The State has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant was driving while intoxicated. State v. Grant, 196 N.J. Super. 470, 477 (App. Div. 1984). N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 specifically applies to “a person who operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor . . . . “ (Emphasis added). The term “operate” must be given broad construction. State v. Morris, 262 N.J. Super. 413, 417 (App. Div. 1993). Actual operation is not required to satisfy the element. Ibid.; State v. Sweeney, 40 N.J. 359, 360-61 (1963). “Operation may be proved by any direct or circumstantial evidence – as long as it is competent and meets the requisite standards of proof.” State v. George, 257 N.J. Super. 493, 497 (App. Div. 1992).
“Operation” may be proved by actual observation of the defendant driving while intoxicated, State v. Prociuk, 145 N.J. Super. 570, 573 (Law Div. 1976); by observation of the defendant in or out of the vehicle under circumstances indicating that the defendant had been driving while intoxicated, State v. Mulcahy, 107 N.J. 467, 476 (1987); Morris, supra, 262 N.J. Super. at 419-20; Sweeney, supra, 77 N.J. Super. 512, 521 (App. Div. 1962); State v. Witter, 33 N.J. Super. 1, 5-7 (App. Div. 1954); or by defendant’s admission, State v. Hanemann, 180 N.J. Super. 544, 547 (App. Div.) (affirming defendant’s conviction based upon his admission that he had been driving earlier that night after the police found his empty overturned vehicle on the highway), certif. denied, 88 N.J. 506 (1981); State v. Dickens, 130 N.J. Super. 73, 78 (App. Div. 1974) (affirming defendant’s conviction based on his admission to drinking and driving when the police woke him up in his parked car on Interstate 287); State v. Guerrido, 60 N.J. Super. 505, 509 (App. Div. 1960) (affirming defendant’s conviction based on the testimony of two witnesses that he was intoxicated and his admission to police that he had been driving after his car was found “buried full length in some shrubbery and lilac bushes.”)
n DWI, state must prove operation beyond a reasonable doubt. State v Ebert ___ NJ Super. ___ (App. Div., A-4059-03T2 decided March 14, 2005).
1. The state has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant was operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. "Operation" may be proved by actual observation of the defendant driving while intoxicated, by observation of the defendant in or out of the vehicle under circumstances indicating that the defendant had been driving while intoxicated, or by the defendant's admission. 2. Defendant's .27 percent BAC, along with the fact that she had driven to the parking lot of a restaurant on a major state highway, Route 46 in Denville, was sufficient to sustain her conviction for reckless driving.
If charged with Driving While Intoxicated, immediately schedule an in-office appointment with a trial attorney. Don't rely on a real estate attorney, public defender or a family member who simply attended law school. When your driving privileges and ability to drive to work is on the line, hire an experienced attorney.
KENNETH VERCAMMEN & ASSOCIATES, PC
ATTORNEY AT LAW
2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817
TRIAL AND LITIGATION EXPERIENCE
In his private practice, he has devoted a substantial portion of his professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters. He appears in Courts throughout New Jersey several times each week on many personal injury matters, Criminal and Municipal/ traffic Court trials, Probate hearings, and contested administrative law hearings.
Mr. Vercammen served as the Prosecutor for the Township of Cranbury, Middlesex County and was involved in trials on a weekly basis. He also argued all pre-trial motions and post-trial applications on behalf of the State of New Jersey.
He has also served as a Special Acting Prosecutor in Woodbridge, Perth Amboy, Berkeley Heights, Carteret, East Brunswick, Jamesburg, South Brunswick, South River and South Plainfield for conflict cases. Since 1989, he has personally handled hundreds of criminal and motor vehicle matters as a Prosecutor and now as defense counsel and has had substantial success.
Previously, Mr. Vercammen was Public Defender for the Township of Edison and Borough of Metuchen and a Designated Counsel for the Middlesex County Public Defender's Office. He represented indigent individuals facing consequences of magnitude. He was in Court trying cases and making motions in difficult criminal and DWI matters. Every case he personally handled and prepared.
His resume sets forth the numerous bar associations and activities which demonstrate his commitment to the legal profession and providing quality representation to clients.
Since 1985, his primary concentration has been on litigation matters. Mr. Vercammen gained other legal experiences as the Confidential Law Clerk to the Court of Appeals of Maryland (Supreme Court) with the Delaware County, PA District Attorney Office handling Probable Cause Hearings, Middlesex County Probation Department as a Probation Officer, and an Executive Assistant to Scranton District Magistrate, Thomas Hart, in Scranton, PA.