New Jersey drivers should be warned: if you thought that police patrols would only be increased over the Labor Day holiday weekend, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. Starting last week, state and local law enforcement will be on the roads in greater numbers, looking to pull over drivers who are suspected of drinking and driving.
Drivers who are charged with drunk driving can expect a number of different penalties. Even those who are considered first-time offenders may be ordered to pay fines, attend substance abuse programs, or have their license suspended.
This increase in patrols is part of a nationwide crackdown on drunk drivers. According to the NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety, there were more than 160 deaths that resulted from alcohol-related accidents in 2010.
This particular initiative occurs each summer; the slogan is "Over the Limit, Under Arrest." Last year in New Jersey, there were 1,707 DWI arrests made due to the increased presence of police officers and sobriety checkpoints. This number doesn't even include the drivers who were ticked for other traffic violations.
Even if a driver does not feel impaired behind the wheel, if they are pulled over or stopped at a sobriety checkpoint and have a blood-alcohol content level greater than the legal limit, they can be charged with drinking and driving. Law enforcement is adamant about getting drunk drivers off the road and deterring them from doing it again.
That means stiff penalties for drinking and driving. If faced with DUI charges, it can be beneficial to speak with someone who understands DUI charges and is not law enforcement. This can help a driver determine what the next step should be while still protecting his or her rights. And with increased patrols watching for impaired drivers over the next few weeks, there may be more New Jersey residents who find themselves in this very situation.
Source: NJ Today: "Statewide Drunk Driving Clampdown Begins This Weekend," Aug. 16, 2011.