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Gerald J. Monahan, Esq.

Attorney at Law
Association of Professional Mediators


"The law will never make men free, it is men that have to make the law free."

-Henry David Thoreau

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Driving While Intoxicated

                         By Gerald J. Monahan, Esq. 


        New Jersey's drunk driving law has just gotten tougher. An Appeals Court has ruled in the case of State vs. Federico that DWI defendant's involuntarily inhalation of a chemical while at work is not defense to a DWI charge at the time of his DWI arrest. The defendant worked as an engineer for a Clifton company. Defendant's work exposed him to a chemical compound called limonene which is common enough to be found in Pledge furniture polish. At trial defendant argued that even though his driving was impaired, the impairment was involuntarily caused by the limonene inhaled at work and for this reason, should be found not guilty of DWI. 

The Court flatly rejected defendant's argument and found him guilty of DWI thereby significantly broadening the ways in which a driver can be considered impaired.

         Here is the take away: Exposure to chemicals, even if involuntary, that impair one's driving ability, subject the impaired operator of a motor vehicle to the same penalties as a driver impaired by alcohol. A word to the wise: "Do not inhale and drive." 

1:35 pm edt 

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