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Allegedly drunk driver charged after falling asleep

According to authorities, an alleged drunk driver fell asleep while driving in Staten Island on the West Shore Expressway around 2:10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. The driver, a 39-year-old Allentown, Pennsylvania, man, was apparently in the New Jersey-bound lanes when he fell asleep while in backed-up traffic.

Law enforcement authorities reported that when traffic began moving, the man's van remained stationary, forcing other vehicles to navigate around him as they proceeded on. When police responded, they allegedly found the man sound asleep with an open beer can sitting in his cup holder.

Upon waking the man, law enforcement officials stated they could smell alcohol emanating from his breath and body. The man reportedly failed roadside sobriety tests and was arrested. Authorities indicated that records showed the man's driver's license has been previously suspended 27 times. They also reported he had an outstanding traffic warrant from New Jersey. Upon being taken to central booking, the man's blood alcohol concentration was reportedly measured at .14 percent. The man's prior arrest history reportedly includes a 2011 arrest in New Jersey for driving while intoxicated on Christmas Eve.

People who are accused of drunk driving have a right to assert a defense against the charges. Even in situations in which a breath or blood test is obtained, it is still possible to challenge the obtained results. If a breathalyzer machine was not calibrated correctly or if the control sample was expired at the time of the testing, the results may not be reliable. If blood samples were handled improperly, the results may also be suspect. If test results are found to be unreliable, they may be suppressed. Those who are charged may benefit by consulting with a criminal defense attorney. He or she may be able to file evidentiary motions and advocate for his or her clients in court.

Source: siilive.com, "Drunken driver found asleep at the wheel in Thanksgiving Day traffic on West Shore Expressway, police say", Vincent Barone, November 28, 2014

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