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Condition of alleged victim changes drunk driving charges

Law enforcement officials in New Jersey take drunk driving seriously and are always on the lookout for drivers they believe to be impaired. In some cases they look for signs of impairment through the way a driver conducts himself on the road, and in other cases they base their findings on various roadside and blood alcohol tests. Drivers who face drunk driving charges often have uphill battles to climb proving their innocence and preserving their rights.

While the penalties for all drunk driving charges can impose burdens on those accused, when the alleged victim of a drunk driving accident suffers the penalties tend to go up significantly. A recent accident in Bergen County shows how both the charges brought against a person and the penalties she could face increase when the condition of an alleged victim deteriorates.

A 40-year-old North Bergen woman was allegedly driving down River Road at approximately 11 p.m. when she supposedly hit a bicyclist. She was charged with assault for allegedly causing the accident and law enforcement believed that she was intoxicated at the time of the crash. She covered her $15,000 bond and was released from jail.

However, shortly thereafter the alleged victim died from the injuries he sustained in the collision. Prosecutors have modified the charges against the woman to vehicular homicide and have increased her bond by $110,000. She also has to return to court to confront the new charge.

While no alcohol-related charge is easy to defend, those involving death can be particularly trying. While it is unknown if this woman has an attorney she will need to employ a different trial strategy for the homicide charge than she would have for an assault charge. For either of the charges a criminal defense attorney with experience practicing DUI law could provide her with assistance for tackling her legal woes.

Source: CBS New York, "Charges Upgraded Against Alleged Drunk Driver After NJ Victim Dies," May 12, 2014

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