Driver Wins Legal Appeal After 7-to-15-Year Jail Sentence Following 15th DWI Conviction

New Jersey’s drunken driving laws are rather stiff, to say the least, and more than one motorist has been caught off-guard by a seemingly simple traffic stop that then developed into a serious DWI arrest. But as experienced drunk driving defense lawyers, my firm understands that our state is not unique in this regard. All across the country, driving under the influence has become socially unacceptable to the point that DWI laws provide for harsh penalties for anyone convicted of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or impaired by prescription medications (drug DUI).

A DWI or drug DUI arrest can spell trouble for almost anyone regardless of whether they live in Monmouth, Ocean, Passaic or Bergen County. The stiff monetary penalties, as well as the potential jail time, especially for multiple offenders, makes driving while intoxicated a risky undertaking to say the least. As New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, I and my staff of highly qualified trial lawyers understand the risks of getting behind the wheel anytime a person has had even one glass of wine or one bottle of beer.

There is no sense in taking a chance on being arrested for DWI, even when one doesn’t believe that he or she is intoxicated. In light of the zealous nature of our local and state police officers, which is matched only by the tough drunken driving laws of this state, driving under the influence can certainly be a foolhardy activity. Granted, many people may not realize that they are legally drunk, yet still end up facing the full force of New Jersey’s drunken driving statutes. In such cases, it is highly advisable to seek the counsel of an experienced legal professional.

For anyone who has been a defendant in a DWI or drug DUI case, the article we ran into not long ago will no doubt make you believe that there is some justice for accused drunken drivers, at least in Pennsylvania, if not here in the Garden State. According to that news item, a man who had been arrested and then convicted of his 15th instance of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence reportedly won his appeal related to that latest offense due in part to the rather harsh sentence meted out after the guilty verdict was brought.

Based on that news article, the 58-year-old plaintiff, Richard Caporal, filed an appeal in state superior court following his 15th conviction for drunken driving in 2011, during which trial the presiding county judge called Mr. Caporal a “terrorist” when he cited the man’s apparent 34-year history of DWI offenses. Following a guilty plea, the man received a sentence of seven to 15 years in jail from the count court judge. As part of a reported plea agreement, the defendant was to face a 2½- to 5-year sentence, but the judge felt that it was too lenient of a sentence.

Following the county court’s sentencing of Mr. Caporal, he appealed and won based on the appellate court’s ruling that the jail time was too harsh. It was ordered that the plaintiff be resentenced for both his 14th and 15th drunken driving convictions. This was based on the appellate court’s belief that the county court did not allow for due consideration of whether Mr. Caporal may have qualified for a reduced sentence under Pennsylvania’s Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive program.

While Mr. Caporal’s resentencing may result in a less punitive jail sentence, his record of drunken driving convictions will likely haunt him for some time to come; according to the news article, he still will not be eligible for license reinstatement until the year 2043.

Court orders Carrick man resentenced on DUI conviction, Post-Gazette.com, February 20, 2013
Court: Sentence for Pa. man’s 15th DUI too harsh, NJHerald.com, February 20, 2013