On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Cape May County, Appeal Number 1-1-07.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Lisa and Simonelli.
After a trial de novo in the Law Division, defendant Charles Jugla appeals from his conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI), contrary to N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(a), and his accompanying sentence as a second-time offender pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(a)(2). On appeal, defendant presents the following contentions:
The Law Division Improperly Found The Defendant Guilty of DWI.
The Law Division Erred By Sua Sponte Imposing A Harsher Sentence Than Imposed In The Municipal Court.
Based upon our review of the record and applicable law, in light of defendant's contentions, we affirm.
On February 8, 2006, at approximately 7:57 p.m., police officer Thomas Toland of the Cape May Police Department observed approximately one-half of defendant's vehicle travel over a center double yellow line on two occasions. Toland stopped defendant, and noticed a strong odor of alcoholic beverage on defendant's breath. The officer also observed that defendant's face was flushed, his eyes were watery and bloodshot, his eyelids were droopy, and his speech was slow and slurred.
Defendant initially denied consuming any alcoholic beverage, but then admitted having one drink after the officer said he detected an odor of alcoholic beverage on defendant's breath. Defendant later admitted he drank three or four glasses of Absolut vodka and club soda twenty to thirty minutes apart from 5:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Defendant advised Toland he was able to perform field sobriety tests. However, he was unable to properly recite the alphabet from B to T and count backwards from 94 to 69. He also could not stand on one leg, walk and turn, or walk heel to toe.
Toland arrested defendant and transported him to the police station. Defendant admitted he was not sick, but was under a doctor's care and taking medication;*fn1 and he was not injured, although he had pain in his legs from cutting down trees, which he later claimed made his legs sore and hindered his performing the physical tests. Toland administered a breathalyzer test at ...