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State v. Cirlin

October 1, 2009

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
DOUGLAS CIRLIN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Municipal Appeal No. 2007-068.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted: September 23, 2009

Before Judges Axelrad and Espinosa.

Defendant Douglas Cirlin appeals from his conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI), N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. Defendant was initially found guilty in the Verona Municipal Court. He was sentenced as a third-time DWI offender to a 180-day custodial sentence, a ten-year suspension of his driver's license, a one-year ignition interlock, and was ordered to pay a $1,006 fine, court costs, and other monetary penalties and surcharges. The custodial sentence was stayed pending appeal.

After a trial de novo in Superior Court, Rule 3:23-8(a), defendant was again convicted of the DWI offense. He was sentenced just as he was in the municipal court. The Law Division judge denied defendant's request for a stay of his custodial sentence, and by order of April 23, 2008, we denied defendant's emergent application for such stay.

On appeal, defendant presents the following arguments:

POINT I

The State Has Failed To Show That The Defendant Violated N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 By Failing To Introduce Evidence That Defendant Was Under The Influence Of Intoxicating Liquor, Narcotics, Hallucinogenic Or Habit-Producing Drugs.

POINT II

The Conviction Is Against The Weight Of The Evidence.

Based on our review of the record and applicable law, we are not persuaded by defendant's arguments and affirm.

The following testimony and evidence was presented at trial. Another driver testified he observed defendant driving in an unusual manner at about l0:45 p.m. through the Township of Verona. At the intersection of Bloomfield Avenue and Elm Street, the driver had pulled up alongside defendant's vehicle and noticed defendant was resting his head on the steering wheel. Defendant glanced over and waved at the driver, and then continued driving east on Bloomfield Avenue in an erratic manner, weaving from the eastbound lanes to the westbound lanes, crossing over double yellow lines, and driving on the opposite side of the road. The driver alerted the police.

Verona Police Officer David Wardrope stopped defendant's vehicle, informing him he had received a 9ll call regarding defendant's erratic driving behavior. The officer observed defendant's movements to be slow and a little disoriented as he handed over his credentials, and defendant's eyes were bloodshot and watery. The officer also detected the odor of alcohol emanating from inside defendant's car, to which defendant responded that he may have broken a bottle of wine in the rear of his car. Defendant denied he had consumed any alcohol but did ...


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