State v. S.C. resolution date 12/05/2016
On August 20, 2016 on routine patrol a police officer observed the defendant cross over a solid yellow line on at least two occasions. In addition, the officer observed the defendant speeding by traveling 59 m.p.h. in 50 m.p.h. zone. Based on the officer’s observations, the officer activated his overhead lights and proceeded to stop the defendant for the aforementioned motor vehicle violations. At the time the officer stopped the defendant, the police officer smelled the scent of alcohol emanating from the defendant’s vehicle. The officer began to inquire as to the defendant’s past consumption of alcohol where the defendant had indicated that she had a couple beers a few hours ago. The officer further noted the defendant was replying to his questions with a slurred speech and had blood shot eyes. The police officer then requested the aid of a backup officer and requested that the defendant step out of her vehicle. As per the officer’s instructions, the defendant stepped out of her vehicle and was requested to perform several field sobriety tests. The first test the officer requested was that the defendant perform a horizontal gaze nystagmus test. According to the officer, the defendant failed the test by moving her head and swaying while the instructions were explained to the defendant. The officer further noted that there was distinct and sustained nystagmus and maximum deviation in both of the defendant’s eyes. The second test the officer requested that the defendant perform was a walk and turn test, where the officer had opined that the defendant failed to carry out the test as per his instructions. The third test the officer requested that the defendant perform was the heel to toe test, which according to the officer, the defendant failed. The fourth test requested by the officer was a one leg stand test, where once again the officer had indicated that defendant failed the test. The officer made a fifth request of the defendant, which was to recite the alphabet starting with E and ending with S, which the defendant, according to the officer, properly carried out. Based on the foregoing, the officer placed the defendant under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol plus the additional citations set forth above. At the police precinct, defendant submitted to breath testing which was performed by a certified police test operator utilizing the Alcotest 7110 and resulted in a B.A.C level of .09%. On December 5, 2016 the State dismissed the DWI charge in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, including the remaining charges, except that the defendant did plead guilty to a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-96 (Reckless Driving). As a result of the plea to the Reckless Driving the defendant was sentenced to a 30 day license suspension.