DWI Related Fatalities & Injuries Reported over the Holiday

The 2008 Christmas holiday resulted in drunk driving fatalities and serious injuries.  Early Sunday morning, a Glassboro man slammed his vehicle into the back of a dumb truck resulting in the death of his passenger.  Chemical tests allegedly revealed a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit, resulting in vehicular homicide charges being filed filed.

On Tuesday, another alcohol related accident occurred in Kearny.  The collision resulted in serious injuries and involved a motorist with a BAC of .19, over twice the legal limit.  Assault by Auto charges have been filed.

The holiday season is always a festive time involving alcohol. Unfortunately, this seems to result in DWI related fatalities every year.  If the toxicology stands up in cases like these, the defendants have serious jail exposure.


Additional Penalties Proposed for NJ DWI Convictions

The New Jersey Assembly is considering an amendment to the penalties for DWI related vehicular homicide.  The bill is referred to as "Josh's Law" and proposes to increase the mandatory jail sentence to 10-20 years from 5-10 for those found guilty of vehicular homicide.  The bill was sponsored in response to the death of Josh Moren, a young man who was killed by a drunk driver possessing a blood alcohol content in excess of four times the legal limit.  

It is always sad to learn of another DWI related death.  While a life was lost, the question of incarceration is always something that needs to be fact sensitive in my judgment.  There is no question that a stiff jail sentence would be warranted when an accused is driving with a blood alcohol content of .35 but how about the high school senior with a .08% blood alcohol content and no prior history of any kind?  Do we destroy two lives to equal the score?  This is a very difficult question and I believe that the enactment of a mandatory jail term of 10-20 years will be too inflexible.