.S.A. 39:4-51b)
In New Jersey, it is illegal to drive with an open container of alcohol (N.J.S.A. 39:4-51b). The only place alcohol is permitted in a moving vehicle is in the trunk of a car or behind the last row of seats in a trunkless vehicle. The Toms River man on his second arrest was found to have an open container when the police found him passed out in his car. The penalty for having an open container includes up to a $250 fine or community service for repeated offenses.
Find an Experienced NJ DWI Attorney
If this Toms River man is found guilty of all his possible charges which include DWI, Reckless Driving, Possession of An Open Container and Refusal he could be facing thousands in fines, penalties, and surcharges and up to a two-year loss of his driving privileges, the installation of an ignition interlock device, 12-48 hours at the intoxicated driver resource center (IDRC) and possible jail time.
If you have been arrested for DWI in Toms River, NJ, you should contact a Toms River Municipal Court attorney immediately. If you are in Toms River, Brick or Asbury Park and have been arrested on a DWI charge or any of the slew of other charges attached to the DWI charge you should consider contacting the experienced DWI attorney like those at Villani & DeLuca. Call 732-853-1924 today for a FREE consultation.