Morristown DWI Defense Attorney
All of the sudden bright lights are flashing from behind and you have to pull over. Thoughts are racing through your head: “I’m only five minutes away from home,” “It was only a few beers,” and “I look fine.” The officer approaches your vehicle and shines a bright light inside and asks: “Have you been drinking?” “Why are you so nervous?” “Do you know why you are being pulled over?” Whatever may have initially prompted the officer’s attention has now shifted focus on whether you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This is just the start of what sounds like a long night for you.
What to Expect when You are Suspected of Driving while Intoxicated in Morristown
A common next step will likely include field sobriety testing and can assist an officer in making an arrest determination. The most common field sobriety tests include: the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, the Walk and Turn, the One-Leg Stand tests. These tests are supposed to be administered in a structured, formal manner in order to be considered objective and reliable indicators of a driver’s impairment. Field tests in connection to a driver’s blood alcohol concentration level are determinants of a driver being under the influence. To begin the process of determining if a person is under the influence of alcohol, an officer may use portable breath testing to aide in deciding to charge a person with DWI.
If the officer finds probable cause (i.e. the indication that you are under the influence of alcohol), then you will be placed under arrest and taken back to the police station. From there you will be asked to take another breath test. In taking this test, there are specific procedures that must be completed. For one, the defendant must be observed for a minimum of 20 minutes prior to being administered the test. This period of observation is used to safeguard the defendant to ensure he or she has not regurgitated, eaten, etc., which will alter the results of the test. The waiting period may be restarted, however, if there are any disruptions or incidents that could impact the test. For example, burping, drinking, chewing gum, eating food, vomiting, consuming breath mints, or taking medications, could impact the results of the test. Thus, if one does any of the previously mentioned activities then the observation period must be restarted. Following this waiting period, then the officer can begin the testing.
The officer is expected to administer the breath test in four extremely specific timed intervals to ensure the accuracy of the testing sample. This is done by administering the test four separate times, spaced out in two-minute intervals. Separating the test out in this way allows for the machine to go through the process of ridding the prior sample collected. In doing so, the lowest of the four samples is the number used to denote a defendant’s breath test results. Moreover, there are very explicit operating standards and administration protocols that must occur. If proper protocols are not followed, then you may be able to have the results suppressed. Any missteps in the above testing can be used as a viable defense for your DWI matter later on in court.
The purpose of the breath test is to determine how much alcohol is in the air that you breathe out, which in turn estimates your blood alcohol level. In the State of New Jersey, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% indicates that a person is guilty of DWI.
If you are charged with a DWI, there are a lot of factors that will determine your BAC. Specifically, your body weight, how much alcohol was consumed and the timeframe it was consumed in, the altitude, whether food was in your stomach, your gender, the size of a drink, if mixers were used, and medications taken can all severely impact someone’s blood alcohol concentration levels. Interestingly, gender can impact one’s BAC because females have more hormones and less enzymes that break down the ability to process alcohol, compared to males.
Depending on the amount of alcohol consumed and the time you drank it, your body may begin something comparable to a “shut-down” process. As a result, there is cognitive impairment with lessened motor functioning. That is why many officers look for swerving on the road, slurring speech, driver’s acting erratic and/or belligerent, or exhibiting physical symptoms like blood shot eyes and more during a traffic stop.
If you decide not to have the breath testing done, you may be charged with a DWI refusal offense.
Being a licensed driver in the State of New Jersey implies that you agree to provide a breath sample. As a result, refusals carry substantial penalties that continue to grow more and more with each offense. You may also be asked to provide blood testing for a variety of reasons as well. Particularly, if you are physically unable to provide a breath test or if it is believed that you may also be under the influence of drugs. In that same vein, you may also be asked to provide a urine test. Again, this is usually for the purpose of determining if you are under the influence of drugs. Overall, these laboratory results will be provided within a few months after the samples are received and processed.
Morristown DWI Cases are usually handled in Morristown Municipal Court.
If you have been arrested for DWI in Morristown, your case will likely be heard at the Morristown Municipal Court located at 200 South Street, 1st Floor, Morristown, New Jersey, 07960. You will be issued tickets on the day of your arrest relating to your alleged DWI, which will list the date for your first appearance in Morristown Municipal Court.
In order to be convicted of a DWI, the State will use the evidence gathered against you on the date of your arrest to demonstrate that you have been under the influence of alcohol. This is part of the discovery package that will be made available to you later on. Whether you are getting off the main highway of I-287 or routes 202, 124, or 510, your actions during the stop will be a strong indicator about your ability to operate a motor vehicle. The evidence in your discovery package may also provide issues that can be raised by an experienced DWI defense lawyer who knows how to find inconsistencies and mistakes, and use them to have evidence suppressed and possibly get the charges dismissed.
Has a DWI Charge happened to you in Morristown, NJ?
Contingent upon how many times you have been charged and subsequently convicted of DWI, this will determine the consequences and penalties you will face. It is important to hire an attorney to assist you with a DWI in Morristown because a lot is at stake in terms of employment, your ability to maintain driving privileges, fines/penalties and even potentially jail time. To talk to an experienced Morristown DWI lawyer who can advise you further, contact us today for a complimentary consultation.