On April 1, a 24-year-old New Jersey man was sentenced to six years in prison in connection to a deadly drunk driving crash in Woodbridge in October 2014. He will not be eligible for parole for more than five years.

The defendant, from North Plainfield, admitted he was drunk on Oct. 19, 2014, when he drove his Volkswagen Passat onto the New Jersey Turnpike. Shortly after 4:00 a.m., he smashed into the back of a truck on the exit to the Thomas A. Edison Service Area. His front seat passenger, a 25-year-old man also from North Plainfield, was pronounced dead at the crash scene.

As part of an arrangement with the Middlesex County assistant prosecutor, the defendant pleaded guilty on Jan. 12 to driving under the influence and vehicular homicide. A superior court judge ruled that he must serve 85 percent of his six-year sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

As this case demonstrates, those convicted of drunk driving charges in New Jersey can face severe consequences, including lengthy prison terms, steep fines and driver’s license suspensions. However, those who are so charged have the right to retain a criminal defense attorney to represent their interests in court. The attorney may choose to base the defense strategy on a close examination of the evidence for inaccuracies or weaknesses. For example, field sobriety tests and blood alcohol content level tests are not always accurate and could be questioned in court. In addition, if police violated a defendant’s rights during the arrest, it could lead to a dismissal of charges.

Source: NJ.com, “Man must serve 6 years in state prison for causing fatal DUI accident on N.J. Turnpike in Woodbridge,” Sue Epstein, April 2, 2015