Home Food + DrinkBars DWIs in Hoboken: A Chat With the Local Police Department

DWIs in Hoboken: A Chat With the Local Police Department

by Stephanie Spear
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There’s nothing quite like fall in Hoboken. Between the crisp fall leaves, pumpkin spice everything, and Sunday Funday at a favorite bar, there is plenty to enjoy. The cooling temperatures that signal the disappearance of summer also signal something else: an increase in DWI incidents in Hoboken. The Hoboken Girl has received queries from readers observing an increase in DWI enforcement in Hoboken. We spoke with Detective Lieutenant Jonathan Mecka of the Hoboken Police Department to learn more. Read on for more information on DWIs in Hoboken.

dwis hoboken

Driving While Intoxicated

Some people call it a DWI, driving while intoxicated, while others call it a DUI, driving under the influence. According to Hoboken Detective Lieutenant Jonathan Mecka, the two terms are interchangeable. Per New Jersey law, the chargeable offense is Driving While Intoxicated, which defines intoxication as having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% for an adult over the age of 21.

DLT Mecka said that nearly all of the officers of the Hoboken Police Department have been trained in administering a field sobriety test. “Everyone is trained on it at the Academy,” he said. “For most officers, it depends on what department you’re with and how often you would have to administer a field sobriety test. Since we have so many bars and restaurants in Hoboken, nearly all of the officers are prepared to administer it.”

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Sometimes, the state of New Jersey will provide additional funding for municipalities to pay for extra shifts for law enforcement to combat DWI. “Sometimes these funds are for specific events or holidays,” DLT Mecka said. “The funds are specifically for DWI enforcement.”

DLT Mecka said that a DWI arrest frequently results from a minor interaction. “It’s up to the officer to use their judgment to administer the field sobriety test,” he said. This is why DWI arrests come out of situations that seem unlikely, such as when a driver is asleep in their car. So far this year there have been a few arrests of this type in Hoboken, including one where the car was on the sidewalk with the driver asleep behind the wheel.

A Mile Square

One of the main draws in Hoboken is another reason for DWI enforcement. There are over 100 bars and restaurants packed into the Mile Square, and the start of football season usually signals an uptick in DWI, according to DLT Mecka . “Everyone comes back from down the shore and they go right to Hoboken to the bars and restaurants,” he said.

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Some of the trends that DLT Mecka observed include that the arrests occur on Sunday and Monday nights during the fall season, and that these incidents are frequently tied to football games. “People will start drinking midday for an afternoon football game and end up spending several hours at the bar.” he said. “Saturdays have the college football crowd, then Sundays the NFL games can make for a long day. People get pulled over on the way home.”

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According to statistics provided by DLT Mecka, In 2020, out of 58 total DWI arrests, 20 took place between September and December. In 2021, there were 52 DWI arrests, 13 of which took place between September and December. There have been 41 DWI arrests so far in 2022, only one of which took place in September. “With the fall events and everyone being back in town, it generally leads to more people being in Hoboken at earlier times,” DLT Mecka said.

“Hudson County has a ton of great bars and restaurants, which generate a lot of outside interest,” he said. “If a person doesn’t drink responsibly and chooses to drive, it’s a recipe for a DWI.” At the same time that Hudson County is densely populated with bars and restaurants, it’s also densely populated with other ways to get home safely at the end of the night. “There are tons of options to get home at the end of the night without driving,” DLT Mecka said. “Between rideshare apps and public transit, there are many other choices available to people.”

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