All posts by Robert E. DePersia, II

Impact of A DWI on Your Employment

When you’ve been charged with a DUI or a DWI, there are likely a lot of issues on your mind, and it’s important that your employment is one of them. There are some serious DWI consequences you could face. Many individuals recently charged with a DUI can find an already difficult job market even more unmanageable once they have this record, which will come up if your employer decides to run a background check on you.

Even if it doesn’t immediately disqualify you from a position, employers who have many candidates to choose from may be hesitant to give a chance to someone who has had a DWI in the past. How can you avoid this from happening to you? Here are a few nuggets of our best insight.

Type of Employment: Some positions are inherently more likely to be affected by a DWI conviction and related DUI consequences, including those that require background checks, such as working for the government, a school, law enforcement, medical professions, or others that interact regularly with the elderly, disabled, or young people. It will be additionally negative for those who require a commercial driver’s license on the job, as having that smear on your driving record could bar you from having those positions altogether.

Post-Conviction Relief: This is a program, also known as PCR, which can be used to lessen your sentence against future charges and can be very helpful when applying for a new position. While your permanent record is indeed permanent and a DUI cannot normally be expunged from it, there are some criteria that if met can help you to qualify for PCR and a partial amnesty when sentencing or moving forward with your employment. This is a great way to lessen your DWI consequences.

Traffic Violations: In New Jersey, a DUI is a traffic violation and is not an indictable crime or disorderly person’s offense. While this doesn’t seem like much when you’re still faced with hefty fines and possible jail time, this can make a huge difference in your hiring prospects. Traffic offenses are made by most people at one point in their driving careers, and having this type of record can be treated somewhat more understandably by your current or future employers. It is important, however, to work with an experience attorney to make sure that your case can be presented in the best possible light.

Seek Legal Counsel: With a case as serious for your employment as a potential DUI conviction, whether it is your first offense or a subsequent one, it is vital to work with an experienced attorney to sort out the facts. For a free consultation about the services I offer here at the Law Office of Robert DePersia, call me today at 856-795-9866: you’ll be glad you did.

Breath Tests at School Events

It is no secret that many young people socially consume alcohol, and much speculation has been made in recent years about the binge drinking culture that exists on many college campuses. While perhaps widespread, the possession of alcohol by minors is a serious criminal issue that can result in significant sanctions. In addition, even noncriminal academic records that indicate that a student was under the influence of alcohol or had been drinking could have an impact on his or her future.

New Jersey School District Implementing Breath Tests

According to a report published by, The School District of the Chathams approved a new policy late last year authorizing school officials to test students for alcohol use at school events. While the district has had a policy in place since 2008 allowing officials to screen every student that attends an event, the new policy allows testing of students at random or through the use of a pre-selected system, such as every 4th student entering an event.

Underage Drinking is a Serious Issue

While New Jersey does not criminalize the underage “internal possession” of alcohol (underage drinking after the consumption has occurred), it is easy to see how this type of screening policy may result in criminal liability for possession, particularly if a student was attempting to conceal alcohol on his or her person or the fact that he or she had consumed alcohol led to a search of a locker or a vehicle. Even if it does not, violation of a school policy regarding alcohol will likely generate a record that may affect a student’s chances of college admission or professional opportunities.

Public School Officials are Subject to Constitutional Limitations

Importantly, public schools are subject to the same 4th Amendment limitations with respect to searches and seizures that apply to other state actors. This is likely the reason Chatham District has tailored its school breath testing program to resemble that of a DUI checkpoint that would pass constitutional scrutiny. Because of the constitutional limitations placed on these kinds of alcohol monitoring programs, there are often legal challenges that may be able to invalidate the results of any testing and any record that may exist as a result.

Contact a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer today to discuss your legal options

If you or your child has been accused of underage drinking at a school event or in any other situation, you should contact a qualified criminal defense lawyer immediately. A conviction could easily affect an individual’s eligibility for college admission or financial aid and may even follow someone into his or her professional life. To schedule a free consultation with the Law Office of Robert E. DePersia II, call our office today at (856) 795-9688 or send us an email through our online contact form.

DUI Defense: My Body Brews Alcohol

Imagine being pulled over, breathalyzed, and arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) without having touched a sip of alcohol. While this may seem farfetched, this is exactly what happened to an upstate New York woman in October of 2014, according to an article published by Earlier this month, the town judge with jurisdiction over her case accepted her version of events and dismissed the case against her.

According to medical records, the woman has a condition known as auto-brewery syndrome or gut fermentation syndrome, causing her body to ferment carbohydrates into alcohol. According to her attorney, the woman had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .36 without having consumed any alcohol. In addition, she purchased a breathalyzer machine and registered a BAC of around .20 every night for 18 days.

Other DUI defenses may be available

This relatively rare condition is just one of many potential defenses that could be raised in a DUI case. Some examples of other defenses that may result in the dismissal of a case against an allegedly drunk driver include the following:

  • Introducing evidence that any breathalyzer device that was used was not properly calibrated
  • Establishing that any signs of intoxication that were observed were actually the result of a medical condition
  • Impeaching the credibility of the law enforcement officer that performed the traffic stop
  • Arguing that there was not reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop in the first place
  • Establishing that any evidence that was gathered was the result of a search or seizure that violated the 4th Amendment

Whether any of these defenses apply in your case depends on a variety of factors, and an experienced lawyer will be able to fully review the facts of your case and determine how best to proceed.

Call our office today to schedule a free consultation with a New Jersey criminal defense attorney

If you have been accused of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you should contact an experienced lawyer immediately. An attorney can often raise legal defenses that may have the allegations against you dropped or dismissed ensuring that a DUI conviction will not affect your future. Even in cases where a defense is not available, an attorney can help negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecutor handling your case that does not result in the creation of a criminal record. To schedule a consultation with New Jersey criminal defense lawyer Robert E. DePersia II, call our office today at 856-795-9688 or send us an email through our online contact form.


Smartphone Breathalyzers: What’s the Difference, and Why Bother?

With the rise of using your smartphone for, well, everything, there have been a number of apps and devices that hope to help drivers make better choices while participating in social drinking. Products such as Alcohoot, Breathometer Breeze, and BACtrack Mobile and Vio work to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC) through plugging into your phone or Bluetooth, and then analyzing the results on your phone. They’re innovative, fun, and can be useful in promoting safer drinking habits…but do they work? Read on to learn more about your options in choosing a smart breathalyzer, and if doing so is even worth it.


Once dismissed as gimmicky, the rise of breathalyzers began with Alcohoot and has been continually improving over the past several years. This device plugs directly into your phone through the headphone jack, and is available in bright red, white, and black. It’s been around since 2013, and has a number of additional features including tracking your intake over time and across sessions, as well as the ability to suggest a cab service when you’re too intoxicated to operate a motor vehicle. It costs $99.99 and is available online.

Breathometer Breeze

Expanding on their original $49.99 plug in model, the Breathometer Breeze is one of the first Bluetooth connected devices and costs $79.99 on their website. It has many of the same features as Alcohoot, and the company is also expanding into other breath-reading ventures. Listed online is their upcoming ‘Mint’ version, which hopes to additionally measure non-drinking related breath quality and hydration levels.

BACtrack Mobile and BACtrack Vio

Both devices from the BACtrack parent company are compatible with all Apple products, including the new Apple watch. The keychain sized Vio retails for $49.99 and the Mobile Pro is available for $99.99. Both are Bluetooth capable, and their website claims that their products are more accurate than any other smart breathalyzers out there.

The Verdict

The breathalyzers have varying degrees of effectiveness, and none of them can convincingly measure up to police-level devices. They all warn not to trust their product when making driving decisions after drinking, and testing inaccuracies could dangerously give a person a pass on being ‘okay to drive’ when intoxicated. Still, the use of these breathalyzers will likely spur a conversation about the acceptability of driving after social drinking, and hopefully curb the number of drinkers who get behind the wheel after a night out.

All of the devices provide a dedicated function to calling a cab, a clock that lets you know when you’ll be safe to drive again (or at least, not legally drunk), and some even include features to look up finding a hotel in the area. With higher accuracies and more consistency, smartphone breathalyzers may soon be a common sight in bars across the country, but it’s still consumers’ responsibility to make the safe and responsible decision for everyone on the road, as well as for their own well being. But sometimes things happen and we find ourselves in a sticky situation. In the event that you’ve been charged with driving while intoxicated, be sure to seek out legal assistance as soon as possible. Call me, attorney Robert E DePersia II, at (856) 795-9688 for a free consultation.  Over the past 29 years, my expertise in this area has successfully helped thousands of clients and earned me recognition as one of the top DWI defense attorneys in the state of New Jersey.

Illegal Possession of CDS

NJ law breaks down the penalties, definitions and categories of CDS, or controlled dangerous substances in legal statutes for their manufacture, distribution, and possession. The following information deals with the possession of such CDCs, often known as drugs, and the consequences that can come from them. In New Jersey, it’s not only the drugs themselves that are classified, but also the materials that go into their manufacture.

Fines and Penalties for CDS Possession

There are a number of consequences for those who are charged and found guilty of the possession of CDS, many of which vary by the schedules of each drug, which will be explained later on. Here is a look at some of the penalties that can be applied per charge.

  • Schedules 1-4 of CDS are considered a drug charge in the third degree, which carries with it between three to five years in prison, and a fine of up to $35,000. This is for a first offense.
  • Schedule 5 CDS are less dangerous, and as such their possession only carry up to a $15,000 charge, and up to a year and a half in prison for a first offense.
  • Being under the influence of any CDS not prescribed will result in up to $500 in fines.
  • For second and subsequent convictions, fine and prison sentence penalty maximums are doubled what they would have been for a first offense.
  • When a possession is found within 1,000 feet of a school building or school bus, there are additionally harsh penalties. Schools are marked as a ‘drug free zone’, and will result in steep charges and jail times. Even if a defendant is not sentenced to time in prison, they will be faced with at least 100 hours of community service for possession near a school building or bus.

Schedule Breakdown

The classification of drug schedules goes from 1 to 5, with a decrease in penalties, levels of addiction and abuse as the schedules go on. The initial schedules have no officially sanctioned medical purposes and are more dangerous than the latter listings. Some medicinally prescribed drugs in the lower categories have the ability to appear in more than one category, as they can be both abused and beneficial when treated properly. Below is a list of some of the drugs which fall under each category.

  • Schedule 1 CDS: LSD, heroin, ecstasy, mushrooms, bath salts, and cannabis.
  • Schedule 2 CDS: Cocaine, methamphetamines, opium, PCP, and Vicodin.
  • Schedule 3 CDS: Morphine, Amphetamines, and Valium.
  • Schedule 4 CDS: Xanax, Ambien, and date rape drugs.
  • Schedule 5 CDS: These are drugs which can be used for acceptable medical treatment, in smaller doses. When abused or found in larger doses, they will be classified under higher levels.

Know Your Options

If you are being charged with a CDS offense, contact the office of Robert E. DePersia for professional and experienced help with your case. Call for your free consultation at (856) 795-9688 today to see your options are with a CDS possession charge.

New Jersey Medical Marijuana Policy

With states like Colorado allowing recreational use of marijuana, others restrict the use for medical use only; it’s no surprise that legal action has come down hard against recreational users in those states. In New Jersey, the use of marijuana for medical purposes is the only way a person can legally use and possess this drug.

The punishment for being caught in possession without a documented medical necessity depends on the amount found. For less than 50g of the drug, you are potentially looking at a six-month jail sentence and a $1,000 fine. If you’re found with more than 50g, you could potentially face eighteen months incarceration with a fine up to $25,000.

It is legal, however, to have marijuana in your possession if you qualify for its medical usage and are registered with proper documentation for such.

The qualifying medical conditions are listed as follows:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Cancer (includes chronic pain and any severe nausea associated)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • HIV/AIDS (includes associated chronic pain and severe nausea)
  • Seizure and spasticity disorders
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Other terminal illnesses in which the doctor has given the patient less than one year to live)

Those with one or more of the above conditions or diagnoses are eligible to obtain medical marijuana to help manage their chronic pain. All patients are limited to two ounces each month and are ineligible to request more if they use up their allotment before the month is over. For those with such a severe condition that it renders them incapable of administering the drug to themselves, a primary caregiver of eighteen years or older may help administer it. To be eligible as a primary caregiver, the person in question cannot have a felony drug offense and they must be a resident of New Jersey. He or she also is only allowed to be the caregiver of one patient receiving the medical marijuana at a time.

With other states slowly branching into more lenient marijuana possession laws, and four where recreational use is legalized, you may think that the seriousness of possessing it is no big deal. Remember that it’s still illegal in New Jersey and you can expect serious consequences if caught.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug possession offense, seek legal assistance. An experienced defense attorney can provide you with strategies that fit your particular situation. For an unparalleled defense, contact me, Robert E. DePersia II. I have the requisite knowledge to help you face your charge and obtain the best possible outcome for your personal situation. Give me a call and let me help you decide which course of action is right for your situation: (856) 795-9688.

Understanding Drug Recognition Experts

When an individual is pulled over on DUI suspicions, there will often be a drug recognition expert (DRE) present to perform a series of tests that will purportedly provide enough information to tell if the driving had been impaired by any illegal drug usage. DREs are individual police officers who are trained to recognize ways in which the human body reacts to drug usage.

Categories of drugs that DREs are trained to identify include those in each of these seven main categories: inhalants, dissociatives anesthetics, cannabis, nervous system depressants, central nervous system stimulants, narcotic analgesics, and hallucinogens.

Likelihood of a successful defense is high in cases of DRE DWIs, due to inconsistent and incomplete training of officers on staff who are deemed to be experts in drug recognition after only a nine-day training session. DRE inspections are not recognized as expert testimony in NJ courts and are not on the same level of consideration as that given by a medical doctor. There are a number of very strong defenses that can be used in cases of DRE-based assessment following an arrest.

There are many steps to a DRE examination of a suspected drug user, many of which can be analyzed for flaws during a successful defense proceeding. These tests are also administered with readings of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), the evaluator’s personal opinion, statements by the suspect, or any samples of bodily fluids that would then be taken to a laboratory for further testing.

  1. Coordination: A suspect will be asked to perform tests which measure their coordination levels, including balancing on one leg, walking along a straight line, and moving his or her finger back and forth from the nose. These are also known as ‘divided attention tests’.
  2. Vital Signs: The DRE on hand will measure the vital signs of the suspect, drawing measurements and readings from their blood pressure, temperature, and pulse.
  3. Visual Inspections: The officer will inspect the suspect’s mouth, nose and arms for any signs of intravenous, inhalant or orally administered drugs.
  4. Eye Tests: The DRE will have the suspect look in various directions including crossing his or her eyes in front of their nose, to record any abnormal twitching. This test is also done under various light conditions and the size of a suspect’s pupils will also be observed.
  5. Muscle Tone: As a final test, the DRE will inspect the suspect’s arms, touching them to gauge a level of muscle tone and note whether their muscles are abnormally tense or loose.

Symptom Double-Meanings are one way to build a strong defense surrounding a possibly wrongly administered DRE charge. In the DRE manual used for training officers, there is little attention paid to the symptoms above that could be indicative of a legitimate medical condition, including diabetes, a concussion, or hypertension. If you have a medical condition that could be confused with similar symptoms to side effects of drug usage, there is a strong case available for your defense.

When results matter, rest assured that I have the experience and the legal prowess needed to see your case through.  My excellent track record has earned me the recognition of being one of the top DWI defense attorneys in the state of New Jersey. So if you’ve been charged with driving while intoxicated or a drug-related offense, call me, Robert E. DePersia II, at (856) 795-9688.

How to Challenge A DWI

The market is awash in how-to and self-help information, but this list is one of the most useful out there if you’ve been arrested for a DWI in the state of New Jersey.  There are many things you can do to protect yourself and your rights following an arrest for a DWI, as well as to prevent conviction. This list gives some of my top ways to challenge a DWI in New Jersey, which are critical to know when preparing a proper defense for any DWI or DUI case.

  1. Was the stop legal? Unless the police officer who charged you with DWI has probable cause to believe you’ve been breaking the law, or your car is moving erratically, you are protected under NJ law. Looking into the reason you were stopped is critical in this defense.
  2. Issues with Breath Tests. One of the top ways prosecutors attempt to win a DWI case is with their breath test data, but there are several potential holes here in how the tests were administered. If the breath test operator wasn’t licensed to do so, or if his breath test operator license is expired, the data is not admissible into court. Additionally, the breath test machine might be inaccurate or set improperly. Unless the prosecution can prove that all steps were followed properly, your breath test results could also be thrown out.
  3. Witness Testimony. Look into the opportunity to provide additional independent witnesses to your case. If there was a bartender, bystander, or hospital employee who you believe can vouch for your sobriety during the incident, having them testify can be very helpful. Additionally, expert witnesses who can verify or counter the validity of your tests will provide ample support as well.
  4. Provisional Failures. There are a lot of steps an officer has to take while conducting the initial DWI investigation. If you haven’t been read the NJ Implied Consent Law before taking a breath test, or have been observed for at least 20 minutes before the breath test, either way the results could be thrown out of court or have the charges dismissed entirely.
  5. Personal Health Conditions. Back again to the many issues surrounding breath tests, there are a number of health conditions that can have adverse effects on multiple field sobriety tests. These include issues involving your back, eyes, legs, arms, and even a history of diabetes. Even asthma medication or mouthwash can falsely show up as alcohol on a breath test.
  6. DRE Unreliability. Drug Recognition Evaluation, which often includes taking the blood pressure and temperature of a defendant, has been proven unreliable in NJ court and can be thrown out of your case if properly proven.

While the above tips are a great way to protect yourself, arguing your own case in court can be a daunting task. Armed with the above information and years of defending clients such as yourself, I can provide you with the experience and skills you need to reach the best solution for your case. In addition to the above, there are many other ways that I can prove my clients not-guilty for a DWI case, including scrutinizing field sobriety tests and non-standard field tests, challenging misused blood samples, and examining the dispatch tapes taken during your arrest. Contact me, Robert E. DePersia II, at 856-795-9688 for a free phone consultation on how I can use all of these techniques to represent your case.

From Punishment to Treatment

New Jersey Changes its Heroin Policy

The heroin drug epidemic has reached staggering heights, especially within the state of New Jersey—especially since Camden is one of the locations where you can get it in its purest form. Last year, Camden police officers were equipped with Narcan, an antidote to reverse the effects of an overdose. Since this implementation, the city police have been able to save over 100 people’s lives by using the antidote. Deaths due to heroin overdoses have tripled over the past few years, along with the number of users—this rate is staggering.

The White House initiative regarding the new heroin policy not only provides law enforcement with more of the antidote Narcan, but also funds partnerships between police and public health agencies striving toward treatment for addictions instead of punishment. With previously harsh sentences for those found in possession, this initiative comes to the idea that most users are in desperate need of treatment, not punishment, to help them get their lives back. These public agencies will focus on rehabilitation and therapy to work through the person’s addiction and assist them in becoming free from using heroin.

This initiative focuses on those found by police, whether in response to an emergent situation or those discovered on the streets. The primary mission is to return those individuals to their family, and this means reviving them with the help of Narcan. Under this initiative, officers are to promote treatment and not resort to imprisoning those found within the depths of addiction. With such an increase in users and with that a traumatic rise in overdose-related deaths, it’s no surprise that the White House has initiated this plan in attempts to provide those with an opportunity to seek the help they need. With switch in policy from punishment to treatment, it’s hopeful that more people will reach out for assistance instead of avoiding it for the fear of prison for possession or using of heroin.

Suffering with a drug addiction is not easy. It can be debilitating and can leave a person desperate to find a fix in any way possible. With heightened usage, the person’s body requires more of the drug to feel the same effects, which increases the likelihood of an overdose. If you or a loved one is dealing with drug addiction and have been charged with a related offense, contact me, Robert E. DePersia II, defense attorney. Whether we strategize to plead for a lesser offense or ask for rehabilitation in lieu of jail time, we can explore many different options. Every situation is different, and I am here to assess your personal charge to help you determine what course of action will provide you with the best possible outcome. New Jersey Drug Court provides many offenders with programs to help monitor their addiction to assist them in maintaining their sobriety. Give me a call to talk about your options: (856) 795-9688.

Evesham Saving Lives

Following an earlier push this summer cracking down on drunk drivers, Evesham Township in South Jersey has just unveiled an innovative new plan to reduce the number of drunken driving fatalities in the township. ‘Evesham Saving Lives’, as the program is aptly named, proposes to offer free rides to all Evesham residents from local bars and restaurants back to their homes.

Catalyst: In 2009, an Evesham teenager named Shawn English was killed in a terrible accident after being struck by a drunk driver. It shook the township, and the police department, who have been working to combat the issue ever since. Particularly affected was Evesham Police Chief Christopher Chew, who was one of the first responders to reach the site of the crash. The driver convicted of killing 19-year-old English received an 8 year prison sentence and had driving privileges revoked for life.

Scope of the Problem: In numbers provided by Police Chief Chew, the department has arrested over 1,050 people for driving while intoxicated, an average of about 190 DUI arrests a year. They’re on pace to reach 220 DUI arrests this year, majorly because of the increased police presence in this area. While the mayor is happy to be getting those drivers off the roads, all members of the partnership hope that those numbers will one day be a distant memory. There hasn’t been a fatality tied to drunken driving since the death of English in 2009.

Program Partners: Along with the Evesham police department, the Evesham Saving Lives Program is starting as a pilot with the backing of several key township groups, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the Marlton Business Association, Sober Sam, and the Evesham Celebrations Foundation. Sober Sam will be operating a series of shuttles, as well as providing discounts to non-Evesham residents who would also like to avail of their services.

Their Goals: According to Evesham Mayor Randy Brown, the hope is to one day eliminate all Evesham residents driving while intoxicated. He calls their initiative ‘groundbreaking’, and has high expectations for its success. The township had earlier this summer been pushing to enforce DUIs more heavily, and the ride home program is a natural extension of those goals. As a side benefit, the program may also benefit local Evesham businesses, as it does not discourage residents from enjoying the bar and residents, rather provides a healthy and safe venue for them to do so.

Using the Program: Starting Labor Day weekend, the Evesham Saving Lives program was provided as a 30 day pilot, as of October 15th the trial will be extended through the beginning of the New Year. Residents can access information regarding pickup times and their locations via the Evesham Township Police Department app for both Apple and Android smartphones. The app also provides other valuable information regarding Evesham Saving Lives and other township police information for residents. The free shuttles will be available at nine local bars and restaurants, with the possibility of adding additional locations as the program grows.

The consequences of a DWI conviction are severe, as is the risk posed by driving drunk. If you need a lawyer to represent you for such a charge, call the office of Robert E. DePersia II at 856-795-9688 to learn more.