Would You Like A Drunk Driving Charge With That Transit Sign?

drunk driving charge New Jersey There are many reasons why alcohol and driving don’t mix. Alcohol can give you a feeling of courage and invincibility. It can affect your judgement and your hand-eye coordination. It can also limit your vision and make you unaware that you’re speeding or swerving. Because of the effect of alcohol, what started as a quick drive can end in a drunk driving charge. Or, in the case of a New Jersey woman, a drunk driving charge plus the pesky issue of a transit sign sticking out of the roof of her car.

Police were surprised to see a vehicle with excess cargo driving down busy Route 46 in South Hackensack, New Jersey. She was pulled over, and the arresting officer asked her why she was driving with a large transit sign sticking out of her roof. The interesting part? She didn’t even realize it was there.

Apparently, she had been driving for a while and the sign had, somehow and without her noticing, become stuck in the vehicle. Police took video when she was pulled over, and it’s hard to understand how it would be possible not to notice the sign. It’s positioned through the sun roof and impaled in the back seat of the car.

It didn’t take long for police to realize she was driving under the influence, and she was arrested on a drunk driving charge as well as careless driving. In New Jersey, that charge is going to result in her spending some time in court. If she’s convicted she could spend up to 30 days in jail, lose her driver’s license for up to a year, and she’ll pay up to $500 in fines and even more in other fees.

She may also be required to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle she drives. New Jersey law states that any first-time offender with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher be required to install and use an interlock. An ignition interlock—a device that requires you to blow into it to monitor your blood alcohol content, is the only way to ensure this driver doesn’t drive drunk again.

Let’s hope this offender is required to drive with an interlock, because there’s no telling what type of sign she’ll bring home or what she’ll hit the next time she drives drunk.

Drunk Driving Crash Prompts Possible New Law In New Jersey

drunk driving crashClosure is hard to come by after you lose someone to a drunk driving crash. That’s because it’s not an accident when someone drives drunk and they crash: it’s a deliberate choice, and when someone takes a life because of a choice they made, the victim’s family can find it extremely hard to move on.

That’s why families of drunk driving victims often make the decision to work to improve drunk driving laws by backing bills and helping improve existing laws. For many families those improvements include ignition interlocks for all offenders in their state, while others focus on toughening up drunk driving laws for repeat offenders.

New Jersey is a good example: lawmakers have just sent a bill, A-3686, to Governor Chris Christie’s desk for his signature. The proposed law is also known as Ralph and David’s Law, and if signed it will honor the memory of two drunk driving victims and toughen up repeat offender laws.

Ralph Politi was a business owner and volunteer who was crashed into by a drunk driver while he was standing beside his truck. The offender was found guilty for causing the drunk driving crash, but he only lost his driver’s license for 2 years and had to perform 30 days of community service. That’s a pretty light sentence for killing someone.

The bill is also named for David Heim, a 13-year-old boy who was killed in a drunk driving crash. The driver, a first offender in New Jersey, only received 30 days in jail.

If Governor Christie signs Ralph and David’s law, New Jersey drunk driving laws would change to require anyone who kills a person while drunk to be guilty of strict liability vehicular homicide. It would be a third-degree offense, and even first offenders would receive jail time of three to five years. They would also pay up to $15,000 in fines.

This law would be active the second Governor Christie signs it. For the sake of the families who lost someone so tragically and to prevent crashes like these from happening again, let’s hope it gets a signature soon.

Arrested Twice – But He’s No Ordinary Repeat DWI Offender

suspected drunk driving People have a lot of excuses when they are arrested for DWI, and most of them aren’t good. Standard excuses like, “I didn’t realize I had too much to drink,” or “I only had one drink” are pretty common. Other excuses, including “I haven’t been drinking at all” despite all evidence to the contrary; that’s less common, but still frequent enough that police know to test a suspected drunk driving offender’s breath via a breathalyzer if they suspect drunk driving.

But what excuse could you have for being arrested for suspected drunk driving not once, but twice in one day? A West Milford, New Jersey man just had the distinction of being one of the few people who have done this, and now he’s paying the price.

It began at almost two am one morning in May. The suspected drunk driver was standing outside of his vehicle and yelling at people who lived in an apartment complex. Police were called in, and after they determined he drove to that location he was arrested for suspected drunk driving the first time. He also refused to submit to a breathalyzer test.

Not even three hours later, somewhere around five am, the man returned to the very same apartment building, this time driving a family member’s car. He was back to start more trouble with the people who originally called him in, and police were called out again. This time he resisted arrested, refused to perform field sobriety tests, and refused the breathalyzer, again. He was charged with a second DWI, this time tacking on a charge of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

If he’s convicted of both DWI charges, his penalties could fall in line with that of a repeat drunk driving offender in New Jersey. That means he could spend up to ninety days in jail, pay up to $1,000 in fines, lose his driver’s license for two years, and he may need to install an ignition interlock in any vehicle he drives.

It’s cases like these that make you wonder whether someone thought drunk driving is like lightning in that it couldn’t possibly strike twice. As this suspected drunk driving offender has obviously learned, it can definitely strike twice, even on one day.

Offender Misses DWI Trial Due To Fatal Drunk Driving Crash

New-jersey-dwi-crashWhere would you be if you were scheduled for your driving while intoxicated (DWI) hearing? Most people would say at the courthouse waiting to be called in. After all, if you miss your court appearance you’re in even more trouble than you were before, but that didn’t stop one offender in New Jersey from driving drunk to her court appearance. What’s even worse? She crashed into someone before she could make her appearance.

The offender, Kathleen MacKey, was driving on a road in New Jersey when she struck and killed Leslie Stein. Stein was innocently sweeping the street in front of his home at the time he was hit, and although he was rushed to the hospital, it was a fatal injury and he passed away.

The crash happened at approximately 5:00 pm, and that was the exact time of MacKey’s court date for a DWI charge she received in August of 2015. That DWI involved her crashing into a parked car, and at the time she was charged with DWI, reckless driving, and failure to maintain a lane.

Because she had her drivers license revoked due to her previous DWI in New Jersey, she was driving on a suspended license at the time of the fatal crash. Now she’s been charged with both causing death while driving on a suspended or revoked license and driving while license suspended.

In recent years, New Jersey has made an effort to crack down on drunk drivers. Unless there are aggravating factors like a fatal crash or injury, repeat offenders can spend up to 180 days in jail, pay up to $1,000 in fines, and lose their drivers license for 10 years. If they ever drive again, they’ll be required to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle they drive.

This offender decided to take matters into her own hands and drive without a license, and that’s a big problem when it comes to cracking down on drunk drivers. The state punishes someone with a drivers license suspension only to find they cause a crash because they decided to drive without one anyway. That’s why mandatory ignition interlock programs for all offenders is an important step in fighting back against drunk driving in all states. Even one more life lost due to drunk driving is one life too many.

 

3 Year Old Takes The Wheel After DUI Mom Falls Out Of Truck

3-year-old-dui-oklahoma

Image from telegraph.co.uk

When you’re 3 years old you’re just starting preschool. You like to play with your toys and go for play dates, and the biggest thing that should happen to you during your week is heading out for ice cream with your parents. Unfortunately for two twin boys in Oklahoma, that’s not how a recent week played out.

On a Wednesday afternoon one of the twins found himself driving a pickup truck across four lanes of traffic, and although both boys are safe and sound, their mother has been booked on charges of driving under the influence (DUI) and child endangerment.

The mom, Taloa Foster, told police the incident occurred because she was trying to buckle her son’s seat belt and she fell out of the truck. Her son then stood on the seat of the truck and steered it safely across traffic for 3 blocks before he crashed into a curb. Witnesses say Foster was walking along the road at the time of the crash, and police had to calm the upset children while she submitted to a breathalyzer test. Police also discovered open alcohol in the vehicle.

It’s a miracle the boys were uninjured, and they were released into the custody of their grandfather. Now that their mother has been charged, she’ll face DUI penalties in accordance with the state of Oklahoma. Those penalties include jail time for first offenders from 5 days up to 1 year, up to $1,000 in fines, a 30-day drivers license suspension, and if it was a repeat offense, an ignition interlock in any vehicle she drives.

Maybe at 3 years old these boys won’t remember what it was like to take a wild drive down a busy street because their mom decided to get behind the wheel while drinking, but hopefully the crash, penalties, and possible jail time will be a harsh lesson for Foster and she’ll never drink and drive again.

Christie Vetoes Ignition Interlock Bill In New Jersey

Christie Vetoes Ignition Interlock Bill In New JerseyAt first glance it looks like New Jersey has had a set back in their quest for an all offender ignition interlock law. But if you dig a little deeper, it appears that Chris Christie isn’t against ignition interlocks at all – he just doesn’t want the state to lose their tough stance on drunk driving.

The ignition interlock bill that hit Christie’s desk was passed by the state Senate with a vote of 29-4, and it would have allowed the majority of drunk drivers in the state to reduce a first time driver’s license suspension from a period of 3 to 7 months to only 10 days. In lieu of the suspension, the drivers would have been required to install an ignition interlock device instead, something only first time offenders with blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) over .15 are now required to do.

Instead of approving the bill as it stands, Christie has conditionally vetoed it, and the reason why has everything to do with New Jersey’s current driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws. He called the new bill too ‘sweeping and lenient’ and he’s been quoted as saying he’s skeptical that giving first offenders a shorter driver’s license suspension will keep drinking drivers off the roads. He’d rather see a combination of the current strict laws with the use of ignition interlocks for all offenders.

Proponents of the bill aren’t impressed with the veto – they proposed the shorter driver’s license suspension so drivers charged with DWI would be able to get back on the road and driving to work quickly thanks to the ignition interlock.

For both sides to get on the same page, some work needs to be done on this bill, but it’s encouraging that the use of ignition interlocks are the one thing both sides can agree will make New Jersey’s roads safer.

Will New Jersey Pass The Ignition Interlock Bill North Dakota Vetoed?

ignition interlockAs more and more states pass legislation requiring ignition interlock devices for all offenders, one state is slowly working its way to stronger interlock laws while another is watching as their law appears dead in the water.

Two senators from New Jersey are seeking an all offender ignition interlock law for their state. Introduced as House Bill S 385, it would improve the current law that requires ignition interlocks for all repeat and first-time drivers convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or greater. With the passing of the bill, all offenders with a BAC of .08 to .14 would have to use the ignition interlock for a period of 3 to 12 months. If the offender drives drunk during the last 1/3 of their interlock program, their time using the ignition interlock will be extended.

The bill would also allow for judge’s discretion if there were aggravating factors added to the DUI. The judge will be able to decide if a complete driver’s license suspension is a better option for that offender and refuse to allow him or her a restricted license or the privilege of installing the interlock device.

While New Jersey’s bill is up in the air, North Dakota’s ignition interlock bill has come crashing down after it was defeated in the House with a vote of 76 to 16. Current DUI laws in North Dakota require drinking drivers to pay fines, lose their driver’s license, and may be required to install an ignition interlock at the judge’s discretion. The new bill would have made ignition interlock devices a mandatory part of the state’s 24/7 sobriety program.

It’s hard to argue with the data supporting ignition interlock devices, and it has been proven that ignition interlock devices reduce the likelihood a drunk driver will drive again by up to 67%. That’s why its surprising North Dakota’s bill has been vetoed. Maybe if New Jersey becomes the latest state on board with an all offender ignition interlock requirement, North Dakota will take another hard look at its own laws.

 

 

Crazy Drunk Driving Stories:
Holiday Edition

Image from: http://classicrock945.ca/Christmas has come and gone once again, and during that time thousands of people across the country have been arrested for drunk driving. While most people will be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) after being stopped at a road check or pulled over by police, the road to DUI penalties like jail time, fines, and an ignition interlock is a little different for a select few.

Take this New Jersey man as an example – he was arrested for driving under the influence after he was found passed out in his car right before Christmas. Although he was confused about where he was and had an open can of alcohol, the strangest thing about this arrest was that he was wearing an Elf on the Shelf costume complete with red shirt, pants, and a ruffled collar.

Image from http://www.adweek.com/The Elf on the Shelf is extremely popular with children this time of year, but this particular Elf wasn’t popular with police. He was issued a summons for DUI and will face fines, driver’s license suspension, and will have to drive with an ignition interlock.

This one might not be a drunk driving arrest, but it’s a strong warning for anyone who might want to drink and drive in South Dakota. The South Dakota Department of Public Safety created a holiday themed print ad where they spun the classic ‘Twas the night before Christmas’ story with a scraggly ‘Party Santa’ and a strong message – don’t drink and drive over the holidays. If you do drink and drive in South Dakota, you’ll receive up to one year in jail, fines up to $1,000, and a mandatory ignition interlock on any car you drive.

No one wants to kick off the New Year with a drinking and driving conviction and an ignition interlock program for a year or more. Make it one of your New Year’s resolutions to stay safe and never get behind the wheel after drinking.

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