On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County, No. 05-119.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Wefing and Weissbard.
Defendant appeals from a judgment of guilty of driving while intoxicated, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50; refusing to take a breathalyzer test, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2; and leaving the scene of an accident, N.J.S.A. 39:4-129(b), entered following a trial de novo in the Law Division. After reviewing the record in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we affirm.
Defendant's convictions rest upon incidents that occurred in the early morning hours of August 8, 2004, in Midland Park. Patrolman Gibbons and Sergeant Veenstra of the Midland Park Police Department were having coffee at approximately 2:00 a.m. at a 7-Eleven convenience store when they saw defendant, driving a black Jeep Liberty, pull into the parking lot. Both officers recognized defendant. They saw her get out of her car and apparently start to walk toward a tavern next-door. After taking a few steps, she returned to her car and drove out of the parking lot. Neither officer observed anything particularly out of the ordinary about her behavior but did note that her car did not have its headlights on as she drove out of the lot and that she drove over a curb as she exited. The officers had finished their coffee and determined to make a motor vehicle stop. They were driving separate vehicles and drove in different directions. Sergeant Veenstra saw defendant's car parked at her residence and radioed Officer Gibbons. They took no further action at that time.
Shortly thereafter, however, they were dispatched to the scene of a possible hit-and-run accident. A resident awoke to the sound of a car crash, looked out the window and saw a damaged red Camaro and called the police. When the officers went to the scene, they saw debris which they recognized as coming from a Jeep Liberty. They decided to drive to defendant's home and inspect the car that Sergeant Veenstra had seen parked in the driveway. They saw that the car was missing a piece of trim, had damage to the front passenger side and also had red paint on it. They located defendant in the rear yard and based upon their observations, conducted field sobriety tests, which she failed. She was then taken into custody.
On appeal, defendant raises the following arguments for our consideration.
THE LAW DIVISION ERRED IN FINDING DEFENDANT GUILTY OF DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED BECAUSE THE STATE OFFERED NO EVIDENCE THAT SHE OPERATED A MOTOR VEHICLE WHILE INTOXICATED.
THE LAW DIVISION SHOULD NOT HAVE CONVICTED THE DEFENDANT OF REFUSAL TO SUBMIT TO A BREATHALYZER TEST WHERE THE ARRESTING OFFICER LACKED PROBABLE CAUSE TO CHARGE HER WITH DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED.
THE LAW DIVISION ERRED IN FINDING DEFENDANT GUILTY OF LEAVING THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT WHERE THE STATE OFFERED NO EVIDENCE THAT SHE HAD OPERATED THE ...