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STATE v. HENDRICKS — NEW JERSEY MURDER TRIAL — "NOT GUILTY" VERDICT

Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found "not guilty" of all charges.

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New Jersey state policeman charged with DWI

It does not happen often, but sometimes even those in what would seem like the best position to know better fall victim to the temptation to drive while intoxicated. Cape May readers have probably taken note of the number of reports over the past few years involving police officers and even members of the State Police being arrested for drunk driving.

The most recent incident leading to the DWI arrest of a law enforcement officer took place on December 28 when an off duty State Police detective drove off the road and crashed in Chatham Borough. According to reports, the detective is a member of the Pipes and Drums of the Blue and Gold and had played bagpipes earlier that night at a party for Newark’s police director.

Borough police said that the detective’s speech was slurred and that he seemed confused when he was told that he had been in an accident. In addition to reckless driving and driving while intoxicated, the detective was charged with refusing to submit to a breath test after being transported to the local station.

New Jersey law imposes penalties on par with drunk driving penalties for refusing a breath test. New Jersey courts have interpreted the law to impose a broad mandate for compliance and set standards in such a way that it takes very little to constitute a refusal in the eyes of the law. Nonetheless, the courts have still left some room to recognize that person cannot be deemed to have refused a breath test under circumstances that frustrate the individual’s ability to understand the impact of a refusal upon constitutional rights.

In some cases, confusion about the consequences of a breath test refusal may justify dismissal of the charges. Likewise, extreme intoxication or other circumstances that make it impossible for a person to provide a voluntary breath sample may provide a defense to refusal charges. New Jersey drivers accused of drunk driving or breath test refusal should be aware that an experienced defense attorney may be able to identify unique facts that can support a vigorous defense.

Source: nj.com, “N.J. State Police detective charged with drunken driving after crash,” Christopher Baxter, Jan. 17, 2012

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