One size DUI/DWI Law does not fit all sign now

One size LAW does NOT fit ALL

I'm talking about the current DUI law in the state of NJ. Mandatory loss of license, fines, fees, surcharges, classes etc., not to mention loss of work, insurance rates, finding transportation, the struggle people do go through on a daily basis just knowing its STILL a system set up and designed to MAKE you fail! Society wants us to be productive citizens, to be good neighbors, to help those in need. This country founded by our forefathers, envisioned us having, lives that embrace freedom, with the ability to fulfill our dreams.
When it comes to someone being convicted of the current DUI laws set forth in the state of NJ people will argue the point that well you should have never gotten behind the wheel, you made a "conscience" decision to do what you done, there will be all kind of opinions, not to mention MADD mothers who ultimately got these laws in place telling you it wasn't a "mistake". Look up the word mistake. Hear the word for what it IS! Mis-take!
We have all made them and as human beings in this world we will all continue to make them, some worse than others, but bottom line plain and simple we will never be perfect nor will we ever live in a land of perfection. But it is time for CHANGE in this country, its the one we will live in its the one our children will live in. Lets help make it a better place.
What will become of the man or woman who is convicted of his or her first and only DUI/DWI?
Will they be struggling so much to try to pay their fines, fees, surcharges etc., that they can not pay their other bills, that they cannot properly care for their children. They become a burden on their friends their family and neighbors for rides? They lose their jobs their homes, friends and families because of the financial, and emotional strains and stresses? What happens when more fragile people just cant take the toll this all takes on their lives, that they TAKE their own life?
Yes. People will say well you should have never drank and drove. What about your Pit Bull mauling the neighbor child? Was it a mistake that you got that dog ... or was it a "conscience" decision? I guess you should have never gotten it, some will say. What about the red sweater you bought only later after taking it home you decide youre taking it back to get the blue one. You made a choice, you made a decision you changed your mind the red one was a "mistake". It wasn't what you thought you wanted. Yeah maybe someone was not in danger of being hurt by something as simple as choosing the wrong sweater. Some will think that way. But what happens when your just a little pressed for time and your rushing to take that sweater back? Ultimately if you had chose the proper color in the first place you would not have been in the accident you had! It was a mistake.
Yes those were mere hypothetical situations but had we not made the mis-take in the first place it would not have played out the way it did. People are not perfect why should society make you feel you should be.
The ultimate sin, the worst crime any person can make on his fellow man/woman is to take their life! How than can murder, manslaughter, homicide etc be a case where the accussed is allowed a plea bargain?!
Are the current DUI/DWI laws not mere hypocrisy? They say its to protect other drivers on the road as well as yourself because we care about your life and the lives of others. Well what about the man who is barreling down the road at 60 miles an hour and wipes out a family, so he wasnt drinking, but all because he took someones life he is allowed a plea bargain?! A LESSER CHARGE! Now wait .... what about the family who just lost their loved ones. The law is telling them your loved one does not matter, Mr Speed Demon is allowed to make a plea bargain. Oh and if he was drinking at the time, he is STILL allowed to!
So the current DUI/DWI laws in NJ are not designed to protect anyone except state and local government pockets! Just take an ordinary law abiding citizen who made this one mistake in their life and turn their life so upside down and inside out that where there once was no problem has now become a problem for the state and local tax payers, not to mention everyone around them, because now since they did not have a provisional license or their case was not reviewed on an individual basis could not get to work, could not get where they had to be based on what the courts ordered. Lets take this one person who used to be a product of society where by going to work paying their taxes, helping others in need has now become nothing more than a liability to everyone around him including himself.
It's time to re-think the current DUI/DWI laws in NJ. You want to help people, you say you care about the lives of innocent people. What about the guy who made just one wrong decision in his life, I'm not talking about habitual offenders, I'm talking about the guy who has done the same thing most everyone has done at ONE POINT or another in their lives. If we can plea bargain a murder case, why can't we plea bargain a case where NO ONE got hurt?

Take this case for example, the names are changed but its based on an actual case:

Vicky a woman in her mid 40's who works and has been working most of her life since she was 15/16 years old. Separated for the past several years. Has 2 children a son who is 20 working full time and owns his own car and lives with his girfriend a very well liked person, both of them. Another son who lives with his dad going to school and dreams of being an electrician.
Her DUI case went on for 5 months. It was her 1st offense, clean driving record. No accident, no one got hurt.

She went back to get her car after the 12 hour hold (Johns Law). She asked the officer for her BAC because she was never given one the night she was arrested. Officer McDonald replied "what time were you arrested" I believe Vicky said 1:30 .... in actuality it was 1:35. Officer McDonald replied "well that would make you a .14". He proceeded to do paper work and so forth and when Vicky asked again for her BAC paper Officer McDonald replied "you look like a .14". Vicky was never given her BAC paper to date. She paid 230 some dollars to get her car out of impound.
Well Vicky retained a local attorney and he reviewed the case. Vicky was never watched by the second officer who came in to do the Alcotest for the mandatory 20 minutes. It was only a mere 2 to 3 minutes and she was hooked up to the Drager Alcotest Machine.
There were never any Field Sobriety Tests on the cruisers camera. The officer asked her to step up over here (away from the camera view) because he said it was on flatter ground. It wasn't until later when she got to thinking she told me she watched it all unfold in her minds eye and realized he looked up and realized she would have been on camera the way the cruiser pulled in behind her had she done the FSTs right there. These tests were done in the dark in her bare feet. The officer made her do the heel to toe and faulted her for putting her foot down when she turned. The officer also made her stand on one foot which she did to a count of one thousand 16. Most people can't do this on any given day of the week! She has also been under a doctors care for inner ear problems for the past 3 years. It's documented! The officer also tested her with the Horizontal Gaze (Nystagmus) test. Which is not admissable in the state of NJ. Only trained medical personnel can tell what it is. Here is a quote from Dr. Dell'Osso on the horizontal gaze:

Using nystagmus as an indicator of alcohol intoxication is an unfortunate choice, since many normal individuals have physiologic end-point nystagmus; small doses of tranquilizers that would not interfere with driving can produce nystagmus; nystagmus may be congenital or consequent to neurologic disease; and without a neuro-opthalmologist or someone knowledgeable about sophisticated methods of eye movement recordings, it is difficult to determine whether the nystagmus is pathologic. It is unreasonable that such difficult judgments have been placed in the hands of minimally trained officers.

Cut to the court appearances:

The first appearance: 9/11
the officers never showed up because instead of being in the court room representing the state, they chose to be on the shooting range. They all started showing back up at the barracks after Vicky had left the court room. Other cases had still needed to be heard. Vicky and her lawyer asked that her accussers be present. They were not. Case was rescheduled a month later.

The second appearance: 10/16
the officers never showed up because one was in Aruba and the other one could not be contacted. Vicky's attorney had asked for a try or dismiss. The prosecutor said he did not want to dismiss the case that he was sure it would resolve itself. The judge said he did not want a try or dismiss because he had to many other things to worry about.

Mean while Vicky sat waiting for word on her next court appearance. Official Legal notice came and she was to appear on December 11. All set and ready to go on that date she got a call from her attorneys secretary on November 20 telling her she had to be in court the following morning. That she should have recieved a letter telling her that. She did not. Had her attorney's secretary failed to call her as she did once before Vicky would have had a warrant out for her arrest! Why because she was ONLY doing what the court told her to do. Be there on December 11th!
Apparently her attorney had met with the prosecutor the night before and they had her fate all planned out. Why because her attorney was leaving the country and he would not be there!

The third appearance: 11/20
Neither officer was in the court room, the prosecutor was not in the room. That day went on as scheduled because someone's life and their plans were more important than what was in front of them the whole time. The judge, based on the State vs Chun decision, about the Alcotest threw out the reading. The video was never reviewed except by Vicky's attorney nor was it ever brought up that she was not on the cruisers camera for the FST's! The word of the officer was the only thing taken in to consideration that day. The arresting officer was just a Ptl. Andrew Hall (patrolman). He is from the same barracks where recently their Sergeant has been in the news because he was suspended for lying under oath about a traffic stop. For falsifying or tampering with public records!

Vicky got 3 months suspended license (only due to State vs Chun) ...she was expected to pay the court before leaving $616.00
the state will also mail her a letter telling her that her license is suspended and bill her $150.00, she must also pay $1000.00 a year for the next 3 years to the state of NJ, she must also attend IDRC class for 12 hours at a rate of $150.00, not to mention all other fines, fees, surcharges and so forth that need to be paid.

All the while after the state says you can NOT even drive to work! The law designed because they feel you were not a responsible person does NOT WANT you to be responsible. If they did, it would allow for at least a license to work! Where now is the sense in that?

Whats going to happen to Vicky and her family? Will she have a job 3 months from now or will she end up being just another burden to the state and the tax payers where she used to be a productive citizen of society. It was her 1st offense ... no one was hurt including herself.
It all came down to an ordinary Ptl. officer Andrew Hall who was just running random plate checks that night and because he told her on the phone "he could not see the letters, they kept coming up as invalid", pulled her over. What about the danger this officer will potentially put people in when he is on the road because he stated he could not see!
He may very well take someones life and then step in front of the judge where HE is allowed to plea bargain for a lesser charge because HE took someones life!

The current DUI/DWI laws NEED to be changed. All circumstances are different. Some are habitual offenders and never care about anyone but themselves. Some just made a mistake.
Yes a DUI driver may be on the road one day and kill someone. Statisics show its the habitual offender.
But why should the DUI law be a virtual murder and yet you the convicted STILL have no room for a plea?!

One Size Law does NOT fit ALL!

Vicky plans to appeal her decision.

If you feel the current DUI/DWI laws need change NOT for people who habitually make the same mistake over and over again because they just havent learned, but for the 1st offenses, a no harm no foul type. Then please take the time to sign this petition. It wont do anything for Vicky in her current situation but it may help those that do make a mistake just once in their life! DUI/DWI laws are virtually killing people, lets not keep these laws the hypocritical ones they are. In all reality you may also save a real life by changing them. Suicide is for people who feel they have no other way out, its a toll these laws designed to protect people, do ultimately KILL people!
Flip the coin, there are always 2 sides.


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Carey McguireBy:
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State of NJ


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