Drunk Driving – Operation of Motor Vehicle – State v. Ebert

This morning’s Appellate Division decision in State v. Ebert contains a discussion of several important legal issues. The facts involve a woman who called the police to the parking lot of a bar when she became convinced that her car had been stolen. Within a few minutes the police found her car parked in the bar’s lot. She was obviously intoxicated and after some questioning by the police, she admitted to driving to the bar.

Among the key issues are the proofs necessary to prove operation of a motor vehicle under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(a), Miranda issues related to her pre-arrest questioning and under what circumstances a court may draw an adverse inference against a defendant who does not produce evidence.

Perhaps most surprising part of this decision is the Court’s affirmance of the defendant’s municipal court conviction for reckless driving, not based upon any observed crazy operation of her motor vehicle, but rather upon circumstantial proof of operation of her motor vehicle on a busy roadway with a high blood alcohol concentration.

Download a copy of State v. Ebert

Category: Muni-Mail Archive