STATE V. F.S. (Resolution date 10/03/2017)
N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 (driving while impaired/intoxicated), N.J.S.A. 39:4-81 (failure to observe traffic control device), N.J.S.A. 39:3-66 (maintenance of lamps), N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1 (operation of motor vehicle while in possession of a controlled dangerous substance), N.J.S.A. 2C: 35-10A (Possession of a controlled dangerous substance)
On August 20, 2017 the defendant was stopped by roving patrol on a state DUI grant. The investigating officer, while conducting patrol, observed the defendant drive through a red light that controlled a major intersection within the township. The officer further observed the vehicle continued on its way with a malfunctioning break light. As a result, the officer immediately pulled behind the subject vehicle and activated his overhead lights and sirens to initiate a motor vehicle stop. The investigating officer approached the driver’s side of the subject vehicle, and immediately detected a strong odor of alcoholic beverage emanating from the driver’s person. The officer further observed the driver’s face was flushed, his eyes were glossy and bloodshot, and the driver was stuttering when responding to the responding officer’s questions. At that point the officer had asked if the driver consumed any alcoholic beverage, to which the driver responded “yes, two beers”. As a result of the investigating officer’s observations and the driver’s admission to consuming alcohol, the officer requested that the driver exit the vehicle to perform various field sobriety tests. According to the investigating officer, the driver failed both the one leg stand test and walk and turn test. The driver was arrested, brought to the station, and submitted to breath testing. Based on discrepancies on the 20 minute observation period, where the state had to establish by clear and convincing evidence that such deprivation period was undertaken, the BAC was inadmissible and the State’s field sobriety case fell for inadequate instructions given by the investigating officer. As a result, all the motor vehicle charges were dismissed and the defendant was admitted into the Conditional Discharge program, where he serves six (6) month of probation for the control dangerous substance charge where CDS was found by the investigating officer during the DUI arrest. At the end of the defendant’s six (6) month probationary period, the control dangerous substance charge will be dismissed in its entirety and the defendant will have no record of same.