Tod A. Theise, a 55-year-old Hackettstown, NJ resident who once unsuccessfully ran for Congress, was charged with multiple traffic violations after crashing his pickup truck into a home in Newton on New Year’s Day. Officers who arrived at the scene of the crime determined that he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident and also said that he had an open container of alcohol in his vehicle. He was charged with driving while intoxicated, refusal to submit to a breath test, careless driving and possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle.
The incident occurred at 2:10 p.m. on January 1, when his pickup hit a home on High Street in Newton, NJ. The crash caused significant damage to the home and it has been deemed unsafe by public officials.
Navigating a Maze of Traffic Violations
If convicted of all charges, Theise is looking at heavy fines, a lengthy license revocation and some potential jail time. The most serious charge he is facing is the DWI. If this is his first offense, he could be sentenced to one or all of the following penalties:
- Three-month license suspension
- Up to 30 days in prison
- Mandatory alcohol classes
- Ignition interlock requirement for up to 12 months
- $250-$400 in fines
- Extra fees and surcharges
In addition to facing higher penalties for second and third DWI offenses in New Jersey, he may also face stiffer sentencing if the incident happened in a school zone or if his blood alcohol content was over .10. However, being that he refused to submit to a breathalyzer test, he will instead face an additional charge, which is subject to a seven-month license revocation and a $300-$500 fine for a first offense. Subsequent refusals may lead to a license suspension of up to 10 years!
The charges of driving with an open container and careless driving are much less serious than the others. A first-time offender convicted of driving with an open container is subject to a $200 fine in addition to court surcharges. A second offense triggers a $250 fine, court surcharges and/or community service. Careless driving in New Jersey leads to two points against your license and a fine of up to $200. However, in addition to any fines and surcharges, drivers convicted of any of these traffic violations will also have to deal with these convictions on their driving records, which may lead to higher car insurance premiums and difficulties in future encounters with law enforcement.
Minimize the Damage with a Qualified NJ Defense Lawyer
While Mr. Theise did not use his best judgment in getting behind the wheel on New Year’s Day, he hopefully is wise enough to protect himself with an experienced NJ criminal defense attorney like Frank T. Luciano. Mr. Luciano’s combination of courtroom experience and superior understanding of New Jersey’s laws puts his clients in an excellent position to minimize legal repercussions and earn a favorable outcome.
If you or someone you love has been charged with a DWI, careless driving or any other traffic violation or crime in New Jersey, Frank T. Luciano is ready to hear your case and craft a sound defense strategy. Begin the process by contacting him immediately at 973-471-0004.