The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office just announced its plan to conduct numerous DWI checkpoints throughout Ocean County, NJ over the Thanksgiving holiday. Law enforcement officials will be targeting drivers who are driving while intoxicated, as well as those driving under the influence of drugs.
This DWI/DUI enforcement initiative comes in direct response to last year’s Thanksgiving holiday. Specifically, there were six fatal accidents and seven deaths on New Jersey roadways last year during this time frame. Among these deadly crashes, two involved either alcohol or drugs. Notably, none of the fatal accidents occurred in Ocean County.
In an attempt to continue last year’s record of zero deadly accidents, Ocean County authorities will be conducting multiple DUI checkpoints and deploying roving patrols throughout the area. Not only will officers at the checkpoints be looking for drunk drivers, there will also be two Drug Recognition Experts (DRE’s) present at each checkpoint to identify people driving under the influence of drugs.
What is a Drug Recognition Expert?
In New Jersey, drug recognition experts (DRE’s) are specially trained police officers tasked with identifying signs and symptoms of people driving under the influence of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, prescription drugs, and other narcotics. When a person is suspected of driving drugged, a DRE is often called upon to run specialized tests to determine if the driver is under the influence. The drug recognition expert’s report will then be used as evidence to support a charge for Drug DUI in court. A DRE report often accompanies the results of a urine test.
At a typical DWI checkpoint, officers conduct field sobriety tests to detect impaired drivers. For instance, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN), the Walk and Turn Test, and the One-Leg Stand Test are common field sobriety tests used in suspected DWI cases. Now, Ocean County officials have increased their investigative techniques by having DRE experts at DUI checkpoints to find people driving under the influence of drugs.
Essentially, law enforcement officials in Ocean County are attempting to identify as many drivers as they can who are operating motor vehicles in violation of New Jersey’s DUI statute, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. The NJ DUI law encompasses both drugs and alcohol in its language, referring to any person who “operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug.”
Charged with DUI in Ocean County, New Jersey?
If you have been charged with DWI or DUI in Ocean County, New Jersey, you need an experienced attorney on your side. The specific evidentiary requirements and mandatory protocols associated with New Jersey DUI cases are extensive. However, they also provide a host of opportunities to successfully defend against DUI charges if you have learned and understand them. Our firm’s founder William Proetta is a trained and certified field sobriety test administrator and instructor. His depth of knowledge in the area of DUI defense has led to countless dismissals in courts across New Jersey. If you have questions about a DUI charge in Ocean County, contact our offices in Toms River for a free consultation. You can call (848) 238-2100 or contact us online 24/7.
For more information about this issue, access the following article: Expect Ramped Up DWI/Drug Enforcement Patrols On Thanksgiving