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New Jersey man charged with DWI after single-car accident

Police in New Jersey took a man into custody after a Feb. 4 car accident that they believed resulted from drunk driving. After the man was treated at a hospital, officers charged him with DWI and several moving violations.

The accident occurred at 1:38 p.m. on Route 9 near the intersection of Somerstown Lane in Galloway Township. Police said that the man, a 32-year-old Egg Harbor Township resident, was driving a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt in the southbound lane of Route 9. The man allegedly crossed the center line of the roadway and entered oncoming traffic before running off the road, where police said he drove through some shrubbery and then struck a tree.

Officers who responded to the accident said that when they arrived, the man was sitting in the car and appeared to be disoriented. An ambulance team evaluated the man at the scene and transported him to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center for treatment. Reports did not disclose the nature of the injuries the man suffered in the accident.

In order to secure convictions, prosecutors must substantiate DWI charges with evidence such as the driver's blood alcohol content. A driver who is purportedly disoriented at the scene of an accident might not be intoxicated but suffering from head trauma. Police officers must obtain blood samples to confirm drivers' blood alcohol content within two hours, and samples taken after this window may be questionable. Although even first-offense DWI charges can result in severe penalties, it is often possible for defense attorneys to negotiate with prosecutors for lesser charges. Prosecutors may be willing to reduce DWI charges to reckless driving charges in exchange for guilty pleas, particularly in the absence of direct evidence of drunk driving.

Source: Galloway Patch, "Man charged with DWI after hitting a tree in Galloway," Anthony Bellano, Feb. 4, 2015

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