Drunk driving happens far more often than you’d expect. Our Atlantic City drunk driving lawyers have been handling criminal cases for decades, and a large portion of our work is on DWI cases. In general, DWI charges have gone down in New Jersey – but thousands of people are still accused of driving under the influence every year. If you or a loved one was charged with DWI in South Jersey, contact our lawyers today to discuss getting help with your case.
How Many DWIs Are There in New Jersey?
New Jersey, like any state, sees arrests for drunk or drugged driving occur every day. In 2017, the most recent year with readily available statistics, there were 25,804 DWI charges according to an NJ.com article that used statistics from New Jersey courts. More accurately, this means that there are approximately 70 DWI cases charged each day in New Jersey.
The number of DWIs charged in New Jersey each year have mostly dropped since 2008, according to these same statistics. In 2008, there were 32,872 new DWI charges compared to 2017’s 25,804. On average over this period, there were 29,184 new DWI cases each year. This boils down to around 2,432 cases per month, 79 cases each day, or around 3 cases every hour.
It is unclear why DWI charges are going down, but it is clear that more and more of them are getting dismissed. According to the same statistics, in 2017, approximately 24.3% of DWI cases were dismissed in New Jersey – more than previous years. In part, the aforementioned article posits that this is because of more sophisticated criminal defense strategies that result in more cases being dropped or dismissed.
How to Fight DWI Charges in New Jersey
If you were arrested and charged with DWI in New Jersey, you could face strict jail time, high fines, and a driver’s license suspension. If you were charged with drugged driving and were caught with drugs, you could face additional penalties for drug possession. Our defense attorneys have multiple strategies that may be able to challenge the case against you.
First, our lawyers work to challenge the stop itself. If you were illegally pulled over in your car, all evidence seizures and arrests stemming from that traffic stop could also be illegal. A traffic stop can be illegal if police had no reasonable suspicion that you committed a crime or traffic violation. If police did not witness you swerving, speeding, or causing an accident, they may have little to no reason to stop your car except trolling for DWI arrests. In cases of DWI checkpoints, stops are only legal if the checkpoint follows neutral policies for deciding who to stop, among other requirements.
Our attorneys also challenge the evidence collected at a traffic stop. Police are trained to perform field sobriety tests (FSTs) to determine whether you are drunk or drugged. Some of the standard field sobriety tests that police use can be challenged in the following ways:
- Walk and Turn – This FST is unreliable if the officer used an “imaginary line” instead of a physical line to test your ability to walk a straight line.
- Leg Raise – This FST is often unreliable if the officer gives improper instructions or demonstrations of the test, which requires raising your leg and balancing on one foot.
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus – This FST can be unreliable if the driver wears glasses, has contacts, or has other vision or eye problems that affect their ability to track objects with their eyes.
On top of these tests, police may perform other tests which have questionable scientific value and may not reliably prove you were intoxicated or high.
If the police used a breathalyzer test or blood test to prove your level of intoxication, our attorneys will also challenge that. First, our attorneys can challenge the legality of a blood test, since it is illegal to perform a blood draw for blood alcohol content (BAC) testing without a valid search warrant. After that, our lawyers will investigate the processes used to draw the blood. Drawing blood for a BAC test after using an alcohol-based swab, for instance, can taint the whole test. We will also check the results and question the lab technicians and processes that tested the blood. Some labs have notoriously had problems with tainted or corrupted results, and our attorneys will fight to beat your case if your blood test was contaminated or otherwise produced a faulty test result.
Our Atlantic City DWI Lawyers Offer Free Consultations
If you or a loved one was charged with a drunk driving or drugged driving offense in New Jersey, you should contact an experienced Cape May criminal defense lawyer today. The attorneys at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych offer free consultations to help you understand how your case might proceed and what our attorneys can do to help fight your case. To set up your free consultation, contact our law offices today at (609) 616-4956.