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Plainfield, NJ Councilman Facing DWI and Careless Driving Charges

The evening of December 9 was an eventful one for Plainfield Councilman Barry Goode. The 54-year-old was arrested for driving while intoxicated, refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test and for careless driving.

At around 11:55 PM that evening, Plainfield police responded to a report of a car accident on the 900 block of Melrose Place potentially involving an intoxicated driver. When police arrived, they found a black Hyundai Elantra with its front bumper ripped off and laying on the street. According to the police report, it appeared as though the front bumper had been dragged while driving, and the rear bumper was sticking out over the sidewalk.

According to a witness report, the vehicle was approached by a concerned resident in the area in an effort to offer assistance, but the resident was pushed away by the vehicle’s then unidentified operator. The witness said that he observed Mr. Goode attempting to park his car on his front lawn. He also said that he witnessed Mr. Goode get out of the car, fall on the ground and then get up and walk into his home.

Police officers found the Melrose Place home with the door open and the keys still in the lock. After announcing their presence, they entered Mr. Goode’s home and found him sitting on the edge of his bed struggling to remove his dress shirt. Goode eventually went outside without a shirt on to take a look at the vehicle, went back inside and struggled to put on a jacket before going back outside to stare at his car again. Goode failed to respond to multiple questions about whether he owned the car or not and refused medical assistance before being placed under arrest and charged with three motor vehicle summons.

What Kind of Legal Trouble is Goode In?

While he almost certainly will face political ramifications as a result of this incident, Goode will first have to contend with a host of legal difficulties. The first is with his DWI charge. Assuming this is his first offense, Goode will be subject to up to 30 days in jail, a fine of up to $500 and a license suspension of up to a year. In addition, he may be forced to install an ignition interlock device at his own expense and pay an extra $500 in fees and surcharges. All of these penalties will be harsher if he has multiple previous DWI convictions on his record.

Then there’s the issue of his refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test. Contrary to popular belief, this does not preclude you from being charged with a DWI. Because of New Jersey’s implied consent law that all state residents agree to in exchange for the privilege of driving, refusing a breathalyzer test is subject to a 7-month license revocation and a maximum $500 fine for a first-time offender. A second offense will trigger a two-year license suspension, and a third offense could lead to a 10-year license suspension. This is in addition to the penalties he receives for the DWI charge.

Careless driving in New Jersey is not as serious as a reckless driving offense, but still carries points and fines. According to N.J.S.A. 39:4-97, people convicted of careless driving are subject to a maximum $200 fine and will get two points added to their driver’s license. It could also lead to a 15-day jail sentence. It’s important to note that NJ careless driving is a very broad law that is intended to include any driving activity that is not specifically covered by another law.

Hackensack, NJ Traffic Law Violation Defense

If you’ve been charged with a DWI or any other related driving offense in New Jersey, criminal defense attorney Frank T. Luciano is here to help you minimize the damage and move on with your life. We all make mistakes, don’t compound yours by trying to represent yourself or choosing an inexperienced criminal defense lawyer.

Frank T. Luciano has been defending clients in DWI and refusal cases for nearly 40 years. If you or someone you love has been recently charged with drunk driving or a related violation, we advise you to contact Mr. Luciano’s law firm immediately at 973-471-0004 to discuss the details of your case.

 

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