A policeman on routine patrol noticed a vehicle with its hazard lights on pulled over on the north side of Route 31. When he approached the vehicle, he reports that he found a New Jersey man asleep in the driver’s seat. Before long, the man was charged with a DWI offense, careless driving and refusing to take a breath test.

The officer reported that when he got closer to the vehicle, he discovered the engine was running. It was upon even closer inspection that he claims he found the driver of the car asleep at the wheel. Reportedly, he further observed the car was in neutral with the emergency brake set. When he awakened the man, the emergency brake was apparently disabled by the driver. Reportedly, the car rolled back into the officer’s patrol car.

The man moved his car and gave the keys to the officer, as requested. The officer said he suspected the man was intoxicated after smelling alcohol in the man’s vicinity. The officer then arrested the man and took him to headquarters, where the driver purportedly declined to give breath samples to register his blood alcohol level.

The driver has the right to contest all of the charges against him including the allegation of a DWI offense. Just because the officer smelled alcohol does not prove intoxication. Prosecutors will be responsible for proving beyond a reasonable doubt and according to the court’s precise giudelines that the man was driving while impaired. With regard to the fact that the man declined to take a breath test, he could face separate consequences under New Jersey’s “implied consent” law whereby the refusal to take a breath test could result in the suspension of a person’s driver’s license and fines. Moreover, prosecutors may attempt to use a breath test refusal as evidence of guilt with regard to the DWI charge.

Source: Hunterdon County Democrat, “Car rolls into Clinton Township police car; driver charged with DWI“, , July 22, 2014

Tags: DWI offense, breath test