A 34-year-old Manalapan, New Jersey man has been charged in connection with an auto accident that critically injured two teenage girls. According to the Old Bridge Police Department, the car crash occurred in late December on Route 9 in Central New Jersey. The man was driving southbound when he allegedly rear-ended a vehicle driven by a 33-year-old woman from Lakewood. The two teenage girls in the back of the woman's vehicle. Police said the passengers and the driver in the second vehicle were injured in the crash. The two teenage passengers were in critical condition; details about the woman's injuries were unavailable at the time this post was prepared.
Police claim that the man was drunk at the time of the car accident. Authorities have since charged him with multiple crimes including assault by auto and driving while intoxicated. It has not been reported if this was the man's first offense for drinking and driving.
A person is guilty of drunk driving in the state of New Jersey if they have a blood alcohol level of .08 or more while driving a vehicle. If convicted, a first offender with a BAC level of .08 but less than .10 can face fines up to $400, a jail sentence of 30 days or less, and license suspension for three months. While all DUI charges should be taken seriously, if someone is injured in a DUI accident the defendant can be charged with felony assault by auto.
A motorist is guilty of assault by auto in New Jersey if they drive a vehicle in a reckless manner and cause bodily injury to another. While assault by auto is a fourth degree offense, if a serious bodily injury occurs and the motorist is intoxicated at the time of the offense the level of the offense can increases. For example, if someone violates the New Jersey state DUI statute and serious bodily injury occurs, the crime is immediately elevated to a third-degree offense. Other aggravating factors for DUI crimes exist as well.
Source: NJ.com, "Drunk driving charges filed in Old Bridge crash that injured 2 teens," December 29, 2013