New Jersey Republican congressional candidate Ian Smith, who was sentenced to 5½ years in prison for vehicular homicide in the death of a 19-year-old drive, was arrested on Sunday on charges of driving under the influence.
“It’s something that I fully accept responsibility for, and for anybody out there who hates me, I think you are completely justified in doing so,” said Smith, about the crime for which he was convicted and imprisoned.
Smith, the gym owner who made headlines for defying Gov. Phil Murphy’s coronavirus lockdowns in 2020, was charged with drunken driving, reckless driving and related offenses in Cinnaminson.
Smith refused to take a legally-required breathalyzer test when he was stopped on a highway by Cinnaminson police officer Harry Cicale, who saw the candidate’s vehicle more erratically.
Smith committed vehicular homicide by killing 19-year-old Kevin Ade in 2007, when Smith —who was 20-years-old at the time—drove through a stop sign and crashed into the other man’s car.
Ade died at the scene and Smith pleaded guilty to second-degree vehicular homicide and other driving-related charges. In 2008, Smith was sentenced to 5½ years in prison.
Campaign spokesperson Steve Kush blamed the car’s narrative movements on “high winds,” and claimed that Smith passed a field sobriety test, but no motorist has a right to refuse to take a breathalyzer test when ordered to do so by law enforcement.
When you receive your driver’s license in New Jersey, you give your implied consent to submit to chemical tests.
“Implied consent” refers to an implicit agreement between New Jersey drivers and the state in which drivers agree to submit to chemical tests in exchange for the privilege of driving. Chemical tests can include providing blood, breath, or urine samples.
According to one of New Jersey’s top Republicans, there is no good excuse for Smith’s refusal to submit because any driver suspected of a DUI offense is required by law to submit to a breathalyzer test.
“Refusing to submit can include (giving) a response that is ambiguous or conditional; an explicit refusal; or silence. In other words, by not explicitly agreeing to a breathalyzer, a person is refusing,” said Senator Jon M. Bramnick. “In addition to being charged with refusing to submit, you may still be charged with driving under the influence. A breathalyzer test result is not required to convict you of driving under the influence.”
“There is no right to have an attorney present during the administration of a breathalyzer test in New Jersey,” said Bramnick, an attorney who was the Republican leader in the General Assembly before his election to the state Senate in November. “A charge for refusing to submit to a breathalyzer is serious. A conviction can carry the same penalties as a DUI conviction.”