State v. C.H. (resolution date 10/22/2013)
Defendant was charged with DWI (NJSA 39:4-50) and Careless Driving (NJSA 39:4-97). On August 9, 2013 local police observed a silver pick-up truck traveling east in the right lane of travel on Rt. 22. The officer opined that the vehicle observed had difficulty maintaining lane by swerving in and out of the lane and was driving faster than the posted speed limit, specifically by driving 70 m.p.h. in a 55 m.p.h. zone. The officer approached the driver from the passenger side of at which point the officer smelled alcohol emanating from the car. The officer further observed that the driver’s eyes were glossy and watery and the driver was fumbling his paperwork in an effort to provide the officer his license and registration. The officer then began to question the driver as to the smell of alcohol whereby the driver responded that he had two (2) drinks of cranberry Absolute vodka within a ten (10) minute period of time. At that point the officer requested that the driver step out of the vehicle and perform various field sobriety tests. The officer administered the HGN test- which the officer opined that the driver failed. Secondly, the officer requested the driver to perform the walk and turn test- which the officer opined the driver failed. Lastly, the officer requested the to perform the one leg stand test, which once again the driver, according to the officer- failed. At that point the officer placed the driver under arrest and transported the driver to the New Jersey located police station where the driver submitted to a breath test that resulted in a reported breath test result of .14% BAC. The driver was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol in the State of New Jersey in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 and carelessly operating his vehicle in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-97. On October 22, 2013 the .14% breath test result was suppressed and the driver pled guilty to a lower tiered DWI violation resulting in a three (3) month loss of driving privileges the remaining careless driving ticket was dismissed as part of the plea.