Articles Posted in DWI Appeal

In New Jersey, prosecutors are appointed by local governing bodies. Thus, if a person is charged with a DWI offense, an attorney appointed by the municipality will typically be tasked with presenting the State’s evidence against the defendant. Even if another attorney represents the State in criminal proceedings, however, it does not mean that a DWI defendant is entitled to a new trial, as demonstrated in a recent New Jersey case. If you are a resident of New Jersey currently charged with a DWI offense, it is in your best interest to meet with a proficient New Jersey DWI defense attorney to discuss your rights and what defenses you may be able to assert.

Factual and Procedural History

It is reported that the defendant was stopped in the early morning in May 2014 for driving erratically. After the officer who initiated the stop spoke with the defendant, he noticed the defendant was exhibiting signs of intoxication. Thus, the defendant was ultimately issued four summonses and charged with driving while intoxicated, speeding, failing to exhibit his registration and reckless driving. Subsequently, the defendant and the prosecution appeared in court together eight times over a period of a year nine months for hearings, arguments, and a partial trial.

Allegedly, on the second day of the trial, the defendant moved to dismiss his summonses, arguing that the individual that had been appointed as the municipal court prosecutor by the governing body had only appeared at one of the court proceedings. The defendant then entered into a conditional guilty plea to the DWI charge, and the remaining charges were dismissed. The court then denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss, which caused the defendant to file an appeal. Continue reading

In some instances in which a DWI accident is especially catastrophic and there was more than one person in the car at the time of the incident, it may not be clear who was driving. Thus, the State will likely have to determine who was driving and then who should be charged criminally based on circumstantial evidence such as statements from the parties involved. Recently, a New Jersey court assessed whether statements made by a defendant charged with DWI shortly after an accident were admissible in a case in which the defendant alleged he lacked the capacity to knowingly waive his right against self-incrimination. If you live in New Jersey and are charged with DWI based on statements you made during a police investigation, you should consult a trusted New Jersey DWI defense attorney to assess whether you may be able to have evidence of your statements precluded.

Facts Surrounding the Accident and Subsequent Statements

It is reported that the police were called to the scene of a devastating car accident in which it appeared the car had left the roadway and struck a tree. When the police arrived, the defendant was on the ground by the passenger side of the vehicle and was being tended to by EMS workers. The defendant’s nephew was hanging out of the passenger side window and was deceased when the police arrived at the scene.

Allegedly, when the police were investigating the accident they visited the defendant in the hospital, read him Miranda warnings, and then began questioning him. Through the course of the questioning, the defendant stated he and his nephew had been drinking prior to the accident, and that he could not recall the accident but knew that he was not ejected from the vehicle. He also stated he crawled to the passenger side to help his nephew. A blood test revealed that the defendant’s blood alcohol content at the time of the accident was between 0.17 and 0.23. He was charged with DWI and second-degree vehicular homicide. He filed a motion to suppress the statements he made in the hospital, which the court denied. After his conviction, the defendant appealed, arguing he did not have the capacity to knowingly waive his Miranda rights. Continue reading

Under New Jersey’s implied consent law, drivers are deemed to consent to submit to breath tests if they are stopped for suspicion of DWI. As such, if a driver declines to submit to a breath test, the driver can be charged with refusal to submit to a chemical test, which may result in suspension or revocation of the driver’s license. In a recent New Jersey case, a court discussed the State’s burden of proof in a case in which a defendant is charged with refusal to submit to chemical testing.  If you are a resident of New Jersey currently accused of a DWI crime, it is prudent to confer with a New Jersey DWI defense attorney to assess what defenses you may be able to assert to protect your rights.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

Allegedly, the defendant lost control of his vehicle and left the roadway, driving into a pole. A police officer responded to the incident, and upon speaking with the defendant observed that the defendant smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes, and diminished balance and speech. As such, the police officer requested that the defendant submit to a breath test. The defendant refused. He was subsequently charged with DWI, failure to maintain a lane, and refusal to submit to a chemical test.

It is reported that the defendant was convicted on all counts, after which he appealed. The defendant’s appeal was granted, and a new trial was ordered, after which he was found not guilty of DWI but guilty of refusal to submit to a chemical test and failure to maintain a lane. Following a second appeal, a new trial was held on the refusal to submit to a chemical test charge. The defendant was convicted and again appealed. Continue reading

Generally, a police officer may not lawfully stop a vehicle unless the officer reasonably believes or suspects that the driver of the vehicle committed a traffic violation or a crime. Additionally, if an officer violates a driver’s rights by stopping the driver without just cause, the State may be barred from using evidence obtained during the stop to demonstrate that the officer committed a crime. There are some exceptions to the rule, though, as shown in a recent case in which a New Jersey appellate court affirmed a defendant’s conviction for DWI that arose out of a community-caretaking stop. If you live in New Jersey and are charged with a DWI offense, it is smart to speak with a diligent New Jersey DWI defense attorney about what evidence the State could be permitted to use against you.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that a police officer dispatched to a convenience store following a call from the store’s manager in which she reported that a patron who appeared to have been the victim of an assault was sitting in a car in the parking lot. When the officer arrived at the convenience store to do a welfare check, he observed the defendant driving out of the parking lot in a visibly upset condition. As such, the officer stopped the defendant’s vehicle to check on the defendant’s condition, as he believed she may have been the victim of domestic violence. After speaking with the defendant, the officer determined that she may have been under the influence of alcohol. The defendant was ultimately charged with DWI. Prior to trial, she filed a motion to suppress the evidence obtained during the stop, which the court denied. She pled guilty while reserving her right to appeal the denial of her motion to suppress. Following her sentencing, she appealed.

Evidence Obtained During a Community Caretaking Stop

The sole issue on appeal was whether the underlying stop of the defendant was unlawful. Generally, an officer may not initiate a stop unless the officer has an articulable and reasonable suspicion that the driver of the vehicle is violating the law, usually by committing a traffic violation. In the subject case, the State did not assert that the arresting officer observed the defendant violating a law prior to stopping the defendant but instead argued that the stop was lawful under the community-caretaking function of law enforcement. Continue reading

Under both the New Jersey and Federal Constitutions, defendants charged with DWI have numerous rights, including the right to a prompt resolution of the charges against them. Thus, if the State violates a defendant’s right to a speedy trial, the defendant may be able to argue for the dismissal of any pending charges or for a verdict to be vacated. Recently, in a New Jersey DWI case, the court set forth the standards for determining whether the defendant has been deprived of the constitutional right to a speedy trial. If you are charged with DWI, it is in your best interest to converse with a New Jersey DWI defense attorney to assess what rights you may be afforded under the law.

Factual History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was stopped due to an improper lane change in December 2017. When the police officer that stopped the defendant spoke with the defendant, he noticed she smelled of alcohol. The defendant underwent field sobriety tests, which she failed. She was subsequently charged with DWI. She invoked her right to a speedy trial at her first court appearance later that month. After several hearings, a trial date was set for October 2018.

However, allegedly, when the trial commenced, the police officer that conducted the stop was not present. Thus, the defendant moved for dismissal of the charges due to the violation of the defendant’s right to a speedy trial. The court denied the defendant’s motion, and the trial was rescheduled for December 2018. The defendant ultimately pleaded guilty to her charges and was sentenced as a third time offender. She then appealed her conviction arguing, in part, that her right to a speedy trial was violated. Continue reading

In most instances in New Jersey, when a person is charged with DWI, the State will base the charges on the results of a chemical test showing the person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). A BAC is not required to charge a person with DWI or to obtain a conviction, however, and if a DWI suspect refuses to submit to chemical testing, he or she may face additional charges, as demonstrated in a recent New Jersey DWI case. If you are charged with refusal to submit to a chemical test or any other DWI related offense, it is critical to speak to a skillful New Jersey DWI defense attorney regarding what measures you may be able to take to protect your interests.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the defendant was stopped by a police officer for repeatedly failing to maintain his lane on the roadway by driving onto the shoulder and into the opposing lane. After the police officer stopped the defendant, he noticed the defendant had bloodshot and watery eyes, sluggish movement, and smelled of alcohol. The defendant submitted to field sobriety tests, which he completed poorly. The officer attempted to administer a breath test, but the defendant refused to produce adequate air to produce a valid reading. The defendant was charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor and refusal to submit to a chemical test. Following a trial, he was convicted on both charges. He then appealed his convictions.

Sufficiency of Evidence of DWI

On appeal, the appellate court upheld the defendant’s DWI conviction. In other words, the court noted that the totality of the evidence introduced by the State was sufficient to support the ruling that the defendant was driving while under the influence of alcohol. Specifically, the appellate court stated that the State produced evidence that the defendant was suffering from a significant deterioration of his physical and mental capabilities which greatly affected his judgment as to make it improper for him to operate a vehicle on the road. The appellate court explained that the trial court was not required to accept the defendant’s reasoning as to why his eyes were bloodshot, stating the evidence was consistent with guilt. Continue reading

Generally, when a person is charged with a DWI, the State is not permitted to introduce evidence of other crimes to support the assertion that the person committed the crime with which he or she is currently charged. Evidence of prior bad acts may be admitted for other reasons, however, as discussed in a recent New Jersey DWI case in which the State introduced evidence of the defendant’s prior car accident at his DWI trial. If you are faced with DWI charges, it is prudent to contact a vigilant New Jersey DWI defense attorney to discuss what evidence the State may try to introduce to prove your guilt at trial.

Factual Background

Allegedly, the defendant was charged with multiple crimes, including first-degree vehicular homicide for causing death while operating his vehicle while intoxicated. At trial, the State presented evidence that he dove his truck through a police barricade and into an open-air market, and caused the victim’s death. When police arrived at the scene, the defendant stated that he blacked out and did not know what happened. He was transported to a hospital, where his consent was obtained for a blood draw for an alcohol and drug analysis. He agreed to the test and signed a consent form.

It is reported that the defendant was then taken to the police station, where he waived his Miranda rights and gave a statement where he said he purchased an aerosol product a few hours before the accident. The defendant’s blood test subsequently revealed that there was difluoroethane, which is a substance found in aerosol products, in the defendant’s blood during the accident. Prior to trial, the defendant sought to suppress evidence of a 2012 car accident and frequent purchase of aerosol products. The court denied the motion, and the defendant was convicted as charged, after which he appealed, arguing in part that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress. Continue reading

Under New Jersey law, a police officer can effectuate a traffic stop if he or she has a reasonable suspicion that the driver committed a traffic violation. While generally, a police officer’s suspicion that a violation has occurred arises out of personal observation, officers may also be dispatched to investigate erratic driving reported to 911 operators. Recently, a New Jersey court assessed whether an anonymous 911 call provides sufficient grounds to conduct a traffic stop in a case in which the defendant was convicted of DWI following a stop made pursuant to an anonymous tip. If you were charged with DWI following an anonymous call, it is in your best interest to consult a capable New Jersey DWI defense attorney regarding what evidence the State may be permitted to use against you and your potential defenses.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that, in response to a 911 dispatch, a police officer stopped the defendant. The defendant was subsequently arrested for DWI. Three days after his arrest, the defendant retained an attorney who demanded discovery from the State, including the 911 dispatch recording and also requested that the State preserve all recordings. Three months later, however, following a subsequent request for the recordings, the defendant’s attorney was advised that 911 recordings were only retained for 90 days and the subject recordings had since been destroyed. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him and a motion to suppress information regarding the 911 call. The court denied both motions, and the defendant entered a conditional guilty plea. Following sentencing, the defendant appealed.

What Constitutes Reasonable Suspicion Under New Jersey Law

On appeal, the defendant argued that the traffic stop from which his charges arose was unlawful because the officer did not have a reasonable suspicion that the defendant committed a traffic violation. On review, the court explained that it is well established under New Jersey law that a traffic stop is justifiable when the officer conducting the stop has a reasonable and articulable suspicion that the driver committed a traffic violation. Whether sufficient grounds exist to conduct a stop is fact sensitive and must be analyzed on a case by case basis. Continue reading

In many instances in which a person is convicted of a New Jersey DWI offense, he or she will appeal his or her municipal court conviction, and in some instances, will appeal a conviction from the Law Division as well. Whether an appeal from either court will be successful depends on several factors, however, and varies from case to case. Recently, a New Jersey appellate court discussed the standard of review that applies at each level in a case in which the defendant appealed his DWI conviction arguing, in part, that there was insufficient evidence to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If you are faced with accusations that you committed a New Jersey DWI crime, it is advisable to speak with a dedicated New Jersey DWI defense attorney to discuss your options for protecting your rights.

Factual Background

It is reported that the defendant was observed by an anonymous source leaving a beach wearing only a jacket, getting into a truck, and driving down a nearby road. The police investigated and found the defendant in the driver’s seat of a truck that was parked in the wrong direction. The police approached the vehicle and spoke with the defendant, who had slurred speech and was only wearing a jacket tied around his waist.

Allegedly, the defendant submitted to field sobriety tests, which he failed, after which he was arrested and transported to the police station for chemical testing. He was subsequently charged with DWI, careless driving, and reckless driving. He was convicted in the municipal court of DWI and careless driving, after which he appealed to the Law Division, where he was again found guilty. He then appealed to the Superior Court, arguing, in part, that the Law Division erred in finding him guilty de novo. Continue reading

In many instances, the police will seek blood draw from a person suspected of DWI. The police must obtain a person’s consent or a warrant prior to obtaining a blood draw, however, and if the police fail to comply with the proper procedures for obtaining a blood sample, the results of any test on the sample may be precluded from evidence at trial. In a recent New Jersey case, the court discussed the issue of whether an improperly obtained blood draw precludes the state from introducing evidence from a second blood draw, as the fruit of an illegal search. If you were charged with DWI in New Jersey following a blood draw, it is in your best interest to consult a New Jersey DWI defense attorney regarding whether you may be able to argue that the evidence against you should be precluded.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the defendant was involved in a fatal car accident. When police officers arrived at the scene, they observed that the defendant had an unsteady gate, glassy eyes, and an odor of alcohol. The defendant was transported to the hospital due to injuries. When the defendant was first admitted to the hospital, his blood was drawn pursuant to the request of an officer. He did not sign a consent form until after his blood was drawn. A second officer arrived at the hospital and spoke with the defendant and the passenger who was with the defendant in his car at the time of the accident, who informed the officer that she and the defendant had been drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana prior to the accident.

It is alleged that the officer learned that a blood draw had been taken, but was concerned whether the defendant’s consent was properly obtained. Thus, the officer sought and obtained a warrant for a second blood draw. He did not know the results of the first blood draw at the time he sought a warrant. Prior to trial, the defendant filed a motion to suppress the results of both blood draws. The court granted the motion as to the first blood draw but not as to the second. The defendant was convicted of vehicular homicide, after which he appealed the denial of his motion to suppress the second blood draw. Continue reading

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