As a New Jersey DWI attorney, I ask my clients to fully participate in their defense, to make sure that we maximize their chances for success.
Specifically, I ask the client to sit down as soon after the arrest as possible and write out a full narrative of the events surrounding the circumstances of the DWI arrest. Included in the narrative should be information regarding what happened in the several hours preceding the car stop.
Information such as what kind of sleep the individual had the night before, and the work history during the day, is important to determine whether fatigue or other items contributed to the situation that day. For instance, if the officer noticed that the individual had bloodshot or watery eyes, that may be explained by the fact that the person was up late the night before or early in the day working. If the individual was exposed to smoke or other irritants to the eyes, that may explain the bloodshot appearance of the eyes.
Fatigue can also be mistaken for slow behaviors that are ascribed as indicators of intoxication. Having worked a night shift or a long day would explain the slow or fumbling hand movement movement mentioned by the officer.
The client should list all medical conditions that would affect his or her ability to balance. All conditions should be noted, as well, that could mimic intoxication, such as hypoglycemia or a diabetic condition. These medical issues, as well as others, may result in a lack of balance. Physical issues such as podiatric problems, specifically flat-feet or issues with legs, knees, hips, back, or any other physical issue that would affect balance, must be made known to the lawyer so there can be an assessment whether any of these circumstances affected what the officer is claiming to be indicators of the DWI.
In addition to understanding what alcohol, if any, was imbibed, the lawyer should also be advised of hat type of food intake there was during the day or evening. The amount of food in the stomach at the time alcohol is imbibed affects how the alcohol is processed by the body. This is especially important where the individual may be hypoglycemic, as failure to eat can result in activity that may appear to be unbalanced or impaired.
As for the alcohol potentially consumed, it is important to be honest with the lawyer, so that an accurate assessment may be made regarding the allegations contained in the police report. The information that you share with your lawyer is confidential, and will not be disclosed to the prosecutor or the police officer during your defense, unless it is specifically discussed with you. Therefore, you can be completely honest with your lawyer regarding these issues, and not fear that the information will be used against you. On the contrary, it is used to properly evaluate your situation and whether you have good defenses to the charges against you.
I also always ask my clients to review the police reports after I received them, and comment on what is written in the report. This way we all have an understanding of what the officer is claiming to have happened, with regard to what you say occurred. If there are differences, it is important to assess those issues. It is not unusual to have a divergence of facts, but it is extremely important to be prepared to address those items.
It is particularly important for the client to detail what happened while in the police station. Because most police departments do not have in-station videotaping, the only information that can be learned as to what occurred once back at the police station comes from the police officer’s report. Therefore it is critical that the client detail what happened from his or her perspective while in station. Specifically, I want to know whether the officer observed the client for a particular period prior to submission to the breath testing. If we can establish that the officer did not maintain observation of client for the 20 minutes prior to the breath testing, the breath test results can be suppressed or excluded from evidence in your case.
Because of the recent ruling in State versus Carrero, in order to be able to view the breath testing room, we have to detail why we need to inspect the testing room. We would file a Motion based on your recollection of what occurred with the officer in the testing room on the night or day of the arrest. It would only be after a review of your narrative information that an assessment could be made whether to seek such a hearing.
To conduct a proper defense, your full participation is required. I also find that when the client is fully engaged in his or her case, the client understands better what is occurring regarding the defense. As a result, during the case, there is less anxiety, because you understand how the case and defense is proceeding.
At Levow & Associates, we work as a team with each other and with you to seek the best and most successful results. If you would like a free consultation, please call us. We are eager to help you.