Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is an incredibly reckless and dangerous decision. Every year, drunk and drugged drivers cause immeasurable pain and suffering, serious property damage, and impose huge financial burdens on innocent families. Driving after the consumption of alcohol or drugs puts countless drivers at risk for serious injuries and even death, and these careless drivers should be held accountable for the harm caused.

The consumption of alcohol and drugs has major negative effects on a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle. Drivers under the influence often experience:

  • Loss of judgment
  • Altered mood
  • Distorted visual perception
  • Decreased reaction time
  • Decreased ability to process information
  • Difficulty steering
  • Poor muscle coordination
  • Diminished self-control
  • Decreased memory and reasoning abilities
  • Difficulty staying in one lane
  • Difficulty keeping distance from other vehicles

More than 10,300 people died in drunk driving crashes and another 290,000 were injured in 2012. The number of drunk driving deaths has been reduced by almost 50 percent since 1980, but there is much more work to be done. Driving under the influence is a serious problem nationwide, and lives are lost every single day because of the reckless actions of drunk and drugged drivers. Increased fines and penalties have helped to reduce the number of drunk driving convictions around the country, but a troubling number of people still choose to get behind the wheel while under the influence.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident involving an intoxicated driver, contact an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney today. Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have achieved a number of multi-million dollar victories both in and out of court, and they are prepared to aggressively pursue your claim. Call (201) 585-9111 or fill out an online inquiry to schedule your free and confidential consultation today.

New Jersey DUI Laws

A person is guilty of drunk driving under New Jersey law if he or she operates a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater. However, a driver can be found guilty of driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor even if his or her BAC is under 0.08 percent; if the driver has consumed any amount of alcohol and his or her driving is negatively impacted, they could be convicted of driving under the influence. Drivers under 21 are subject to New Jersey’s zero tolerance law, which states that minors with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system can be convicted of drunk driving.

A person is guilty of driving under the influence if he or she operates a vehicle while under teh influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic, or habit-producing drug.

It is important to note that DUI laws are not limited to the physical driver of the vehicle. A person can be convicted for allowing someone to drive his or her vehicle who is under the influence.

Drunk Driving

Drunk driving accounted for 31 percent of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. in 2012, adding up to more than 10,000 deaths. Almost 30 people die every day from alcohol-related car accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adding up to one death every 48 minutes. In 2012, 164 people lost their lives in alcohol-related car accidents in New Jersey alone. More than 25,000 people were arrested for driving under the influence of Alcohol in New Jersey in 2012, including 229 drivers under the age of 18.

First-time DUI offenders can face fines of over $1,000, in addition to license suspension, community service, and possible jail time. Repeated convictions can result in license suspension for up to 10 years, 180 days in jail, installation of an ignition interlock device, and thousands of dollars in fines.

Despite these harsh penalties for repeat offenders, about one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of driving under the influence every year are repeat offenders. Drivers with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher who are involved in a fatal accident are four times more likely to have a prior DWI conviction than drivers with no alcohol in their system, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And further, prior DUI offenders are likely to consume more alcohol before getting behind the wheel than other drivers; 40 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes with a prior DUI also had a high BAC level (BAC = 0.15 percent or greater) at the time of the crash.

Clearly there is more work to be done to prevent driving under the influence. Despite stiff penalties and increased enforcement, U.S. drivers continue to get behind the wheel after drinking, and many drivers with prior DWI convictions continue to drunk drive. The best way to prevent alcohol-related accidents and fatalities is to hold the guilty parties accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

No family should suffer because of the harm caused by a drunk driver. Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi are fully prepared to investigate your case and fight for compensation for you and your family. Contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi today to start on the road to recovering your losses.

Drugged Driving

Approximately 18 percent of weekend, nighttime drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter drugs in 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Drugs other than alcohol are involved in about 18 percent of vehicle driver deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drugs like marijuana and cocaine, which are often used in combination with alcohol, have serious negative effects on a driver’s ability to make decisions and react in a timely manner, posing a major threat to themselves and all other drivers on the road.

More than 10 million people reported driving under the influence of drugs in the past year, representing 3.9 percent of adults and adolescents. A number of drugs can seriously impair a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle, including:

  • Heroin
  • Methadone
  • Oxycodone
  • Amphetamines
  • Cocaine
  • Barbiturates
  • Ecstasy/MDMA
  • Ketamine
  • LSD
  • Psilocybin (mushrooms)
  • Marijuana
  • Steroids
  • Inhalants
  • Bath salts

Legal drugs like prescription medication and over-the-counter drugs can be just as dangerous as illicit drugs when consumed before driving. Painkillers and other mind-altering drugs can have serious effects on visual perception, reaction time, and attention span.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

The best way to combat driving under the influence is to hold the guilty parties fully accountable, and Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi can help.

Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have a proven track record of success that spans more than 80 cumulative years. They have won numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements, including a $3.5 million settlement for a two burn victims in a drunk-driving case and $2.5 million for a 23-year-old woman in the back seat with a drunk driver.

Contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi at (201) 585-9111 or fill out an online inquiry to start recovering your losses today. The initial consultation is always free and confidential, and there are no fees due until they win your case.