New Jersey is tough on drunk drivers. Even a first-time DWI can result in the loss of a person's driver's license for up to a full year, motor vehicle commission surcharges and significant long-term insurance cost increases. Someone charged with underage DWI faces even more lasting consequences.
Recently, a 20-year-old New Jersey man was driving a 2001 Honda Accord south on Route 9 in Manalapan around midnight on a Friday night. According to the authorities, he began to make an illegal left turn onto Taylors Mills Road and caused an accident with a 1997 Mercury Sable, which was operated by a 19-year-old man.
Neither driver was hurt in the accident. However, the two teenage passengers who had been riding in the Honda's backseat suffered life-threatening injuries. One, an 18-year-old man, was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. The other, a 16-year-old girl, was rushed to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune by medevac helicopter.
Police believe the man who had been driving the Honda was drunk at the time of the collision. They charged him with underage driving while intoxicated for allegedly causing the accident. In addition to the underage DWI charge, he was charged with driving while intoxicated with a passenger under 18, reckless driving, improper U-turn and other traffic violations.
Anytime someone is charged with a drunk driving offense, it is important to examine all aspects of the charge. Did the police officer have probable cause to stop the vehicle? Did the arresting officer have any reason to suspect the driver was intoxicated? Do any unusual circumstances exist such as insufficient evidence that the accused was actually behind the wheel? These questions and more should always be asked and answered.
Source: nj.com, "Monroe man, 20, charged with DUI in Manalapan crash that left 2 teens with life-threatening injuries," Simone Sebastian, 2 April 2011
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