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Truck on Fire Leads to DWI, Reckless Driving Charges

August 30, 2013 | Posted In Drunk Driving - DUI/DWI |

An Ocean County man is facing charges for driving while under the influence of alcohol and other dangerous driving-related offenses following his fifteen-mile ride down the highway while his vehicle was on fire earlier this month. DWI attorneys in New Jersey say that 36-year-old Michael Newmon was stopped around three in the morning on Saturday, August 3rd by Lakehurst police officers. According to the two arresting officers, Newmon had no idea that his truck was on fire.

After smashing into a tree, Newmon lost both his front tires, and continued driving fifteen miles down Routes 70 and 72 on just the car’s rims. The truck had flames shooting from underneath and smoke surrounding it. Police officers were able to follow the trail of tire marks and debris. When he was stopped, Newmon was hanging out of the driver’s side window of the cab, and the windshield was shattered, with several tree branches tangled in it.

Newmon was charged with reckless and careless driving, unsafe tires, driving while intoxicated, and failure to show his license and registration at the time of arrest. He has been released, pending a mandatory appearance in court. New Jersey DWI lawyers say that, if convicted, he faces heavy fines and a possible license suspension, along with newer penalties that keep drunk drivers from operating their cars altogether.

In New Jersey, drivers caught operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher can be immediately required to install an ignition interlock device (IID), even if they have no prior record of drunk driving. If the drunk driving offense is severe enough to warrant the installation of an IID, a convicted driver must have the device put into the primary vehicle registered in his or her name before being allowed back on the roads, and a judge can mandate that the device stays in the car for up to three years.

IIDs ensure that a driver must pass a self-administered breathalyzer before starting the car, by locking the ignition pending the breath test. If the device registers alcohol on the driver’s breath, the car will not start. If the drunk driver attempts to circumvent the interlock system by having a sober passenger or friend provide a breath sample to unlock the ignition, the sober party runs the risk of being charged with a disorderly person’s offense.  

Driving drunk can usually lead to reckless driving charges as well, because drivers often have impaired vision and decision-making skills as a result of their intoxication. In New Jersey, a driver convicted of driving in a manner that endangers persons and property receives five points on his or her license, according to 39:4-96. A reckless driver may also be ordered to spend up to 60 days in a County Jail, and pay a fine between $50 and $200. If the driver is considered a road hazard, a judge may also suspend his or her license for 90 days.

At New Jersey-based law firm Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, P.A., the DUI/DWI attorneys provide legal consultation and representation to anyone who has been charged with driving while intoxicated or reckless driving.  

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