State v. M.G (Decided 09/12/2018) Summons Issued: N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 (G) (DWI in a school zone), N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 (DWI); N.J.S.A. 39:3-66 -(maintenance of lamps), N.J.S.A. 39:4-96 (reckless driving), N.J.S.A. 39:3-47 ( lamps required).
On May 24, 2018 the defendant/driver was operating his motor vehicle when a patrolman activated his overhead lights to effectuate a motor vehicle stop. The investigating officer then observed the defendant/driver enter a “do not enter” zone in an attempt to pull over. As the investigating officer approached the driver side window there was an odor of alcohol emanating from the vehicle. Because there was a passenger within the vehicle the investigating officer requested that the driver step out of the vehicle to independently determine if the odor of alcohol was emanating from the driver or the passenger. It should be noted that prior to the driver/defendant having to step out of the vehicle at the officer’s request, the officer’s initial determination that the defendant’s admission of consuming alcohol and bloodshot eyes prompted the officer to request the defendant/driver to exit the vehicle. During the officer’s roadside observation of the defendant, the officer noted the defendant maintained bloodshot/water eyes and slurred his speech with a odor of alcohol that emanated from his breath. At that point the officer conducted various field sobriety tests. Based on the field sobriety tests the officer arrested the defendant/driver. At the station the defendant/driver submitted to breath testing that resulted in a B.A.C. of .08. As a result thereof, the defendant was charged with violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 (G) – DWI in a school zone, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 – DWI; N.J.S.A. 39:3-66 – maintenance of lamps, N.J.S.A. 39:4-96 – reckless driving, N.J.S.A. 39:3-47 – lamps required. At the conclusion of nearly four months of litigation, the defendant’s DWI, DWI in a school zone, maintenance of lamps, and lamps required summonses were dismissed in their entirety. The defendant did plead guilty to reckless driving, which resulted in a three month suspension of his New Jersey driving privileges.