There are just some people that you can’t help. As a New Jersey DWI defense lawyer, I have represented many multiple drunk driving offenders, but few like Shaun Campbell of Bergen County, New Jersey. Most of the clients I have worked with learn their lesson and try to make a clean start of things following a brush with the law as it applies to driving under the influence of alcohol. But other people convicted of driving while intoxicated go back and make the same mistakes over and over again. So it has been for Mr. Campbell.
According to reports, the 40-year-old Campbell had his license suspended nearly 80 times during his 22-year driving career. His admission of guilt to his 15th DWI charge was the latest in a string of convictions. This particular case involved an April head-on collision in Morris Township when Campbell, self-described as being plastered on beer, drove his sport utility vehicle into a Ford pickup truck driven by a Chatham man and carrying that man’s four-year-old daughter. Luckily, no one was killed.
Campbell pled guilty to assault by auto, DWI and driving while on the revoked list. The Morris County assistant prosecutor has recommended that Campbell receive the maximum sentence of 18 months in prison for the assault by auto, and consecutive 180-day terms on the drunken-driving and revoked license charges. He also recommended that Campbell receive an extra 90-day term as an enhanced penalty on the license revocation offense.
Though the lack of a valid license hasn’t stopped him from driving so far, Campbell will lose his driving privileges for at least another 10 years and face about $3,000 in penalties. His lawyer stated that he would argue at sentencing for a shorter prison sentence, but the Morris County prosecutor’s office has said it would seek the maximum penalties for Campbell.
It would be an understatement to say that this is a challenging case for the defense. It is made especially tough because the case itself has prompted the state legislature to take up a bill to criminalize some repeat drunk driving offenses. Part of that legislation would make it a fourth-degree crime to drive under the influence while already on the suspended list for a DWI conviction. Other proposed content includes increased penalties for repeat DWI offenders who are found to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.20 percent or higher — according to reports, Campbell’s BAC was 0.288 percent, more than three times the legal limit.
Man heads to jail after 15th DWI, dailyrecord.com, July 1, 2009