Unfortunately, it’s settled New Jersey law that arrestees don’t have the right to talk to an attorney prior to being processed for an alleged DWI.
(PRWEB) December 18, 2012
Assemblyman Paul Moriarty was stopped by an officer and accused of DUI in Washington Township, where he had once been mayor. The New Jersey lawmaker believed he was unfairly targeted and was pulled over for “suspicious” reasons. To make sure his rights were protected, he asked to speak to his lawyer before deciding whether to take the breath test, but the officer did not permit him to do so, reported NJ.com.
“Unfortunately, it’s settled New Jersey law that arrestees don’t have the right to talk to an attorney prior to being processed for an alleged DWI, “said New Jersey DWI Lawyer Evan Levow of Levow & Associates, P.A.
“While I am not in favor of drunk driving, I am in favor of protecting the rights of accused drivers and, in this instance, there are factors present that demonstrate why it is important to protect these fundamental rights,” said Levow.
Concerned about the way the stop was being conducted, Moriarty refused to take the breath test, reported NJ.com. In New Jersey, refusing the breath test can result in the same loss of license as a DWI conviction.
"Not being allowed to consult with an attorney prior to taking a breath test runs counter intuitive to what we learned watching TV as kids - that we have basic constitutional rights, such as the right to a lawyer. It is precisely this type of case that demonstrates why it’s important to have access to council,” said Levow.
Moriarty filed a 27-count criminal complaint against the officer who charged him with DUI, said NJ.com. He claimed the officer lied and falsified a police report, and luckily for the lawmaker, there was a police dashboard camera video of the stop that led to his drunken driving arrest. The video showed Moriarty appearing to pass each DUI field sobriety test. The video also contradicted the arresting officer’s report, showing Moriarty did not cut off the arresting officer, but was instead followed by the policeman, as NJ.com reported in another article. Without the video, it would have been the assemblyman’s word against the officer’s word.
For the alleged misconduct, the police officer who arrested Moriarty was suspended without pay. Officer Joseph DiBuonaventura faces charges of committing official misconduct, submitting a false report to law enforcement, harassment, and more, according to NJ.com.
Bolstering Moriarty’s claim of innocence is a blood test he took. Moriarty had gone to a local hospital to have blood drawn after his arrest and the results showed no alcohol in his blood, reported NJ.com.
Many DUI cases can be entirely based upon an arresting officer’s word. So, if an officer claims that he or she believed that the defendant was driving while under the influence, that is enough for a DUI arrest, explained Levow.
"There should be a mechanism to protect the rights of the accused, especially in a situation like this, where there may be other motivations at play," said Levow, senior and managing partner of Levow & Associates, P.A.
About Evan Levow and Levow & Associates, P.A.
New Jersey DWI Lawyer Evan Levow is the senior and managing partner of Levow & Associates and a nationally recognized DWI attorney. Levow’s legal practice is 100% devoted to DWI defense. He has been referred to as the ‘DWI Attorney’s Attorney’, as he is frequently sought out by other attorneys for DWI defense strategies.
NJ DWI attorney Levow was selected as: Best Lawyers in America, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013; Super Lawyers, 2010, 2011, 2102; New Jersey Magazine Top Attorneys, April 2010; and New York Area’s Top Lawyers, 2008, 2009, 2011 as seen in New York Magazine. He also received Martindale Hubbell's® highest rating for legal ability and ethics: AV® Preeminent™.
Levow uses his unique knowledge of field sobriety testing and breath-testing machines to help defend his clients. He is qualified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as an instructor in standardized field sobriety testing. His law firm is the only one in NJ to own both breath-testing machines that have been used by the state.
Levow practices DWI defense throughout the entire state of New Jersey.
Levow & Associates, P.A. is located at Cherry Hill Plaza, Suite 200, 1415 Route 70, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034.