New Jersey Assemblyman Paul Moriarty claims he was wrongly pulled over this past summer, according to the San Francisco Chronicle (http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/NJ-lawmaker-accused-of-DWI-wants-officer-charged-3959883.php). He has recently filed a 27-count criminal complaint against the policeman who charged him with driving while intoxicated.
Moriarty accused the officer of falsifying police reports. A municipal judge will now have to evaluate the complaint and decide whether to issue charges or not.
Moriarty has stated that he was not drinking when he was pulled over. He took a field sobriety test but refused a Breathalyzer test.
The assemblyman’s lawyer said he did not take the Breathalyzer test because he was suspicious of how the stop was being conducted. Moriarty said that he requested to talk to his lawyer before taking the Breathalyzer test but was denied that request. In some states, including California, refusing to submit to the test can result in a one-year suspension of your license.
Up until this point, Mr. Moriarty’s DUI case seems typical. Then, however, the Chronicle reports that as a lawmaker, Moriarty has advocated for several bills that focus on DWI laws, one in particular about the illegality of refusing a Breathalyzer test.
It has not been determined if the officer knew Moriarty and his position on current DWI law before the stop, but his license plate identified him as a legislator. The case has not been scheduled for a hearing.
We will have to wait to see if any charges are issued against the police officer in the coming months. If the officer is found to have acted wrongly, the case could cast doubt on the actions of police officers conducting DUI stops and could lead to DUI reform in New Jersey and elsewhere.
If you have been pulled over on suspicion of a DUI and refuse the Breathalyzer test, it is important to get in contact with a DUI lawyer as soon as possible.