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People who are charged with third-offense DWI crimes are often rightfully concerned that they may face significant penalties, including jail time if they are convicted. As such, in some cases, people charged with third-offense DWIs may attempt to have earlier DWI convictions vacated on the grounds that they were not advised of the penalties for subsequent convictions. In a recent ruling, a New Jersey court discussed what a defendant must prove in order for a court to vacate a prior DWI conviction for lack of appropriate notice. If you are charged with a third offense DWI, it is smart to meet with a trusted New Jersey DWI defense lawyer to assess your possible defenses.

The Defendant’s Arguments

Reportedly, the defendant was charged with a third offense DWI in 2018, which carried a penalty of a mandatory six-month jail sentence. In an effort to avoid imprisonment, the defendant sought to have his guilty plea for his second DWI, which occurred in 2012, vacated on the grounds that he was not properly advised of the penalties he would face for a subsequent conviction. The municipal court denied his motion to vacate his 2012 plea, and he appealed. The first Law Division judge that heard the matter affirmed the trial court ruling, but the second Law Division judge vacated the defendant’s plea. The State then appealed.

Consequences of the Failure to Provide a DWI Defendant with Notice

Under New Jersey law, a motion to withdraw a guilty plea must be made before sentencing, but a court may permit such a motion at a later date if it is necessary to prevent manifest injustice. In the subject case, the court ultimately found that no injustice occurred and reversed the second Law Division judge’s ruling. Continue reading

Generally, the police need a warrant to search a person, and searches conducted without a warrant are often unconstitutional. The courts have determined that blood draws in DWI cases constitute searches, and absent exigent circumstances, compulsory blood tests without warrants are impermissible. If the police take a blood sample from a person without a warrant or permission, it could result in a reversal of a DWI conviction based on the blood test, as demonstrated in a recent New Jersey ruling. If you are accused of a DWI crime, it is prudent to speak to an assertive New Jersey DWI defense lawyer to gauge your options.

The Defendant’s Charges

It is reported that the defendant struck a pedestrian after he was drinking at a bar. He immediately stopped, but the victim ultimately died due to the injuries sustained in the accident. When the police arrived at the scene, they described it as chaotic and found the defendant to be agitated and argumentative. He was taken to the police station, where he refused to submit to a field sobriety test. The police did not attempt to obtain a breath sample but placed the defendant under arrest and transported him to the hospital for a blood draw.

Allegedly, the defendant originally was uncooperative and asked to make a phone call, but his request was denied. He ultimately signed a consent form and gave a blood sample. He was charged with multiple offenses, including DWI and vehicular homicide. He moved to have the results of his blood draw suppressed, but his motion was denied. He pleaded guilty, and after his sentencing, he appealed. Continue reading

Typically, the police must harbor a reasonable suspicion that a person is engaging in unlawful activity to effectuate a traffic stop. As such, if they stop a person without just cause, any evidence obtained during the stop may ultimately be deemed inadmissible, making it very difficult for the prosecution to prove the defendant committed any crime. As discussed in a recent opinion issued by a New Jersey Court in a DWI case, there is, thought, an exception for instances in which officers are acting in their community care taking role. If you are charged with a DWI offense, you should consult a skilled New Jersey DWI defense lawyer to assess your potential defenses.

The Defendant’s Arrest

It is reported that the police were dispatched following a 911 call that reported an SUV was stopped in a road near an intersection. The caller advised that she observed the vehicle for three minutes and noticed that the driver’s head was hanging down and he was not moving. She reported she called 911 because she was concerned that he might need medical attention. When officers arrived at the scene, they found the defendant in an SUV, sitting as described by the 911 caller.

Allegedly, when they spoke with the defendant, they noticed he was lethargic, had difficulty completing sentences, and was rambling. Additionally, his eyes were bloodshot and watery. They administered field sobriety tests, which the defendant failed. He was arrested and charged with DWI. He was convicted as charged. He then appealed, arguing in part that his arrest constituted an unlawful violation of his fourth amendment rights because the investigating officers did not have probable cause to arrest him for DWI. Continue reading

While many DWI charges rely on the defendant’s blood-alcohol level to prove guilt, not all do. In fact, a defendant can be found guilty of DWI despite the lack of chemical testing. The evidence presented must nonetheless be sufficient to demonstrate that the defendant operated a vehicle while impaired. Recently, a New Jersey court issued an opinion discussing what constitutes competent evidence of intoxication in a case in which the defendant challenged his DWI conviction. If you are accused of a  DWI offense, it is smart to confer with a New Jersey DWI defense lawyer to evaluate what evidence the State may attempt to use against you.

The Defendant’s Arrest and Trial

It is reported that police officers were dispatched to investigate reports of a vehicle hitting a parked car numerous times. They were provided a description of the vehicle that matched an SUV they had observed earlier in a parking lot. They returned to the lot and saw the defendant standing outside of the SUV. When the officers spoke with the defendant, he appeared highly intoxicated and admitted to drinking four or five beers.

Allegedly, the officers determined that it was not safe to perform field sobriety testing but arrested the defendant and transported him to the police station, where he underwent a breath test. The defendant was charged with multiple crimes, including DWI. At the trial, evidence regarding his breath test was deemed inadmissible. He was convicted based on the arresting officers’ testimony, after which he appealed. Continue reading

Under New Jersey law, all criminal defendants, even those charged with DWI, are innocent until proven guilty and have numerous rights from the time the matter is under investigation through the resolution of their case. For example, a DWI defendant has the right to a speedy trial, and if the right is violated, the charges against the person may be dismissed. Recently, a New Jersey court issued an opinion discussing the right to a speedy trial in a matter in which the defendant’s trial was delayed for almost two years after her arrest.  If you are charged with a DWI offense, it is in your best interest to speak to a New Jersey DWI defense lawyer to determine your rights.

The Defendant’s Arrest and Trial

It is reported that the defendant was arrested for DWI in July 2016. She waived her right to an arraignment hearing and her first appearance approximately a month after her arrest was adjourned at her attorney’s request. It was rescheduled for September 2016 but was continued by the court. The matter was ultimately scheduled for trial in February 2017 but was relisted to July 2017, which was the next available date, per the request of the defendant’s attorney.

Allegedly, the defendant then filed a motion to dismiss for lack of prosecution, which was denied. She appealed, and her appeal was denied as well. Thus, she entered a conditional plea in April 2018, over 630 days after her arrest. She then appealed the denial of her motion to dismiss, arguing that her right to a speedy trial had been violated. Continue reading

Not all DWI charges are based on a driver’s blood alcohol level at the time of the arrest. Instead, many DWI charges and convictions arise out of the fact that the arresting officer observed the defendant operating a vehicle while in an impaired state. Regardless of the nature of the evidence presented at trial, the prosecution must prove a defendant committed a DWI offense beyond a reasonable doubt, and if it cannot, the defendant should be found not guilty. In a recent opinion, a New Jersey court discussed the sufficiency of observational evidence in a matter in which it ultimately upheld the defendant’s conviction for a third offense DWI. If you are accused of a third or subsequent DWI crime, it is smart to speak to a New Jersey DWI defense lawyer to assess your options.

The Defendant’s Arrest

It is reported that the arresting officer received a call regarding a car that was parked in the middle of an intersection. When he arrived at the scene, he observed the defendant sitting in the driver’s seat of a parked car. The defendant was playing very loud music, was slumped over, and had a small child in the back of the car. When the officer spoke with the defendant, he noticed his speech was slurred, and he had a half-empty bottle of liquor in the counsel.

Allegedly, the defendant agreed to submit to field sobriety testing. The officer noted that the defendant had an odor of alcohol on his breath. The defendant was unable to perform the testing and was subsequently arrested and charged with multiple crimes, including third offense DWI. He was convicted, after which he appealed, arguing in part that the State failed to produce sufficient evidence to sustain a DWI conviction based on the observational prong of the statute. Upon review, the appellate court affirmed the defendant’s conviction. Continue reading

Under New Jersey law, people can be charged with DWI offenses, even if they were not actually driving at the time of their arrest. Rather, under the DWI law, a person merely has to “operate” a vehicle while intoxicated to be found guilty of DWI. What constitutes operation is a question frequently brought before the New Jersey courts. In a recent ruling in which a DWI conviction was confirmed, a New Jersey court explained what is considered sufficient evidence of operation for purposes of DWI. If you are accused of a DWI crime, it is in your best interest to meet with a New Jersey DWI defense lawyer to evaluate what defenses you may be able to assert.

The Defendant’s Arrest

It is reported that police officers observed the defendant standing on the side of a highway next to his vehicle at approximately 2 am. The vehicle’s lights were flashing, and the defendant was adjusting his pants. The officers spoke with the defendant, who advised that he was on the way home from the casino and stopped to urinate. He admitted he had a drink earlier in the day and agreed to submit to a field sobriety test. He failed the test and refused to provide a breath sample and was subsequently arrested and charged with refusal to submit to a chemical breath test and DWI. He was convicted as charged, after which he appealed. On appeal, he argued, among other things, that the State failed to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that he had the intent to operate his vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. The appellate court rejected the defendant’s argument and affirmed his conviction.

Operation of a Vehicle

Under New Jersey law, a person that operates a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more, or while under the influence of alcohol, is guilty of DWI. The court explained that operates is broadly construed to include more than just driving. The operation, then, can be established by numerous circumstances, including an observation of the defendant in or out of the vehicle under circumstances that would indicate the defendant had been driving while intoxicated, actual observation of the defendant driving while intoxicated, or the defendant’s admission. Continue reading

DUI-related crashes are often more likely to be fatal than other accidents, and people that cause deadly DUI collisions may face significant charges and penalties. As with any other crime, however, the prosecution must prove each element of the charges the defendant faces, and if any evidence used to support the State’s case was obtained unlawfully, it might be precluded. Recently, a New Jersey court issued an opinion addressing the grounds for precluding a blood test result in a case where the defendant argued that his arrest was unlawful and his blood sample was not given freely. If you are charged with a DWI offense, it is critical to speak to a New Jersey DWI defense lawyer promptly to discuss your possible defenses.

The Defendant’s Crime

It is reported that the defendant was involved in a collision on a New Jersey morning in August 2014. A car that the defendant struck spun off the road and caught fire. One of the individuals in the car died due to his injuries, and the others were critically wounded. The defendant was taken to a hospital where his blood was drawn. The results of the test indicated he was under the influence of several illicit drugs. He was ultimately charged with and convicted of numerous crimes, including vehicular homicide and assault by auto while under the influence of an intoxicating narcotic. He appealed, arguing in part that this arrest was unlawful and he did not voluntarily submit to a blood test, and therefore, his test results should have been precluded.

Grounds for Precluding a Blood Test

On appeal, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that his blood test was not voluntary because he was advised by the police that it was required, noting that the evidence made it clear that his consent was willingly and intelligently provided. Further, the court noted that while it was undisputed that the defendant was not advised he was under arrest before he consented to a blood draw, the defendant argued he was subject to a de facto arrest and, therefore, his consent was unlawful. Continue reading

In New Jersey, a conviction for a third DWI offense can carry significant penalties, including substantial fines and license suspensions lasting several years. Therefore, it is wise for anyone charged with a third DWI crime to exercise the right to retain a skilled lawyer who will present a compelling defense. The right to be represented by counsel of one’s choice is not an absolute privilege, however, and in some instances, it may be denied due to competing interests, as demonstrated in a recent New Jersey ruling. If you are accused of a third DWI crime, it is in your best interest to retain a New Jersey DWI defense lawyer as soon as possible to help you fight to protect your rights.

History of the Case

It is reported that the police responded to a report of a car accident. When they arrived at the scene, they saw tire marks on a driveway and grass, a tree that had been run over, and a license plate. They traced the license plate to the defendant and went to her address, where they found her sitting in her vehicle, with the engine running. When they spoke with her, they noted she smelled heavily of alcohol. She was unable to perform field sobriety testing and was arrested for DWI, which was her third offense, and other crimes.

Allegedly, the defendant asked to be represented by a public defender due to the fact that she had no income. Her request was granted, and a public defender was assigned. The defendant did not approve of the attorney, however, or the three subsequent attorneys she was assigned. Her case was delayed for over five months due to her attorney issues, and at her hearing, she requested an additional adjournment so she could retain private counsel. Her request was denied, and she was convicted, after which she appealed. Continue reading

Typically, people who decide to enter a guilty plea to DWI charges are represented by counsel who has fully explained their rights as criminal defendants and the implications of entering such a plea. However, regardless of whether someone enters a plea with or without the presence of an attorney, the court is required to provide a defendant with a colloquy to ensure they fully understand the consequences of pleading guilty. If a proper colloquy is not provided, it may constitute grounds for post-conviction relief. As explained in a recent New Jersey opinion, though, a request for post-conviction relief must be timely; otherwise, it may be denied. If you are charged with a DWI crime, it is smart to speak to a New Jersey DWI defense lawyer to determine your rights.

The History of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant was arrested for a first offense DWI in 2010. He was represented by counsel during his plea hearing and entered a guilty plea. He specifically admitted that he drove under the influence of alcohol and did not object to the admission of a report regarding his blood alcohol level into evidence. He stated he understood the evidence was more than adequate to support his conviction, and that is why he decided to plead guilty. Further, he advised the judge that he entered his plea voluntarily and freely.

It is reported that he was sentenced to the minimum fines and penalties, and his license was revoked for seven months. In June 2019, the defendant filed a petition for post-conviction relief, arguing he was not provided a proper colloquy. The trial court denied his petition, finding that the colloquy was adequate, and the defendant appealed. Continue reading

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