Travis J. Tormey and Christopher Perry, two experienced attorneys with the Tormey Law Firm, recently defended a client who was charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in Bloomfield, NJ.
The client faced first offense DWI charges after Bloomfield police found him asleep behind the wheel of a parked car. Although this was just a first DWI offense, the consequences were severe: a conviction could have meant penalties that included driver’s license suspension for up to one year, a fine of $750, mandatory attendance at Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) alcohol education classes, and as many as 30 days in the local county jail.
The client was initially taken into custody after a Bloomfield NJ cop noticed him sleeping in car parked in a parking lot. The car engine was running and the client was inebriated, prompting the police officer to place him under arrest. The reason the car’s engine was turned on at the time was that it was cold outside and the client wanted to warm up the vehicle. This was an extremely important fact later on because it meant that the client never had any intent to actually operate the car or drive anywhere in it. One of the required elements that NJ prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt in a drunk driving case is intent to operate the car. Since the client in this case did not have the requisite intent to operate, Mr. Tormey and Mr. Perry filed a motion to dismiss all of the DWI charges.
The Tormey Law Firm lawyers called multiple witnesses and offered evidence that the client texted his girlfriend and requested that she come to the parking lot and pick him up. This evidence made it clear that the client did not intend to drive his car anywhere.
Mr. Tormey also pointed to a ruling in State v. Daly, an important New Jersey drunk driving case that involved a defendant found reclining in the driver’s seat of a running car. It was later shown that the vehicle’s engine was running because the defendant needed to power the car’s heater. In State v. Daly, the NJ Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the prosecution did not meet its burden of proving that the defendant operated the vehicle. This important case was particularly important in the recent Bloomfield drunk driving case.
The municipal prosecutor agreed with Mr. Tormey and Mr. Perry and dropped the DWI charges against the client. This was a very good outcome for the client and a big success for the Tormey Law Firm LLC.