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Man caught sleeping in his car faces DWI, drug charges

One New Jersey man is facing DWI charges after police found him stopped in the middle of the road in what appeared to be an intoxicated state. Along with a DWI charge, he has also been charged with possession of drugs, reckless driving and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was released to a relative and now awaits a court appearance.

On a recent night, police officers reportedly found the 21-year-old man asleep and slumped over his steering wheel. At the time, police claim that he was stopped at an intersection, but had his foot on the brake despite being asleep.

At this point, the police roused the man and administered a field sobriety test. Authorities indicate he failed the test, though they acknowledge he was not intoxicated by alcohol. As such, authorities charged him under DWI statutes, which include driving under the influence of illegal drugs.

Upon searching the man's car, police found morphine sulfate and hydrocodone, which are prescription drugs. They also found a straw that allegedly had an unspecified white powder on it.

As the man prepares for court, he should remember that depending on how the police conducted their search and seizure, the evidence they found may not be admissible during trial if the police collected it in the wrong way. For example, if officers did not properly document chain of custody when they seized the drugs, the validity of some evidence can be called into question. This documentation provides some element of proof that the evidence was actually in the man's possession.

Furthermore, investigators did not indicate whether any toxicology reports were pending. Without that documentation, there may not be enough evidence to prove the man was intoxicated while he was driving beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the standard in criminal trials.

Understanding the penalties associated with the criminal charges in this case, it will be important for the young man's attorney to carefully review all the evidence offered by the prosecution. In this way, he may be able to reduce or eliminate some of the charges leveled against him.

Source: New Jersey Herald, "Police find intoxicated man passed out in car," April 29, 2012

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