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Endangering the Welfare of a Child Charges for DUI in New Jersey

Facing Charges for DWI with a Minor Passenger in NJ

Charged with dui child endangering Mt Laurel NJ lawyers near meThe offense of driving under the influence in New Jersey can be punished severely, especially for subsequent offenses. When an individual decides to drive while intoxicated (DWI) or drive under influence of drugs (DUI) with a minor passenger in the vehicle, New Jersey law enforcement, prosecutors, and the criminal justice system take the offense even more seriously. Adult passengers typically have a choice and ability to exercise their own judgment when they decide to drive in a vehicle with someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but a child does not usually have that choice or the ability to understand the dangers of the situation. Accordingly, New Jersey law considers driving under the influence with a child a disorderly persons offense at the very least, but it may also give rise to a charge for third or second degree endangering the welfare of a child.

New Jersey DWI Charges with Children

You can be charged with an indictable crime for endangering the welfare of a child if you drive while intoxicated with a minor child in the vehicle. The prosecution must prove that you were in control of the vehicle, there was a child under the age of 18 riding as a passenger in the vehicle, and you were legally responsible for that child. Whether the offense will be charged as a second degree or third degree offense depends on the circumstances of your case.

What are the penalties for DUI with a Minor Passenger in NJ?

The penalties for third degree endangering the welfare of a child, an indictable offense, may include up to 3 to 5 years in state prison, with a presumption against incarceration, and up to $15,000 in fines. If you are convicted of second degree endangering the welfare of a child, you could be sentenced to 5 to 10 years in prison, with a presumption of incarceration, and fines of up to $150,000. The distinction between second and third degree child endangerment is very important, as a third degree crime may result in no jail time, while a second degree crime entails mandatory imprisonment. In other words, if you are convicted of second degree endangering a child involving a DWI, you will be sentenced to jail even if you have no prior record and have never been arrested before.

Arrested for DWI with a Child, Where will my Case be Heard?

Typically, DWI charges are handled in the local municipal court in the municipality where you were arrested. However, because endangering the welfare of a child is an indictable offense, your case will be heard in the superior court in the county where you were arrested and charged. Although DUI is technically a traffic offense and usually heard in municipal court, your DWI and endangering a minor charges will likely be heard together in superior court.

Need a Lawyer for DWI with a Child Charges in Mount Laurel, NJ

The most effective way to handle a charge of endangering the welfare of a child, based on driving while intoxication with that child in the vehicle, is to focus on defending against the underlying DWI charge. Due to the complexity of these cases, it is best to have your case defended by an experienced DUI lawyer who has successfully handled cases like yours on numerous occasions previously. Leonard D. Biddison and the DWI attorneys at our firm are skilled at challenging the admissibility of evidence against you, due to issues with the validity of test results or instances where your constitutional rights were violated. We have been defending clients arrested for DUI with children in New Jersey for years and know what it takes to win in these cases. Call us today at for 856.427.6888 for a free consultation. We would be happy to review your case and discuss what defenses may be available to you. If you need help fighting DWI and child endangerment in Burlington County or elsewhere in South Jersey, we regularly appear in courts in Evesham Township, Cinnaminson, Mount Holly, Bordentown, Burlington City, Delran, Pemberton, and surrounding areas.

DUI Heroin Charges in Bordentown, NJ

Charged with Driving under the Influence of Heroin in Bordentown NJ

Bordentown DUI Heroin LawyerBordentown, New Jersey is a leading source of DUI charges in Burlington County. As a result, people are charged on a regular basis with driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and forced to face prosecution in the Bordentown Municipal Court. Since the rise in heroin use in New Jersey and across the United States, DUI charges involving heroin are becoming more and more prevalent. In Bordentown, motor vehicle stops and traffic accidents lead to numerous heroin DUI offenses against residents and people just traveling through.

In a recent incident, a Bordentown man, who was driving while high on heroin, crashed his vehicle after going airborne and drove his vehicle over two front lawns. He nearly hit another motorist, but officials say no one was injured. When the police and fire department arrived at the scene, the man was passed out behind the wheel. He was subsequently charged with possession of heroin and driving under the influence (DUI). Under New Jersey law, it is illegal to operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs, like heroin. Heroin is an extremely dangerous drug and it can seriously impair your reaction time and ability to drive safely.

If you are charged with driving under the influence of drugs in New Jersey and it is your first offense, you may face confinement for a period of at least 12 hours but no more than 48 hours after your arrest, fines between $300 to $500, and possible imprisonment of up to 30 days. You will also face driver’s license suspension for between 7 months and 1 year if convicted of drug DUI in New Jersey.

Bordentown Drug DUI Prosecutions

Unlike sobriety tests designed to determine if a driver is driving under the influence of alcohol, a police officer cannot administer a breathalyzer to see if someone if driving under the influence of drugs. Instead, New Jersey uses Drug Recognition Experts (DRE), professionals who are trained to identify indications of drug use. These experts follow a 12-step protocol, which is used to determine whether an individual is impaired. If an individual is suspected of being under the influence of heroin while driving, the DRE will look at the suspect’s behavior and appearance, their pupil size under three different lighting conditions, the results of four different psychological tests, indications of injection marks, and several other relevant factors.

While the assessment of a DRE can be helpful to the prosecution’s case, it is not required in order to prove driving under the influence in court. The prosecution can also rely on the testimony of a police officer, toxicology reports, field sobriety test results, and any other evidence.

DUI Heroin Lawyer in Bordentown, New Jersey

If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Bordentown or elsewhere in Burlington County after using heroin or any other drug, it is crucial to be represented by an experienced DUI Defense Attorney. If the prosecution is submitting an analysis from a DRE, your lawyer can try to refute the findings of the report and provide alternative explanations for certain factors such as your behavior or pupil size to cast doubt on the prosecution’s case.

Depending on the facts of your case, a skilled DUI lawyer may be able to argue for the exclusion of certain evidence if it was improperly obtained. Leonard D. Biddison is a highly experienced New Jersey DWI Defense Lawyer who has successfully handled countless DUI cases involving heroin and other drugs in the Burlington County area. With over 25 years’ experience, Mr. Biddison will closely review the facts in your case to find any and all potential defenses that may be available to you. For additional information, call our law office today at 856-427-6888 for a free consultation. Mr. Biddison will be happy to review your case and aggressively defend you against these charges.

Warrantless Blood Draws vs Breath Samples for DWI in New Jersey

Burlington Twp NJ DWI Charge DefenseProsecutors in New Jersey use both blood samples and breathalyzer test results to prove DWI charges against those accused of driving under the influence. Although these test results can be damaging in court, they can also be deemed inadmissible if an experienced DWI attorney raises a valid defense. Attorney Leonard D. Biddison knows how to challenge the validity of blood and breath test results in DUI cases because he has been doing it for over 25 years. Below is a thorough explanation of one possible defense to DWI charges, involving a warrantless blood sample. To speak with experienced Burlington New Jersey DWI defense lawyer Leonard Biddison about your specific case, call (856) 427-6888. Initial consultations are always provided free of charge.

DWI Blood Samples & Motions to Suppress in NJ

A motion to suppress evidence of a blood sample that was taken without a warrant from a Medford woman, who was responsible for a fatal car accident back in 2013, was denied by a Superior Court judge at the Burlington County Courthouse in Mt. Holly, New Jersey. After pleading guilty to vehicular homicide and driving under the influence the night of the fatal accident, she filed a motion to suppress the evidence of her blood sample because she alleges that she never gave consent to have her blood drawn. A motion to suppress is a request that the court exclude certain evidence from the record, so that it will not be considered by the jury. If evidence was obtained in violation of a person’s constitutional rights, that argument can form the basis of a motion to suppress.

In this case, the police officer who claims to have obtained her consent stated that the woman gave verbal consent for the sample, but did not sign a written consent form because he did not want to disrupt her medical providers with so many individuals moving around to provide care for the woman. The defendant’s motion to suppress the evidence was denied by the court and now, the defendant is appealing that decision.

So, what’s the take away from all of this? The police need a warrant, your consent, or an exception to the warrant requirement if they want to draw your blood (or rather, have a medical professional draw your blood) to test it for alcohol content, in order to not violate your constitutional 4th Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure. This is because having your blood drawn is invasive and you have a reasonable expectation of privacy to not have your blood drawn without a warrant or your consent.

Breath Tests for DWI: Understanding the Rules under NJ Law

On the other hand, drivers in New Jersey cannot refuse a breathalyzer test, even though it is also considered a search and seizure. This is because when New Jersey drivers obtain their New Jersey driver’s license, they sign a form consenting to a breathalyzer test, should a law enforcement officer request one. If you do refuse, you can face significant consequences including seven months of license suspension, six months of driving with an ignition interlock device, driver education classes, and fines.

If you have been charged with DWI in New Jersey after being administering a breathalyzer test or having a blood sample taken, the evidence obtained from these tests can be very damaging to your case. If the evidence tends to establish your guilt of the offenses, finding a way to have the evidence suppressed is your best option.

The Rules of Evidence in New Jersey DWI cases can be very complicated and hiring an experienced DWI lawyer is crucial when handling complex evidentiary issues on cases that can lead to significant penalties. If you believe that your blood was drawn without a warrant and without your consent in a DWI case, call experienced Burlington NJ DWI attorney Leonard Biddison and the team at our firm today for a free consultation. Do not face these charges in court alone. Be prepared with an experienced DWI defense team ready to leverage your best defenses. Call (856) 427-6888 or contact us online for immediate assistance.

New Jersey Law on DWI DUI Checkpoints

DWI Checkpoint Defense Evesham NJ

When you are driving down the road and realize that you are approaching a DWI checkpoint, it is not unusual to feel a bit nervous—even if you are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The best way to manage this potential stress is to understand your rights and law enforcement’s obligations before you find yourself at a DWI checkpoint in New Jersey. Below is a thorough explanation of New Jersey law on DWI checkpoints and answers to some of the leading questions about what to do at DUI checkpoints in New Jersey.

If you have been charged with DWI at a sobriety checkpoint in the Burlington County NJ area, call experienced DWI defense lawyer Leonard D. Biddison at (856) 427-6888 for immediate assistance. He has been defending clients against DWI charges in Bordentown, Cinnaminson, Mt Laurel, Mt Holly, Evesham Township, and throughout New Jersey for over 25 years and can help you avoid the serious consequences you face.

Are DWI checkpoints constitutional?

Under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, you are protected against unreasonable search and seizure. That means that the police cannot conduct a search of an area where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy without your consent or a warrant, with a few exceptions. Due to this protection, the constitutionality of DWI checkpoints has been debated and challenged in courts. However, in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Michigan v. Sitz, the court ruled that DWI checkpoints are in fact constitutional and found that they are only a brief and slight intrusion on motorists.

What procedures must police follow when operating a DWI checkpoint in NJ?

In order to conduct a DWI checkpoint in New Jersey, there are certain rules and procedures the police must follow. First, the police must give advance public notice of a scheduled DWI checkpoint. They must use appropriate signs and lighting to alert drivers to the checkpoint. After using a neutral, mathematical formula to determine which vehicles to stop, the police can only stop drivers for a brief period of time to ask them for basic information, look at their driver’s license, registration, and insurance, and check for signs of impairment.

If I see an NJ DWI checkpoint ahead, do I have to keep driving towards it?

If you see a notice sign for a DWI checkpoint on the road you are driving on in New Jersey, you are not obligated to continue driving towards the checkpoint. As long as you can make a U-turn legally or take a different route without violating traffic laws, you may do so. The police cannot pull you over simply for rerouting your vehicle to avoid a DWI checkpoint. They may only stop you if they suspect you have violated a traffic law or committed some other offense.

Do I have to submit to a breathalyzer test at a New Jersey DUI Checkpoint?

If the police otherwise have probable cause to believe you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they can request that you submit to a breathalyzer test. In New Jersey, you provide “implied consent” to a breath test by operating a motor vehicle on any roadway. If you refuse a DWI breath test, you will be charged with a DUI Refusal offense and face the same penalties that you would with a typical drunk driving offense. As a general rule of thumb, you should agree to take the Alcotest because this provides an experienced DWI defense lawyer with the opportunity to challenge the breath test results. If you refuse, there is less evidence to use in your DWI defense strategy.

Do I have to let the police search my vehicle at a Sobriety Checkpoint in NJ?

If you are stopped by police at a DWI checkpoint, or at any other time, you are never required to give consent for the police to conduct a search of your vehicle. As stated above, in order to conduct a search of an area where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy, the police must either have your consent, a warrant, or an exception to the warrant requirement must apply.

One of those exceptions applicable to a search at a DWI checkpoint is called the “automobile exception” and it applies when the police have probable cause to believe a search of your vehicle would result in evidence of a crime or contraband. They may also search the area of your vehicle that is approximately within your arms’ length, if they are placing you under arrest. Another exception to the warrant requirement for a search is an inventory search of your vehicle, which the police may conduct after you are arrested and your vehicle is impounded.

If no exceptions to the warrant exception apply, the police must obtain your consent to search your vehicle without a warrant. You are not under any legal obligation to give them consent and your refusal to give consent for a search of your vehicle cannot result in criminal charges.

Evesham Township DWI Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with a DWI at a DUI checkpoint, or you believe the police violated your rights in connection to a DWI checkpoint in New Jersey, contact DWI defense attorney Leonard D. Biddison to discuss your case. Call (856) 427-6888 or submit a contact form online and we will get back to you right away.

Burlington NJ Traffic Stop Leads to DUI and Cocaine Charges

Burlington DWI ChargesOn Thursday, a 19-year-old driver in Burlington, NJ was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) and felony possession of cocaine. When the driver was stopped by police, they allegedly smelled alcohol on this breath. He registered a blood-alcohol content level of 0.11. The police reportedly found open containers of alcoholic beverages in his motor vehicle, as well as cocaine. He was taken to Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly, NJ for processing.

This incident illustrates how a single motor vehicle stop can lead to multiple criminal charges. In order to pull over a vehicle, police must have reasonable suspicion of a violation of the law. Reasonable suspicion requires suspicion of a violation based on specific facts that the officer can articulate. If a driver is speeding, swerving, breaking a traffic law, or doing anything that could indicate they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the police can pull them over and the driver is required by law to stop.

Typically, in order to protect an individual’s 4th Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure, police must have a warrant to conduct a search of your personal property. A few exceptions apply including, but not limited to, evidence in plain view and a search of a motor vehicle with probable cause.

Under the “plain view” doctrine, the police may seize evidence of a crime or contraband that they are able to observe in plain view from a place they are lawfully located.

The motor vehicle exception to a search warrant allows police to search a vehicle for evidence of a crime or contraband if they have probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and a search is likely to produce evidence of that crime. Note that probable cause is a higher standard than reasonable suspicion.

Once the police make a traffic stop based on reasonable suspicion, they may observe specific facts that create probable cause to search the motor vehicle. In a situation similar to the case involving the 19-year-old man in Burlington County, NJ, described above, if a police officer smells alcohol on the breath of a driver, they will likely administer a breathalyzer test. New Jersey has an implied consent law, which requires drivers to submit to breathalyzer tests or face serious penalties.

A variety of factors, including failing a breathalyzer test, having the smell of alcohol on your breath, your behavior, and your speech, could establish probable cause for the officer to place you under arrest for driving while intoxicated.

Under the plain view doctrine, open bottles of alcohol in your vehicle that can be viewed by the officer from outside of the vehicle can be seized without probable cause to search the vehicle and you can be charged with having open bottles of alcohol in your motor vehicle.

Those bottles can also create probable cause for the officer to search the vehicle for additional evidence that you are driving under the influence and/or driving with open bottles of alcohol. In addition, if you are placed under arrest for DUI, the police may search your vehicle for evidence related to your arrest without a warrant under the search incident to a lawful arrest exception. Note that under this exception the police are only allowed to search for evidence related to the charges you are being arrested for. For example, absent additional probable cause, the police could not search your vehicle for drugs if you are being arrested for driving with a suspended license.

During a lawful search of a vehicle, if the officer finds drugs—like the cocaine found in the case of last week’s Burlington County driver—you can also be charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS).

While an officer would not have the right to pull you over and search your vehicle for drugs without having reasonable suspicion to pull you over in the first place, you can see from this example how one lawful traffic stop can potentially lead to multiple charges.

Facing DWI Charges in Burlington, NJ?

If you are facing charges that arose from a traffic stop in Burlington County, New Jersey, contact our experienced criminal defense lawyers to review your case and determine what defenses may be available to you. The Law Offices of Leonard Biddison is thoroughly equipped to defend your innocence, so call 856-427-6888 or send us a message today to arrange a free consultation.

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