The recent story of a 32-year-old man who was arrested in Mount Olive Township in Morris County is raising some questions about just what is considered drunk driving in New Jersey. What is odd about the arrest is that the man was in a stopped car and it does not appear that he was driving when a police officer arrested him. He was eventually brought to the police station and was charged with drunk driving and breath test refusal, among other things.
It is clear that the man was not driving or in motion at the time the New Jersey police officer approached his vehicle, so it is not entirely clear why the officer chose to administer field sobriety tests. Generally, police officers are only able to request someone comply with field sobriety tests if there is some sort of evidence that the person had been drinking. Since the driver was not driving erratically or having trouble staying in a lane, there must have been some other evidence present for the officer to administer any tests.
The 32-year-old also chose not to take a breath test, and is now being charged with this as well. There is an implied consent to breath and blood tests by using the roads in New Jersey, which means that someone who refuses a breath test can be facing additional criminal charges. Granted, refusing a breath test may make it more difficult for the state to prove that a person was driving while intoxicated, which is why many drivers facing both charges turn to criminal defense lawyers for help.
It remains to be seen what evidence the state has that the driver was intoxicated at the time of his arrest.
Source: New Jersey Herald, “N.Y. man charged with drunken driving,” July 29, 2013