Hackensack Judge Upholds Motorist’s Third DWI Conviction, Sending the Defendant to Jail for 180 Days

There are many good reasons to retain the services of a qualified drunk driving defense attorney — facing a possible third conviction for driving while intoxicated is definitely one situation that almost demands the assistance of a skilled legal professional. Yet for many people, the perceived expense of hiring a lawyer may make them wonder if it is cost-effective for a first-time offense. While there may be some argument for going it alone, this strategy rarely works out for most people in the long run.

For instance, some motorists who have been slapped with a summons for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated believe, incorrectly, that plea bargaining on a DWI or drug DUI charge is still possible. Unfortunately, choosing to speak directly to a municipal prosecutor simply will not work. This is because every municipal prosecutor’s office in the Garden States has been precluded by the New Jersey Attorney General from entering into any plea agreement with an accused drunk driver.

For the above-mentioned reason alone, it is often critical for anyone facing the stiff penalties that can come from a drunken driving conviction to seriously consider retaining an experienced DWI-DUI defense lawyer. With years of legal training and courtroom experience, the professional legal experts at my law firm have the background that few, if any, laypeople possess. In fact, my legal staff has nearly 100 years of combined criminal and civil litigation experience.

All this being said, it should also be quite clear that individuals that have been convicted multiple times for driving under the influence have more to lose than a first-time offender. Take, for example, a man who was sent to jail for six months following his third DWI conviction in Bergen County. According to news articles, a man who was arrested by River Vale police in late 2012 lost his appeal of what was reportedly his third conviction for drunk driving. As a result, following Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Roma’s upholding of the man’s most recent conviction, the appellant was remanded to the custody of the Bergen County jail for 180 days, as required by the New Jersey DWI statute.

In the case of that third drunken driving conviction, the state had argued that the police were, in fact, justified in stopping the defendant after the arresting officer observed a man walking in a staggering and unsteady manner. Based on court documents, the officer saw the defendant enter a liquor store, then exit a short time later and get into his vehicle. The man apparently drove, with the officer following behind, to another shopping center, where he visited another liquor store.

On appeal, the court ruled that the police officer demonstrated reasonable suspicion (based on his observations) to stop the defendant’s car. Because reasonable suspicion involves less stringent standards than probable cause, the court reasoned that the officer’s suspicions were sufficient in this instance to justify a police stop. Court records showed that the defendant’s attorney challenged the results of the Alcotest breath test due to the lack of serial numbers provided for the temperature probes. That argument was not sufficient to sway the court, which stated in its decision that there was enough subjective evidence to convict the defendant.

Judge in Hackensack upholds River Vale DWI conviction, CliffviewPilot.com, April 4, 2014