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Newark Legal Issues Blog

Newark, New Jersey Criminal Defense Legal Blog

Cars that are most likely to cause accidents

In 2017, 37,133 people died in automobile accidents on roads in New Jersey and throughout the United States. This is according to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Generally speaking, smaller cars are more likely to be involved in an accident that results in injury or death. The higher fatality rates among smaller vehicles is a result of basic physics. In most cases, larger cars can withstand an impact better than smaller ones can.

Sports cars may also be more likely to be involved in an accident because people tend to drive them in a more aggressive manner. Vehicles that had higher accident rates were also the ones that had few safety features or otherwise scored poorly on crash tests. Among vehicles that had the highest accident rate were the Mitsubishi Mirage, Chevrolet Corvette and the Honda Fit. Data was taken from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and was used only to analyze vehicles from model years 2013 through 2017.

The right DUI defense strategy can help you avoid trouble

If you're charged with driving under the influence of alcohol in New Jersey, it won't be long before your day in court arrives. As nervous as you may be, it's important to keep one thing in mind: a DUI charge doesn't always result in a conviction.

The best way to avoid a conviction is to implement the right DUI defense strategy. Fortunately, there are several of these to consider:

  • Improper stop: Police must have probable cause for stopping your vehicle. If you can prove that the officer didn't have cause, you're in better position to win your case.
  • Inaccurate field sobriety test: Just because an officer administers a field sobriety test doesn't mean they'll do so in an accurate manner. For example, the officer may neglect to explain the test, which results in your failure.
  • Inaccurate Breathalyzer test: Often used by police to determine your blood alcohol level, a Breathalyzer test is not always 100 percent accurate. If the officer doesn't know how to use the equipment, it could result in a false reading. The same holds true if the equipment hasn't been properly maintained.
  • Rising blood alcohol level: A good portion of time may elapse before being pulled over and the administration of a breath test. During this time, your blood alcohol level can rise. This may allow you to argue that your blood alcohol level was under the legal limit at the time you were driving.
  • Evidence tampering: This is typically associated with questions about the handling of blood or urine testing. Any type of mishandling can result in an inaccurate reading.

Alcohol breath test false positives possible on ketogenic diet

Police officers in New Jersey often rely on the results of breath tests to determine the intoxication of drivers during traffic stops. Results that show a high blood alcohol concentration typically provide grounds for a DUI arrest on top of observations made by a police officer. Evidence has emerged, however, that breath test equipment could be prone to producing a false positive for people following a ketogenic diet.

This diet promotes ketosis within the body, which involves the liver processing fat into fuel. Acetone results from this process, and the substance can appear in exhalations as isopropyl alcohol. Police equipment is made to measure ethanol alcohol to detect drinking, but the breath analyzer might measure isopropyl alcohol by mistake.

Study: Distracted drivers are a threat to first responders

Another distracted driving study, this time conducted by the National Safety Council in association with the Emergency Responder Safety Institute, has revealed that drivers in New Jersey and around the country are quick to criticize others for behavior they regularly engage in themselves. While 89 percent of the motorists surveyed said distracted drivers pose a major threat to the safety of first responders, a worrying 71 percent of them admitted to researchers that they slow down to take photographs or shoot videos of traffic stops and accident scenes.

When asked what they did with the images or videos, 60 percent of the respondents said that they post them on social media and 66 percent told researchers that they attach them to emails. Most worrying of all, the drivers surveyed admitted that they do not even pull over to the side of the road before to doing this. It may not be surprising, then, that 16 percent of the respondents admitted that they had struck or come close to striking a paramedic, firefighter, or police officer.

More facial recognition software leads to more privacy concerns

New Jersey residents who have privacy concerns in this heavily digital world may have another reason to worry as facial recognition software is being used more often. Stores can use the technology to capture the faces of patrons without their knowledge or consent. Once identified by recognition software as a threat, it could be hard to clear one's name.

The privacy concerns associated with recording faces and keeping data from these recordings is particularly troubling because there are currently no regulations to govern the use of facial recognition technology. There is no guarantee store employees know how to properly use the data generated, and there is no standard for how accurate the technology needs to be.

New bill may allow police to use controversial "textalyzer"

New Jersey residents may remember that in 2017, the New York legislature proposed a bill that would have allowed the use of "textalyzers," devices that scan a person's phone to check for activity. That bill was dropped, but the Nevada legislature has proposed a similar measure for its police.

Advocates say the textalyzer can help curb distracted driving, which is a widespread phenomenon. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,450 people died in distraction-related car crashes in 2016, and 14 percent of these crashes involved cellphones. Distracted driving is underreported since drivers may choose not to admit to it. In addition, the lack of a social stigma does not help deter drivers from it.

Was that DUI stop legal?

The police pull you over one rainy night in New Jersey. You can tell that the officer is on edge as soon as they get to the window. They quickly ask you to step out of the car and do some field sobriety tests because they think that you are intoxicated.

You get out and fail the tests. You claim it's because of the rain, the mud, the slick ground on the side of the road. It's hard to walk in a straight line in those conditions. The police say you are intoxicated and they arrest you.

RAND study highlights rising arrest rates

Young people in New Jersey and around the country are now being arrested far more often than they were in previous decades according to a study from the RAND Corporation. After scrutinizing data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics gathered over several decades, RAND researchers discovered that adults currently between 26 and 35 years of age were 3.6 times more likely to have an arrest on their records than Americans older than 66.

Rising arrest rates were especially pronounced among women and white men. The rate at which white men are arrested almost tripled during the period studied. Age also emerged as a major factor. While only one in 100 women over the age of 66 were arrested before their 26th birthday, a sobering one in seven of the women who were between the ages of 26 and 35 when the study ended had been taken into custody by police at least once. The study's authors say that more rigorous law enforcement was largely responsible for the increased arrests.

Former WWE wrestler Tamara Sytch arrested for 6th DUI

World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame wrestler Tamara "Sunny" Sytch was arrested and charged with drunk driving in New Jersey on Feb. 23. It is the sixth time she has been accused of DUI or DWI in four years.

According the Seaside Heights Police Department, officers observed Sytch, age 46, run a stop sign and attempt to drive down a one-way street in Seaside Heights around 6:30 p.m. When the officers executed a traffic stop, they allegedly saw an open container of alcohol in her vehicle and noticed that she was acting intoxicated. They also discovered that she was driving on a suspended license and had outstanding traffic warrants from Holmdel and Knowlton.

The many potential causes of car accidents

Car accidents can happen on busy highways as well as rural roads in New Jersey. These collisions may involve many factors and causes, ranging from road conditions to human error. Determining the cause of a crash is important for the police and insurance companies.

Human error can mean making bad decisions, like driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or texting while driving. Distracted driving, another common form of negligence, has been on the rise across the country since cell phones and built-in entertainment systems have given drivers more temptations to take their eyes off the road.

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