Articles Posted in DWI Appeal

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

Many New Jersey DWI charges arise out of breath tests that indicate a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit. Thus, if a defendant charged with DWI can prove that a breath test was inaccurate, he or she may be able to obtain a dismissal of his or her DWI charges. A defendant seeking to prove the results of a breath test are not reliable faces a high burden, however, as demonstrated in a recent New Jersey appellate court case. If you are charged with committing a DWI in New Jersey, it is prudent to speak to a knowledgeable New Jersey DWI defense attorney to discuss what defenses you may be able to argue to avoid a conviction.

Factual and Procedural History

Allegedly, police officers observed the defendant outside of his vacation home early in the morning. When they spoke with the defendant, they noticed he smelled of alcohol and had slurred speech and bloodshot eyes. The officers instructed the defendant not to drive but observed him driving with no headlights an hour later. He was arrested for suspicion of DWI and transported to the police station, where he underwent a breath test, which revealed his blood alcohol concentration to be .13%.

It is reported that the defendant was charged with and convicted of DWI. As it was his third DWI offense, the defendant was sentenced to a prison term of 190 days, and his license was revoked for ten years. He then appealed, arguing that the breath test that he was administered was unreliable, and therefore his conviction should be vacated. The court rejected the defendant’s arguments and affirmed his sentence. Continue reading

Under New Jersey law, a person convicted of a second or subsequent DWI may be subject to additional penalties. Further, a defendant may face additional penalties if he or she was previously convicted of a DWI or a similar offense in a state other than New Jersey. Recently, a New Jersey appellate court addressed what constitutes a similar offense for purposes of subsequent convictions in a case in which the defendant argued that a prior conviction for drunk driving in New York should not count towards his penalty assessment. If you are accused of a second or subsequent DWI offense in New Jersey, it is advisable to consult a seasoned New Jersey DWI defense attorney to talk about your potential defenses.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with and convicted of committing a DWI offense. The defendant had a prior New Jersey DWI conviction as well as a conviction for driving while his ability was impaired in New York. Thus, the court considered the defendant as a third time DWI offender and sentenced the defendant to a 180 day prison sentence and a ten-year license suspension. The defendant appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in deeming his New York conviction a violation of a substantially similar law. On appeal, the court affirmed.

Violation of a Substantially Similar Nature

Under New Jersey’s DWI law, a conviction for violating a law in another jurisdiction that is substantially similar in nature to New Jersey’s DWI law is considered a prior conviction for New Jersey DWI purposes, unless the defendant produces clear and convincing evidence that establishes that the conviction in the other jurisdiction was based solely on a violation of a law involving a blood alcohol concentration of less than .08%. Thus, New Jersey courts have held that a New York driving while ability is impaired conviction is substantially similar to driving under the influence pursuant to New Jersey law for the purposes of sentence enhancement, unless the defendant can prove otherwise. Continue reading

Under New Jersey law, prior to conducting field sobriety tests on a person, the police must have reasonable suspicion that the person is intoxicated. Odtherwise, the results of the field sobriety tests may be inadmissible. There is no single fact that constitutes sufficient grounds to reasonable suspicion, however, and in some instances, numerous factors that in and of themselves are insufficient to raise suspicion may combine to justify a DWI investigation, as shown in a recent case arising out of New Jersey. If you are charged with committing a DWI offense in New Jersey, and you believe the police did not have sufficient grounds to conduct an investigation, it is prudent to confer with a trusted New Jersey DWI defense attorney regarding your rights.

Factual Background

Allegedly, a police officer observed the defendant making an illegal left hand turn into the parking lot of a drug store, after which the officer stopped the defendant. When he approached the car, the officer noticed an odor of alcohol emanating from the vehicle but believed it may be coming from one of the passengers. The defendant denied drinking, but the officer administered a horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test on the defendant regardless, while the defendant was seated in the driver’s seat. The officer observed a lack of smooth pursuit during the test, after which he asked the defendant to exit the vehicle. The defendant then submitted to field sobriety testing.

It is reported that the defendant was ultimately arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated. He filed a motion to suppress the result of his field sobriety tests, which the court denied. The defendant then entered a conditional guilty plea and appealed the denial of his motion to suppress. Continue reading

In some cases in which a defendant is charged with DWI, the State has compelling evidence, and it is prudent for the defendant to enter into a plea agreement to reduce the possibility of the imposition of a significant penalty. Thus, a defendant may plead guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence. Often, however, even though the defendant and the State entered into a plea agreement, they will disagree as to what constitutes an appropriate sentence, and ultimately what sentence the defendant receives is up to the judge. While a sentencing judge has discretion in determining a suitable penalty, he or she nonetheless must consider all relevant factors in assessing what is appropriate. This was demonstrated in a recent New Jersey DWI case in which the appellate court overturned a sentence imposed by the trial court due to the judge’s failure to consider all mitigating factors. If you are charged with a DWI offense in New Jersey, it is wise to speak with a vigilant New Jersey DWI defense attorney to discuss your alternatives for protecting your interests.

Factual and Procedural Background

Allegedly, the defendant was driving his vehicle at approximately 8:00 pm when he struck and killed a pedestrian that was walking through an intersection. When police arrived at the scene, they interviewed the defendant, who smelled of alcohol and was lethargic. The defendant agreed to submit to a breath test, which revealed his blood alcohol content to be 0.08 %. He was ultimately charged with third-degree vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated.

It is reported that the defendant entered into a negotiated plea agreement with the State. At the sentencing hearing, he was advised that the State intended to request that he be sentenced to probation and be required to serve 364 days in a correction center as a condition of his probation. The defendant’s attorney requested that the court sentence the defendant to probation only. During the sentencing hearing, the court refused to consider all mitigating factors and imposed the State’s proposed sentence on the defendant. The defendant appealed. Continue reading

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