It is a story that many people in New Jersey have heard before: a Warren County man was stopped by police on suspicion of drunk driving and has not been charged with driving while intoxicated, failure to maintain a lane and reckless driving. Perhaps something similar has even happened to you.
While this story is not necessarily uncommon, the choice to fight the charges and dispute thedrunk driving penalties might be. Many people's initial thought is it plead guilty, especially if police are claiming that they failed field sobriety tests. If police have that in the report, they might reason, why bother trying to fight? The reason to fight is because of New Jersey's harsh drunk driving laws.
If someone is convicted of DWI, he or she may sentenced to 30 days in jail, heavy fines and a mandatory suspended driver's license. Not only that, but the higher his or her blood alcohol levels or the more DWI convictions he or she has, the worse the penalties are. If there is even a question as to whether the police officer's stop was legal, that the field sobriety tests were not done correctly or some other kind of procedural error, it is far worse to plead guilty just to avoid court.
In this specific story, a Phillipsburg man was stopped by police after an officer claimed he failed to stay in his lane. Though the New Jersey Herald says that the arresting officer believed the driver to be intoxicated, it is not entirely clear what the driver did or said that indicated his alleged inebriation.
If convicted, this man could be facing very serious drunk driving penalties.
Source: New Jersey Herald, "Phillipsburg man charged with DWI," June 13, 2014