New Jersey Criminal Defense Law Blog

New Jersey Criminal Defense Law Blog

Blood & Breath Test Refusal

Here is some important precedent governing Blood & Breath test refusal in New Jersey:

State v. Cummings, 184 N.J. 84 (2005)

The Supreme Court of New Jersey held that the elements of refusal must be established beyond a reasonable doubt.

State v. Bernhardt, 245 N.J. Super 210(App. Div. 1992)

This case sets forth the six elements necessary to establish refusal. The court also held that once a defendant refuses to take a breathalyzer test he cannot thereafter “cure” the refusal by agreeing to take the test.

State v. Carrado, 184 N.J. Super 561(App. Div. 1982)

This case held that a request requires a simple “yes” or “no” and setting is not one for explanation, negotiation, or debate.

By |2012-06-07T17:46:13+00:00June 7, 2012|Case Summaries|Comments Off on Blood & Breath Test Refusal

Underage Gambling Charges in New Jersey

A charge for underage gambling in New Jersey can have serious and lasting consequences. If convicted, this will lead to a permanent charge on your record which will appear on background checks conducted by educational institutions and potential employers. This can have a significant negative impact on a young person and their future.  A criminal charge for underage gambling in New Jersey is governed by N.J.S.A. 5:12-119 which provides in pertinent part:

N.J. Stat. § 5:12-119 (2010) Gaming by certain persons prohibited; penalties; defenses
a. No person under the age at which a person is authorized to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages shall enter, or wager in, a licensed casino or simulcasting facility; provided, however, that such a person may enter a casino or simulcasting facility by way of passage to another room, and provided further, however, that any such person who is licensed or registered under the provisions of the “Casino Control Act,” P.L. 1977, c. 110, may enter a casino or simulcasting facility in the regular course of the person’s permitted activities.

Any person who violates this subsection shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense and shall be fined not less than $ 500 and not more than $ 1,000. In addition, the court shall suspend or postpone the person’s license to operate a motor vehicle for six months.

Unfortunately, the Atlantic City Municipal Court and the Atlantic City Municipal Prosecutor have a “ban” on plea bargaining a criminal charge for underage gambling in Atlantic City. As a result, as a defendant, you have two options. The first option is to plead guilty with the minimum penalties and the second option is to take the case to trial. The minimum penalties include a $500.00 fine and a six month suspension of your driving privileges in New Jersey. To prove a violation of this statute, the State must only show that an individual under the legal age to drink (21) was present on the casino floor, provided that the individual is not merely “passing through” such as traveling through the casino to reach the hotel lobby.

It is imperative that you have an experienced criminal defense lawyer represent you at trial. The State typically produces evidence, including a narrative report of the incident and video footage of the alleged crime, which must be reviewed and entered into evidence at trial. Moreover, the State must call the security officers to the stand to testify as to their observations and actions. If the State’s witnesses fail to appear for trial, we may be able to get the charges dismissed altogether.

If you or a loved one has been charged with underage gambling in New Jersey, contact my law firm for immediate assistance at (732)450-8300. The initial consultation is always provided free of charge.

By |2012-06-07T17:44:46+00:00June 7, 2012|Case Summaries|Comments Off on Underage Gambling Charges in New Jersey

Wall Township Drunk Driving (DWI) Charge Dismissed

My law firm recently represented a client charged with a driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense in Wall Township, New Jersey in Monmouth County.

This was the client’s first DWI charge and the breath test readings were .07% Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). Although this is not a “per se” violation of the statute because the legal limit in New Jersey is .08%, the State can still prove a DWI charge using the psycho-physical tests. These are the field sobriety tests performed by law enforcement officers at the scene of the drunk driving stop.

A first offense DWI charge in New Jersey has the following penalties with a breath reading of .07%:

  • Three (3) months driver’s license suspension
  • Fine: $250.00 to $400.00
  • Up to thirty (30) days in jail at the discretion of the court
  • Between twelve (12) and forty-eight (48) hours in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC)
  • New Jersey DMV Surcharge: $1,000.00 per year for three years
  • Mandatory fines and penalties

In this case, we were able to isolate significant problems with the breath testing device including problems with the standard solution and the solution change on the Alcotest 7110 breath testing machine. Further, the State was unable to prove the drunk driving charge based on the field sobriety tests. As a result, our attorneys were able to convince the State that they could not prove the driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge and the case was dismissed. This was a great result for our client and the firm.

By |2012-06-07T17:44:43+00:00June 7, 2012|Case Summaries|Comments Off on Wall Township Drunk Driving (DWI) Charge Dismissed

DWI Law in New Jersey: Operating a Vehicle

Here are a few case summaries of important case law in New Jersey regarding w operation of a vehicle:

State v. Mulcahy, 107 N.J. 467 (1987)

The important precedent from this case is that the key to establishing operation is whether or not the defendant intended to operate the vehicle. The Supreme Court of New Jersey held that police officers, who saw defendant, who was drunk, stagger out of tavern into car that was illegally parked on sidewalk, could arrest defendant for purposes of submission to sobriety test when defendant started to put keys in the ignition. The defendant’s attempt to place keys in the ignition was “operation” of motor vehicle sufficient to warrant submission to the breathalyzer test.

State v. Daly, 64 N.J. 122 (1973)

The defendant did not possess an “intent” to operate his car notwithstanding the fact that the car was running insofar as he had been sleeping in the car with the heat on for almost 1.5 hours prior to police arriving.

State v. DiFrancisco, 232 N.J.Super. 317 (LawDiv.1988)

A defendant does not “operate” a motor vehicle under the DWI statute where it is impossible to move the vehicle. Defendant who was sitting behind steering wheel of pickup truck which was partially on a driveway and partially in a ditch and which, according to officer, could not be moved was not “operating” the truck and thus could not be convicted of driving while intoxicated.

In the absence of any evidence from the State showing that breathalyzer test was administered within a reasonable time after defendant was stopped for drunk driving, breathalyzer test results were inadmissible.

By |2012-06-07T17:30:52+00:00June 7, 2012|Case Summaries|Comments Off on DWI Law in New Jersey: Operating a Vehicle
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