Mr. Wilson’s Wild Ride: Point Pleasant Drunk Driver Hits Drive-Thru, 2 Police Cars
Just after midnight on Tuesday, February 20th, police dispatch received a 911 call about an SUV driving over curbs in the parking lot of a McDonald’s restaurant on Route 35 in Point Pleasant Beach. Once Point Pleasant police officers found Wilson’s SUV, Wilson was driving out onto Route 35. He quickly swerved across the road and proceeded to hit more curbs.
The police tried to stop the vehicle, which prompted Wilson to make a U-turn on Route 35, ignore a stop sign, and then strike a telephone pole. Undeterred, Wilson then returned to the McDonald’s drive-thru area where he drove into one of the Point Pleasant Beach police officer’s cars – multiple times.
The wild ride did not end there, however. Wilson attempted to flee the parking lot but could not continue because he managed to run into the other Point Pleasant Beach police car head on.
In the aftermath, two Point Pleasant police officers were treated for minor injuries, and Wilson was taken into custody. Wilson entered custody for his crimes unhurt.
This incident presents a great opportunity to discuss some details about driving while intoxicated and aggravated assault.DWI and Aggravated Assault Offenses in New JerseyIt is helpful to discuss these two New Jersey offenses together, because there are more than a few cases where both crimes are present in the same incident, such as with “Mr. Wilson’s wild ride.”
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
Technically speaking, DWI is not a crime in New Jersey. Rather, it is traffic offense. That distinction has one important difference – traffic offenses do not provide for a trial by jury. Therefore, New Jersey does not allow for a jury trial in DWI cases.
What makes that worthy of note is the fact that the punishments for DWI offenses can be substantial when compared to other types of conduct that are considered criminal. Specifically,
Upon a first conviction for DWI, a defendant may likely receive a one-year suspension of his or her driver’s license.
Upon a second DWI conviction, the license suspension is for two years.
Upon a third DWI conviction, the license suspension is for 10 years.
Moreover, if a person is convicted a third time for DWI, the sentencing court has no choice but to sentence the defendant to jail.
Because DWI cases typically involve the science of breathalyzers and blood-alcohol content, you need an attorney who understands the various challenges that come with such evidence. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have an advantage on other attorneys in that area because Marshall Firm attorneys have specialized training in the sobriety tests that police administer in such cases. If you are involved in a DWI case, you may want to consult with a Marshall Firm attorney about police procedures involving sobriety tests.
Aggravated Assault is defined in the New Jersey law at statute N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b). In actuality, the statute does not really define the offense, but rather lists a long number of scenarios that constitute Aggravated Assault.
Among those enumerated scenarios, the ones most applicable to “Mr. Wilson’s wild ride” include:
Serious bodily injury - Attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury purposely or knowingly, or under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life recklessly causes such injury;
Bodily injury with a deadly weapon - Attempts to cause or purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or recklessly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon;
Simple assault on police or other state worker - Commits a simple assault on any law enforcement officer, fireman, emergency medical service provider, or most other state employees acting in the performance of their duties; or
Bodily injury while fleeing police - Causes bodily injury to another person while fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer or while operating a stolen motor vehicle.
In the Point Pleasant case, Mr. Wilson was driving recklessly because he was drunk. Thus, any injury he caused would be due to recklessness – i.e., getting into an SUV and driving while drunk is reckless in and of itself because there is a clear risk that someone can be hurt by such conduct. Further, Wilson rammed into two police vehicles with the officers in the car. That conduct covers numbers 2, 3, and 4 above for assaulting law enforcement officers, with a deadly weapon (the SUV), and fleeing the police. Accordingly, an Aggravated Assault charge appears to be applicable here.
It is unclear what the penalty could be for Wilson. In general, Aggravated Assault crimes range from second- to fourth-degree crimes. Here is a breakdown of the possible penalties.
Second-degree. The penalty could be 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.Ocean County Attorneys Can Help You With DWI and Aggravated Assault ChargesThe Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have, collectively, over 100 years of experience representing clients in DWI cases and Aggravated Assault matters. Our lawyers even have particular training with regard to sobriety tests used in DWI cases. Call us to learn more about how we can help you minimize your criminal exposure. Both DWI and Aggravated Assault charges can have deleterious effects on your job and your life. We can help. Call 732-286-6500 today for a free consultation.
Third-degree. The penalty could be 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
Fourth-degree. The penalty could be up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.